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Published: April 11th 2018
Leaving Bagan we were taken almost 50km away to the magnificent setting of Mount Popa. Without Joe's
taxi service (!) we would never had gone there but we are so pleased that we did. Day trips go from Bagan which for many people is the only way of getting there.
Our first stop was the stunning Popa Mountain Resort
where we sat on their wooden deck and drank ridiculously expensive coffee admiring the view over the plains, and the nearby volcanic peak topped by Taung Kalat monastery, our post-coffee destination. The coffee was most welcome because we had been up so early to see the sun rise over Bagan's
temples. It also gave us the necessary kick to begin our climb!
Back down the hill we began our ascent of Taung Kalat. As usual it was shoes and socks off, and hundreds upon hundreds of steps up on various surfaces. All along the way we were greeted by "Donation for cleaning!", a plea to get us to contribute towards the cost of cleaning the many, many stairs to the monastery. It's hard to ignore them all but how would you choose which of the hundreds of cleaners to pay? We made a
general contribution elsewhere instead. You may wonder why it needs so much cleaning. Well, there were so many people walking up and everyone is barefoot, but the monkeys which are everywhere don't really care where they go to the toilet!
There may be too many steps to count but taking it steadily and stopping at regular intervals to admire the view, it's perhaps not as difficult a climb as you may imagine. At the top the temple is little different to any other you may see in Myanmar, but the setting is nothing short of spectacular. What was interesting was reading the names of the donors whose plaques were on display in various degrees of misspelling! The couple from DALLAF, TEHAS must wonder where their money went, and was it the real Donald Trump who made a generous $20 donation?!
Once we had made our way back down and regained our breath, it was time to continue our journey on to Nay Pyi Thaw, the relatively unexplored capital city of Myanmar.
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