Day 5: Pindaya Caves

by - May 04, 2014

U-Bein Bridge
We had, admittedly, not really seen much of the sights of the city of Mandalay itself, though having fully experienced the water festival however, we felt that this was a suitable trade-off.  There was one more location that we wanted to (re)visit however and that was U-Bein Bridge.  We had already seen it at sunset, but we had heard that the most beautiful time to see it was sunrise, when it is quieter and the monks cross it to collect their daily alms.  This meant checking out of our hotel at about 5.30am, but that wasn’t too much of a hardship considering that it would allow us to see more throughout the day and reach our eventual goal (Inle Lake) earlier.  While the sunrise itself was pretty hazy, arriving at the bridge early was well worth it for the peaceful calm at the lake and the wonderful pictures we were able to capture, my favourite of which is above.
A random religious hill top on
From here it was to be a long eight-hour drive through the hills to Inle Lake.  I had asked Jimmy if he was willing to stop off about three-quarters of the way through the journey at a place called Pindaya, a major site of religious pilgrimage which is based around a cave, stuffed full of Buddha statues.  There are thought to be over 8,000 statues of the Buddha, donated and collected from all over the world. Tourists have to pay a $5 entrance fee, but this is well worth it as the caves alone are impressively dramatic, not to mention the amount of golden Buddhas inside them.  We only stayed for about an hour or so before continuing the remaining two hours to Inle - for anyone with a large amount of time at the lake, Pindaya would make a good half-day excursion.  We arrived at about 6pm at the town of Nyuang Shwe, the tourist hub at the northern end of the lake.  While there was no time to go out on the lake itself, we were able to wander around the town a little bit, grab some food and then took some beers back to the hotel terrace.

Pindaya Caves

Pindaya Caves

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