After driving for about 2 hours from Bagan we arrived at Mount Popa, where we would climb the 777 steps to the top of the mountain Taung Kalat to the Taungkalat shrine. The view from the top of the mountain was of course fantastic with a stunning view of the Ayeryarwaddy river and the surroundings. But the “trek” to the top is also quite an experience. At some places the steps are really steep.
Monkeys have found their livelihoods among the pilgrims and tourists. And they do what ever it takes to get a small meal, even though it means steeling. Several times we saw sticky-fingered monkeys looking for a chocolate hidden in a bag or a cigar in a breast pocket. They gave us many good laughs, but these monkeys can be quite troublesome. They also fight quite often and can make a tremendous noise.
In the Budda temples shoes are prohibited, so we had to walk barefoot from our car to the top. The steps seemed a bit sticky, and several times we wondered what we stepped on, and our suspicions were confirmed at last, we had stomped around in monkey poop and pee. Despite this fact it did not take from us the great experience to “hike” to the top.