Mount Popa


Mount Popa: A Spiritual Burmese Hike

Mount Popa at sunset
Natural Height
Hiking Period
Rest Stops & Facilities
Guides & Porters
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Summary Mount Popa Myanmar - Summary

Mount Popa is a spiritual hike up an extinct volcano in Central Myanmar

Mount Popa is an extinct volcano situated in Myanmar, but some confuse it with the Taungkalat Temple, which sits on a volcanic plug jutting out of the mountain’s flank. Having not erupted in over 300,000 years, and with Myanmar becoming more accessible for tourists, Mount Popa is becoming a great spot for a rewarding sunset or sunrise view.

Climbing Mount Popa Myanmar - Height and Distance

Natural Mount Popa Myanmar - Natural Height

Summits Index:
3 / 10 (1,001m - 2,000m)

1,518m (4,980ft)

Natural Mount Popa Myanmar - Hiking Period

Summits Index:
2 / 10 (1 day)

Climbing the real summit of Mount Popa takes about a day.

To get to Taungkalat Temple Mount, the place most people mistake for the summit of Mount Popa, it takes about an hour and a half one way, to trek roughly 1.5km (1 mi), climbing 777 steps.

Difficulty Mount Popa Myanmar - Hiking Difficulty

Difficulty Mount Popa Myanmar - Terrain

Summits Index:
6 / 10 (Generally difficult, with some very challenging sections)

Climbing the real summit of Mount Popa is a day hike through forest and scrubland that has reclaimed the extinct volcano.

The trailhead is at the Popa Mountain Resort. Here you will find a clear English-language sign showing the way to it on the road into the Taungkalat temple, about 1.5km (1 mi) before the temple itself.

After about 2.5 hours of walking (including a brief rest at the temple), you’ll come to a short steep section to tackle before reaching the summit.

With dramatic topography created from a strombolian volcano that burst its caldera to the North, views of the surrounding plains, the Taungkalat temple mount, and of the Irrawaddy river (supposedly visible on a clear day) are the reward for taking the trail less trekked.

Descend the same way. Many visitors like to make their way down in time for sundown back at the temple.

Difficulty Mount Popa Myanmar - Weather

Summits Index:
4 / 10 (Fluctuates greatly across seasons and/or between the base and summit)

Visiting Myanmar is best in the short winter from November to January.

Climbing is best in the early mornings or late afternoons, particularly during the hot season (February to April). The monsoon season lasts from April to October, with severe rains and humidity.

Difficulty Mount Popa Myanmar - Equipment

Summits Index:
4 / 10 (Poles for support and / or gloves and clothes for cold, wet, or windy weather)

Good hiking shoes are a necessity for this hike and having hiking poles would help. Make sure to take appropriate clothing for the season in which you hike.

Facilities Mount Popa Myanmar - Support Facilities

Facilities Mount Popa Myanmar - Rest Stops & Facilities

Summits Index:
7 / 10 (Simple - basic facilities)

At the trailhead, there are toilets/bathrooms, food and potable water.

Facilities Mount Popa Myanmar - Guides and Porters

Summits Index:
8 / 10 (Not common; only highly specialized companies)

Guides are recommended, though not required and porters are not required.

Accessibility Mount Popa Myanmar - Accessibility and Safety

Accessibility Mount Popa Myanmar - Location

Summits Index:
8 / 10 (Near minor city; may need a few weeks of planning)

The Nyaung-U domestic airport is regularly serviced by Myanmar’s domestic carriers, which are of varying repute. Mount Popa is an hour and a half from the airport by car, which would normally need to be privately hired. There are buses that would take you as far as Kyauk Padaung, 20km (12.4 mi) away.

If you’re flying in internationally, the Mandalay and Naypyitaw airports are about equidistant from Mount Popa – a few hours by private car, best to be arranged beforehand.

Accessibility Mount Popa Myanmar - Safety

Summits Index:
4 / 10 (Little risk of injuries, but not recommended for single travelers)

Popa is a relatively safe climb. Just be sure to stay on the track. You will be a long way from a good hospital if you were to injure yourself.

As for personal safety, Myanmar people are very hospitable, and it is almost unheard of that you will be robbed or harassed. Troubles have more to do with unsafe vehicles, equipment, or infrastructure, as Myanmar has a lax mentality towards safety standards.

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