What to expect when visiting Myanmar? Myanmar has been on my bucket list ever since I had a conversation with a...
Pindaya is a small town that is located near Botoloke Lake where many people come to visit the famous Pindaya Cave and the local family-owned workshops. Another attraction many people choose to do is the hike between Kalaw to Pindaya. The nearest airport is the Heho airport and from the moment we started the ride to Pindaya, we were amazed by the gorgeous agricultural land, patches of various greens, browns and yellows woven together into a marvelous natural quilt. It is such a unique experience to ride through the villages and see uncommon sights we usually don’t get to witness and to communicate with the local population.
Things to See and Do in Pindaya
The Pindaya Cave
The main attraction in the area must be the Pindaya Cave. You can visit this unique cave that holds a collection of more than 8,000 Buddha sculptures of various sizes and made from various materials such as marble or bronze and some of which are coated with gold leaves. The statues date back to the 18th century. We walked around this huge cave which was filled with locals and tourists alike and we couldn’t help ourselves but take dozens of pictures of the various Buddha statues and magnificent stalactites that hang over our heads as a reminder to the forces of mother nature.
We just love small workshops where you get to experience first-hand the making of artifacts and really value the amount of time and precision it takes to create these small handicrafts or products that we take for granted since we usually buy them straight from our local stores. Anyone who is interested in arts and hand-made crafts will really love and appreciate Myanmar’s family-owned factories and artisans. We visited a small factory for paper umbrellas (they sell many other beautiful artifacts made from rice paper on site). We got to watch the different stages of making the umbrellas, from the making of the rice paper itself, through the carving of the umbrella’s base that is made from bamboo and finally the hand-decoration on the umbrella.
Another special visit was to a family whose specialty is drying the leaves from which the local hand-rolled cigars are made. At this house only the drying process itself is made and the leaves are sent to other places to be rolled into cigars.
Finally we paid a visit to a small tea leaves workshop where the family dries and sort out the local famous tea leaves – which are considered also as a delicacy in the local cuisine. Make sure to taste the famous tea leaf salad – Laphet.
Soak in the Wonderful Sites of the Agricultural Land
We fell in love with the unique beauty and topography of this area. Unfortunately, it was one of the first legs of our trips and the weather was quite rainy accompanied by huge puddles of mud. Therefore, we were quite lazy and relied on the fact we could take similar pictures in other areas. In hindsight, we regret not taking more pictures of the unique sights of this area, the beautiful landscape dotted with dark and light green or the occasional field of blooming yellowish flowers, the local children riding their buffalo on their way to plow the field, sometimes even standing straight on the animal’s back (no need for Pilates classes – they have excellent core muscles), the motorbikes that passed us by, loaded with huge piles of straw, rugs and baskets, not to mention the stop in one of the villages where the proud parents of the bride invited us to say hello to the happy couple and join the festivities.
This is why we think Pindaya should definitely be on your bucket list, and even though many people choose to skip it, it is one of our best recommendations to enjoy your Myanmar off the beaten track itinerary.
If you are looking for a nice place to have lunch or dinner, check out the Green Tea Room. Though it is a restaurant that many tourist groups stop here for lunch, the setting is beautiful (ask for a table overlooking the lake) and the food was very good! (first time we tasted the long green beans with cumin seeds and we just loved it).