Bagan lies in central Burma and is one of the most significant archeological sites in the world, this sight rivals Machu Picchu or Angkor Wat, and yet still sees relatively few visitors. The scenery of the region is beautiful, a lush plain, part-covered in stands of palm and tamarind lying in the corner of the Irrawaddy River and bordered by the misty silver-grey of distant mountains. Many temples rise from the plain's canopy of green. From thousands of temples and stupas made by the kings of Bagan between 11th and 13the century, of which about 2230remains. Most are excellently conserved or restored by UNESCO, and most of the house beautiful frescoes and carvings and statues of Buddha in various shapes and sizes.
Situated at about 55kilometers south of Bagan, the sleepy town of Salay houses an exquisite 19th-century teak monastery, the largest lacquerware Buddha in Myanmar, beautiful colonial mansions, memories of U Po Gyi, sweet plums and more. Along the route, you will also get to visit the thronging Chauk market and Nyaung Hla, a little-known village home to hundreds of fruit bats. Salay is a splendid old religious center in Central Myanmar. Here, you can visit the famous monastery, Yoke-Sone-Kyaung, which is a cultural heritage site in Salay that lies on the eastern bank of the Irrawaddy River. It is renowned for its beautiful wood carvings also it is the native town of the famous writer Salay U Pone Nya during the time of the Myanmar Kings. Another major attraction of the place is Sone Kyaung, which was built in 1882. There are stunning woodcarvings and beautiful artworks around it and also ancient Buddha image, utensils of the Yadanabon 19 century period, and the museum of Myanmar famous writer U Pone Nya in Salay Yoke Sone Kyaung.
Mount Popa is an extinct volcano with a monastery on top called the Popa Taung Kalat. Burmese believes that this volcanic mountain is the home of the 37 animist spirits, Nats. Along the way to the peak of the mountain, there are many shrines dedicated to these spirits, and this mountain itself is the most important site in Burma for the Nat pilgrimage. Mt. Popa means "flower mountain," and has an elevation of 1500meters above sea level. The mountain stands proudly in Mt. Popa National Park, surrounded by green area and looks like an oasis in the desert. The area in the mountain and the national park contains lots of gorgeous flowers and vegetation thanks to the fertile volcanic soil and its many streams. You have to drive through Burma's countryside to reach Burma. During the trip, you will get a glimpse of Burmese life in rural villages. To reach the top of this majestic peak, you have to climb a staircase of 777steps, which are full of shops selling various items, including wooden handicrafts and local flowers. There are also lots of monkeys in the stairway and monastery that are always on the lookout for food. On top of the stairs, you will see a couple of gigantic golden-colored Chinthes, a lion-like creature that guards the entrance to most temples in Burma. The peak of the mountain offers some stunning views of the area, and you may even get to see the view of Bagan and Irrawaddy River if the weather is clear.
Bagan is like a dizzy daydream that travelers wish to witness once in their life. For those travelers with limited time, this day tour of Bagan is a perfect way to visit the highlights of the sleeping city. On this full-day tour, visit Mount Popa and Salay from Bagan, get insight into the history and culture of the Irrawaddy River as you visit Yokesone Monastery, the heritage museum of a Salay writer from the 1800s, and the Popa Taungkalat Shrine.
Best time to visit
Bagan is hot almost all year round. However, the temperature lowers between November and February, which would be the ideal time to visit. From March to May, the temperature rises considerably, so avoid this time if you can. Rainy season in Myanmar falls between June and October. For those wanting to enjoy local festivals of Myanmar visit during a full moon, which is a popular time for local festivals.
A whole day tour from Bagan to Salay and Mt. Popa
Explore cultural sites along the Irrawaddy River
Get stunning views of the surrounding area from the peak of Mt. Popa
- Hotel pickup and drop-off
- Private transfer by air-conditioned vehicle
- English-speaking tour guide
- Breakfast and Dinner
The trip begins from Bagan or Nyaung U. In the morning, we will pick you up from your hotel in Bagan or Nyaung and then drive along the Irrawaddy River to Salay, which takes about one and a half hours. Along the route, we will stop by the local markets in Chauk province. The market is a great place to see Myanmar's culture, and here you will also find cheap products that make the best souvenir. After riding for about half an hour, we will reach Yokesone Monastery, renowned for spectacular wood cravings built in AD 1882. It is also the hometown of the famed writer Salay U Pone Nya during the time of the Myanmar Kings.
From here, we continue the trip to Mt. Popa with a stop at the Popa Mountain Resort from where you can get panoramic views of the mountain. After having some refreshing drinks here, we head to Mount Popa, rising at an elevation of 1500meters above the sea level. There is a monastery at the peak of the mountain named Popa Taungkalat, which is the home of 37 Mahagiri Nats of which statues you will see throughout the way. To reach the summit, you have to climb 777steps, and you will see shrines, monkeys, and people selling goods beside the staircase all through the way.