Inside Burma Tours

Mt Popa

Mount Popa, located an hour's drive southeast of Bagan, is a pilgrimage site perched atop an ancient extinct volcano rising high above the dry Bagan plains. This is the sacred home of Burma's indigenous nat spirits, and makes an excellent day trip or overnight stay.

Mt Popa Map

“I highly recommend staying overnight at Mount Popa. After walking up the 777 steps up to the summit, head over to the opposite hill to your hotel to relax in the mountaintop swimming pool and watch the sun set behind the glittering golden temples atop Mount Popa itself. Bliss!”

Enfys Maloney, Sales Team Leader

Mount Popa's pilgrimage site is built on a steep-sided outcrop called Taung Kalat - or pedestal hill, which stands to the southwest of the mountain Taung Ma-gyi. This rocky formation is called a volcanic plug, and was formed when magma hardened within a volcanic vent and the slopes of the volcano were subsequently eroded away.

On top of Taung Kalat is a Buddhist monastery, however it is not for Buddhism that this site is famous. Much more important to the visitors to Mount Popa are the temples and relic sites of the nat spirits - indigenous Burmese deities who are said to reside on the mountain. For this reason, Mount Popa has been likened to a Burmese Mount Olympus in terms of its relation to the national mythology.

The road journey from Bagan to Mount Popa passes several villages typical of the region. The farms produce dry country crops such as peanuts and sesame, the fields ploughed by water buffalo. You can stop along the way to see the production of palm sugar balls and try some of the local "toddy" - a spirit made from the juice of the toddy palm.

Arriving at the Mount Popa area, you'll find that the arid landscape becomes markedly lush and green. This is due to over 200 springs and streams that bubble up in this oasis-like region. To reach the main shrine at the top of the hill, visitors must climb a winding stairway of 777 steps to the summit, a journey that takes around thirty minutes and rewards the pilgrim with panoramic views of the surrounding area. The ancient city of Bagan is visible in the distance, while the massive cone of Taung Ma-gyi dominates the skyline to the north.

Recommended Accommodation in Mt Popa

The following are our favourites from among the western-style hotels and Burmese-style inns of Mt Popa.

Weather in Mt Popa

The Climate Guide for Mt Popa is perfect for planning your holiday. Monthly weather averages give the best indication of what the weather is usually like for every month of the year including figures for temperature, rainfall and sunshine.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max Daytime Temperature (°C) 27 30 34 36 34 30 31 30 31 30 28 26
Min Night-time Temperature (°C) 13 14 18 22 23 23 23 23 23 22 18 16
Hours of Sunshine (Daily) 9 9 9 8 6 4 3 4 5 6 8 8
Hours of Daylight (Daily) 11 11 12 13 13 13 13 13 12 12 11 11
Heat and Humidity Discomfort Low Moderate High Very High Very High High High High High High Moderate Low
Days with some Rainfall 1 1 1 3 13 18 19 20 17 10 4 1
Monthly Rainfall (mm) 4 2 3 32 147 253 262 238 216 173 48 10
UV Index (Maximum) 8 10 11+ 11+ 11+ 11+ 11+ 11+ 11+ 10 8 7