Named quite adorably, Mount Popa is a volcano that is situated in central Myanmar. The mountain is perhaps best known as a pilgrimage site locally, with numerous Nat temples and relic sites atop the mountain. It is named after a flower called Puppa and is associated with many myths and legends about Burmese spirits known as Nats. According to Wikipedia, these legends represent and contribute to a great number of heritages of earlier animist religions in Myanmar countryside. It is believed that in ancient Myanmar, hundreds of animals were sacrificed here as part of Nat worship. Thus, making Mount Popa one of the most sacred areas in Myanmar.
The iconic symbol of Mount Popa is the Taungkalat Monastery, which is often confused with each other. The monastery was constructed on top of a weird looking hill called a volcanic plug. It is a natural feature formed by magma hardening in an active volcano’s vent whilst travelling on its way up through it. It is widely believed to be an extinct volcano today. Taungkalat is famed for being the home of 37 Nats, which are represented by statues at the base of the volcanic outcrop. To reach the top where the monastery is built, one is required to climb up the 777 steps. Whoever braves the steps and reaches the summit would be rewarded with a 360 degree panoramic view of the surroundings and a labyrinth of shrines welcome them.
We decided to give Mount Popa a visit. Since we were already in Mandalay, it was a hard decision to make between Lake Inle and Mount Popa. The former was situated down south and the other was situated 50km towards the sacred plains of Bagan. Since we’ve already decided to go to Bagan afterwards, we decided to go for Mount Popa and stayed for a night. We found a gorgeous hotel called the Mount Popa Resort that had a first class panoramic view of the Taungkalat Monastery. It was rather expensive but with a view so priceless, especially during sunset, it was worth every penny.
Mount Popa Resort
Mount Popa Resort had the world’s most amazing view. Every morning, we would wake up to a peaceful and spectacular view of the Taungkalat Monastery. In the evening, you are greeted with a gorgeous panoramic scne of the rich and vivid sunset. The resort has 55 chalets but only a handful had the first class view of the monastery. We of course went for the deluxe mountain view. Our room furnished with super comfortable four poster beds and traditional teak and stone furnishings. It was very clean and it was spacious. Built with teakwood, the chalet was indeed a romantic place to spend the night with your loved ones. The hotel even surprised Fann with a birthday cake in the fridge of our room. It may not be the best cake we’ve eaten, but the effort and the view made it the perfect birthday gift.
The resort also had an infinity pool with a magnificent view of the Taungkalat Monastery. It also had a restaurant where we had our breakfast and dinner. The food may be pricey, but it was pretty good. With a view like that, anything is worth it. We left for Bagan the next morning after breakfast and we would never forget the gorgeous view and experience of Mount Popa. If you decide to visit Bagan one day, don’t forget to drop by Mount Popa and catch a glimpse of this beautiful place.