Mount Popa is a sleeping volcano in Myanmar that sits just 36 miles (58 km) outside the ancient ruins of Bagan. Hiring a driver is your best option, though you can also rent a car or take a bus for the 1.5-hour journey. Travelers coming from Mandalay or Yangon will need to travel through Bagan to reach Mount Popa.
Duration: 1 hour 20 minutes
Getting to Mount Popa from Bagan is a simple drive that takes less than an hour and a half. You can hire a driver or rent a car—either way you'll simply head southeast on Byat Ta Pan Sat Road for about 36 miles (58 km) until you reach the turnoff for the monastery. Alternatively, you can take a bus from the Nyaung-U Highway Bus Terminal.
Duration: 3 hours 45 minutes
The easiest way to get to Mount Popa from Mandalay is to fly to Bagan first. The ancient city is full of tourist attractions (including a large complex of temple ruins), and lots of tour companies offer day trips to Mount Popa. The flight, which takes you from Mandalay International Airport (MDL) in Tada-U to Nyaung U Airport (NYU) outside Old Bagan, only takes 35 minutes. The next day, you can hire a driver to take you to Popa Taungkalat or book a tour with a guide. There are also buses that leave daily from Bagan.
If you do decide to go directly from Mandalay to Mount Popa, the drive will take about 3 hours and 45 minutes. Simply head south on the Yangon-Mandalay Expressway and then west on Route 2 until you reach the final turnoff for Mount Popa.
Discover more details on how to get to Bagan from Mandalay.
Duration: 8 hours
It takes nearly 8 hours to drive to Mount Popa from Yangon and once you're there, you'll find very little in the way of lodging nearby. For that reason, most travelers choose to go to Bagan first. It's only an hour and a half away from Mount Popa and there are tons of options for buses, private drivers, and guided tours.
To get to Bagan from Yangon, hop a flight from Yangon International Airport (RGN) in Mingaladon. It only takes an hour and 20 minutes and there are about five carriers that operate flights. If that doesn't sound appealing, you can also take a night bus which will leave Yangon in the evening and arrive in Bagan in the early morning.