I’m writing this entry with monkey wee on my feet, and probably worse, after just getting back from Mount Popa. Mt Popa is a temple perched at the top of a tall jagged mountain and from a distance looks really incredible, but the light was bright and hazy so my photos didn’t come out well.
There’s a steep stairway up to the top that is lined with monkeys looking for food. You could tell they were Buddhist monkeys because they weren’t jumping on people or attacking them like you see on TV at some places. These monkeys had respect.
The climb was difficult in the hottest part of the day though but thankfully it was shaded for some relief. At the top though there was a slight sense of disappointment. It consisted of a few rooms with not particularly impressive statues and they were lit with gaudy flashing coloured lights which I found a bit off-putting. Mt Popa is supposed to have a really interesting history and significance but unfortunately it was lost on us. Only afterwards did I hear someone say that going up Mt Popa without a guide is like watching a foreign film without the subtitles. The amount of litter that had been thrown off the edge and left on the mountain was quite sad to see and we were left wondering why it wasn’t taken better care of if it’s supposed to be such a special site.
I’m leaving Bagan on the bus to Mandalay tomorrow, so I’m looking forward to a change of scenery now. Bagan is a great place but it’s time to move on and have adventures elsewhere.
Practical Information: You can get two buses to Mt Popa but it’s a bit of hassle. You can get a taxi for 10,000 kyat each (based on 4 people) – we arranged it through our hotel May Kah Lar. It took around 1 hour each way. It’s free to enter the Popa complex but donations are asked for. May Kah Lar hotel was $20 for a single room with A/C and en suite. I could have it half price if I was travelling with someone as so far I have only been in twin rooms with a spare bed.