Only about an hour or so from Bagan, lies a very interesting temples called Mt. Popa. After finding ourselves bored in Bagan, (that would be a good postcard slogan... "bored in Bagan"), we hired a taxi to take us to Mt. Popa. Although I had briefly read about this in the lonely planet, I didn't do too much research. In saying that, we were pleasantly surprised to find that this was a temple full of monkeys. Well, of course, the fir st reaction was to be excited by the monkeys and then came fear, and then came the time to that we were required to remove our shoes, and then disgust maybe took over. Yep, you got it, we hiked Mt. Popa in monkey poop. It was about a 30 minute hike up stairs. Anyways, Mt. Popa is a large temple built on top of a skinny mountain. Unfortunately, at sunset, massive rain clouds were moving their way in and as soon as we got to the top of the mountain, it began down-pouring. We were stuck. We sat for awhile inside the temple room and they gave us some bananas that were offered to Buddha.The head monk (although deceased) had a few statues made to remember him. The people watching the room periodically gave the statue a lit cigarette. That was really bizarre.
When the rain passed, we walked down (the monkey poop had been cleared by the rain luckily) and entertained ourselves with the wet monkeys. On the way up, they had been so terrifying, walking next to you on the stairs, notorious for stealing from people. However, the rain scared them and they gathered at dusk under coverings and hid in the corners of the walkway cover.
It is a lovely day trip and a very nice alternative to Bagan.