Pindaya, Pindaya Cave
The area around Pindaya is farming country, old school by hand and buffalo and is quite scenic. Most folks arrive by road (about 2 hours from Heho airport) but many also get here by trekking from Kalaw. The main attraction in Pindaya, besides it’s laid back atmosphere and country charm, is to see the Shwe Oo Min Cave, commonly called Pindaya Cave. The massive limestone cavern is jammed with more than 8,000 golden Buddhas. Legend has it that the original pagoda outside the cave was built by King Asoka and renovated by King Alaungsithu in the 12th century, but it’s obvious that if this is true, any vestiges of the original have long since been built over. The cave and its use as a shrine dates from the late 1700’s. There is an impressive bronze bell outside the cave cast in 1842 and weighing in at 654 kg. Have someone sit inside and give it a good whack.
The cave opening is part way up hill overlooking the city and easy to spot by the eyesore of a lift that takes you from the base to the opening. (Make sure you visit the WC before you go up, as there are no facilities once you ascend). Inside the walking lanes are narrow and in season can become rather crowded. For a break, seek out the Meditation Chamber and journey inward for a while!
For dining, and it closes a bit early for dinner, visit one of the best restaurants not just in Pindaya, but anywhere outside Yangon – The Green Tea. Even better than the food is the staff, who may well be the best trained in all of Myanmar! Be sure and make reservations for lunch if you want to sit next to the lake. If you love avocados, their avocado salad is sublime! Prices are a little expensive for the region, but still very cheap by Western standards.
The only hotel with a Luminous rating in Pindaya is the Pindaya Inle Inn. Their chalets are two story with a fireplace, 2 bath with upstairs balcony. Spacious and clean, with amazingly comfortable beds! Regular guest rooms are similar, only w/o the upstairs.