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...

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