Popa Mountain National Park Description:
Popa Mountain National Park protects a roughly 50-square-mile swath of forests on the volcanic plain and slopes of the dormant Mount Popa volcano.
Blooming like a rare blossom on the arid Bagan Plains, Mount Popa’s rare Than-dahat forests and copses of palm trees bursting with ripe coconuts shelter the scarce Dusky Leaf monkey, wild pig, barking deer, and more than 100 species of birds.
Before Buddhism swept across Myanmar, the Burmese people worshiped animist nature spirits who were believed to make their supernatural abode at the top of Mount Popa (Flower Mountain). The ancient animist traditions of the Burmese fused with the Buddhist principals and teachings that were spreading from India during the ascent of the Pagan Kingdom that built the sprawling Bagan temple city to the north. Its 5,000 foot-high summit is studded with several Buddhist shrines, and offers gorgeous views of the Bagan Plains.
To the northeast of the summit, the Popa Taung Monastery caps a volcanic cone rising from the thick forests at the edge of Mount Popa’s volcanic plain. The 11th century Buddhist structure is dedicated to the 37 animist spirits, called Nats, who aided the spread of Buddhism throughout Myanmar according to local tradition. An iconic component of the unique Burmese flavor of Theravada Buddhism, pilgrims regularly climb the 777 steps to the Popa Taung Monastery accompanied by a veritable army of monkeys that make their homes in the trees lining the ascent.
Best Time to Visit Popa Mountain National Park:
The best time to visit the Popa Mountain National Park is during the dry season that runs between November and May. The chances for rain increase steadily in the mornings and afternoons from June to October, but the extra water causes the volcanic plain around Mount Popa to thrum with life.
How to get to Popa Mountain National Park:
Popa Mountain dominates the skyline of the Bagan Plains, as well as the minds of the people who inhabit the area. The spiritually charged monastery and verdant forests on the volcanic slopes of Mount Popa are a must-see while on a Myanmar tour.
Popa Mountain National Park Highlights:
Mount Popa and the Popa Taung Monastery are about 30 miles south of the ancient temple city of Bagan. Guests on our luxury tours of Myanmar reach the forested volcanic slopes in a private vehicle chauffeured by one of our experienced tour guides while sightseeing in the region.
Dress for a hike when visiting Mount Popa National Park. If you’re planning on visiting the Popa Taung Monastery, remember Buddhist modesty requires conservative clothing covering shoulders, arms, and knees while visiting shrines, temples, and other places of religious importance. Areas within the monastery might also require you to remove your shoes when entering.