After five very eventful days we bid farewell to Kengtung and drove back to Tachileik. Once again we visited the border market and found some extremely cheap bags and other items. In the streets we were also offered rubies, cigarettes, alcohol, you name it.
We flew from Tachileik to Heho, the airport serving the Inle Lake region. Before Inle though we headed off to Pindaya.
Pindaya has not received much justice in guidebooks in recent times. It is famous for its caves that are packed with Buddha images but has been described in the guides as “gaudy”. Well, there has been a big cleanup – someone must have decided that gaudy is not longer in, and while the caves are illuminated and there is plenty of gold around, the flashing strobe lights are gone and the caves are a really great place to visit.
Pindaya is named after a legend about a spider, and just outside the caves there is a huge spider (model). Spiders are quite commonplace, as we found in the hotel grounds.
They are real caves – stalagmites et al, yet they have been a place of pilgrimage for centuries and the walls and floors are covered with Buddhas. By now on our trip we had seen plenty of Buddhas of course, but the kids really took to Pindaya. They loved exploring the caves ,and the views over the countryside are breathtaking too.
Our hotel was very close to the caves. Modelled on a typical Myanmar village, our room was in the style of a hut, with palm walls etc. That night we were the only people staying at the hotel – it’s kind of weird when that happens – we had a musician playing just for us, and there were about five servers allocated to us at our table – a server for each of us!. When we checked out the next morning a tour bus with at least 30 people turned up, so I guess it was just that night that things were quiet).
There is more to see in Pindaya than the caves. We visited local craft workshops , including a handmade paper workshop which was fascinating, and a parasol workshop, where the whole umbrella is made from the palm tree. There are also massive Banyan trees, which the kids loved exploring.
Our next stop would be Inle, one of the major draws of Myanmar.
(PS: I am now custom -designing trips to Myanmar. For more details click here).