Prepare to be astounded by Bagan, a grassy plain scattered with pagodas. A full day of cycling will take you to the city's most fascinating sites, including the teeming Nyaung Oo Market, the glittering Shwezigon Pagoda, and the atmospheric cave temple of Wetkyi-In Gubyaukgyi.
Mount Popa villages on foot
Mount Popa villages on foot, Burma (Myanmar)
After breakfast at your hotel depart Bagan for the two hour drive to Mount Popa via Shwe Csi Tai village, where you can opt to donate some teaching materials to a local school. Rising 1,518 metres above sea level, Mount Popa is an extinct volcano covered in forests and is considered one of the most sacred places in Myanmar.
Its last recorded eruption happened in 442 BC and is said to have created the huge volcanic outcrop on the lower flank of the mountain that has given way to the name of Popa Taung Kalat. Popa Taung Kalat is considered the abode of 37 nats, the spirits of Myanmar's animist faith, which are historical or legendary figures who suffered tragic deaths and who are now believed to exist as ghosts in places such as forests, mountains, trees and lakes. On arrival you'll visit the small shrine that sits at the foot of the outcrop which is dedicated to the nats (each one represented by a gaudy, mannequin-like figure) to which pilgrims direct their prayers for success in business, a happy married life and sound health. The belief in Nat worship is older than Buddhism and also shrouded in legend, do ask your guide to interpret a number of the myths surrounding the nats and Mount Popa itself.
Accompanied by troops of monkeys, climb the 777 steps to the monastery that sits atop Popa Taung Kalat. It takes about half an hour to reach the summit, and whilst there you can take a rest and enjoy the spectacular views across the crater. After lunch at a local restaurant you'll return to Bagan with a stop en route at a small village producing palm sugar products - its worth trying the local toddy! You'll arrive back at your hotel in the afternoon.
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Photos of Mount Popa villages on foot
Other experiences in Bagan
These activities are designed to give you the most authentic experiences around where you're staying. We work with local guides, who use their knowledge and often a resident's eye to show you the main sights and more out-of-the-way attractions. Our specialists can suggest tours and activities, such as cooking classes, that will introduce you to the local ways of life.
An early morning balloon flight over Bagan is a fantastic way to see the temple landscape. You'll trip will end with light snack and celebratory glass of champagne.