I really enjoyed observing the monkeys while I was there. You can see them all over - basically where there's food they'll be hanging around. I saw them snatch papers and sneak off with fruit and it was also fun to watch the way they interacted with each other. The monkeys at Mount Popa were the least inhibited I've ever seen, to the point where I was getting out of the way as they approached rather than the other way around. There weren't many people around so I was kind of outnumbered too ;-)
Plan to spend some time looking around at the top of Mount Popa. There are several structures and interconnected buildings and rooms. It's quite interesting nosing around and checking everything out. You can also get several different views of the surrounding countryside. The first construction took place here some 700 years ago, and there have been many restorations and additions since then.
The climb takes around 30 minutes total, or maybe longer if you factor in rests and taking in the view. You can see the township getting smaller and actually the monkeys get cheekier and cheekier the higher you go. There are a couple of steep sections but it's not a difficult climb at all. You can also find a couple of places to eat and drink as you go higher.
I just loved the golden spires of the temples of Mt Popa. The area on top is fairly big and curvy so it's possible to walk out to the edges and get some decent photos! I didn't see any monkeys at the very top so there isn't any worries of being pushed off the edge by a psycho monkey.
Well if you look real close at the center of the photo you can see some redness in the sky but not much. I had heard that Mt Popa was a great place to go for sunsets but I picked the wrong day to go for that. We still had fun though and it was nice that the sun wasn't scorching hot! Our sunrise was just a couple of red blotches through the thick clouds.
There are many stupas on the top of the Mt Popa Temple complex and this was one of the bigger ones. I'm not sure if the top decoration is pure gold or not. At many of the more important Pagodas around Myanmar the the top section would be made of pure gold.
Every Bell in Myanmar will have a wooden mallet sitting near it for you to Gong the Bell the 3 times! I'm not really sure if it's for good luck or to keep the bad spirits away but we sure gonged our share of the bells just like the locals did!
I'm sure if you're there on a clear day you can have some great views out over the plains. But all we could see is a storm coming! It never rained on us but it sure felt like it was going to. And we could see it raining off in the distance. We also heard some thunder which didn't make me feel real comfortable being at the top of Mt Popa.
As you approach the summit you can see the beautiful covered walk way and other nice views out over the plains. If you are doing the walk during the Hot Mid-afternoon sun you will be thankful that you are walking under the covered walk way! The day that we went was very overcast and there was a storm coming so it was quite windy which cooled the walk down.
You can't miss the Main entrance to the Temple. It is protected by 2 big marble elephants and you will see lot's of banana, flower vendors hanging around in front of it too.There are other ways up the mountain too. I didn't realize it until I got to the top and saw other covered walk ways that started from other places. There isn't any entrance fee. Notice the monkey that is sitting right nest to the guy in the upper left of the photo.