Best Spirit Encounter

Rising from the heat haze of Burma's central plains is Asia's answer to Mount Olympus and a nation's mystical hot spot: Mount Popa, home to Burma's nats, which are the spirits—potentially malevolent—of dead nobles and folk heroes, worshipped there since pre-Buddhist times. More than 1,500 m tall and the product of an ancient volcanic eruption, Popa is a place of pilgrimage for Burmese from all walks of life. They climb the mountain to make offerings to the nats, and risk offending them if they ignore rules governing the ascent: don't curse, don't wear red or black, don't carry meat. Beyond an...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!