The volcano, Mount Popa, is better known for the magical Tuang Kalat pedestal hill and its Nat Buddhist Monastery that sits atop it, leading many people to think that is what it is called.
Generally this is an area almost completely characterised by this volcano, also known as Taung Ma-Gyi, with its caldera sitting a mile wide. Tuang Kalat is in fact a sheer sided ‘volcanic plug’ arising on Mount Popa’s slopes, and the surrounding fertile countryside is strewn with springs, streams and lush countryside making it almost like an oasis in the dry, central region of Myanmar.
South east of Bagan, Mount Popa is scattered with Nat temples and relic sites and is a popular place for pilgrims. Many stories and myths surround Tuang Kalat and its monastery reached by climbing 777 steps, once maintained by the Buddhist hermit, U Khandi, and atop which gives you spectacular views as far as Bagan.
What to do
- Privately guided excursions of Tuang Kalat and its Monastery
- The pilgrimage season and religious festivals fall around the full moon of Nayon (May/June) & the full moon of Nadaw (November/December)
- April is Myanmar's New Year festival of Thingyan