Pindaya is a little town set on Pone Taloke Lake near the western Shan hills of Myanmar. On a limestone ridge above the lake is an impressive winding complex of natural caves known as Shwe Oo Min Natural Cave Pagoda.
Exploring the interior of the caves
Atmospherically lit, the caves house almost 9,000 glistening golden figures of Buddha, an impressive sight to behold. Some of these were left centuries ago by local pilgrims and others have been added recently by Buddhist organisations from all over the world.
he statues are made from a range of materials including marble, brick, lacquer, alabaster, teak and cement, and the collection is still growing – pilgrims gradually continue to bring new figures and meditate in the caves.
The Shwe Oo Min limestone cave complex is entirely natural, very little has been done to modify the passages except what has been needed for safety and lighting requirements.
Getting there & when to visit
The stairs leading to the cave start at the gleaming white zedi of Nget Pyaw Taw Pagoda. This Pagoda is just south of the Conqueror Hotel on Shwe U Min Pagoda Rd, a short walk from the town of Pindaya.
There is a lift that allows you to skip some of the steps to the entrance to the caves. Admission to the caves costs 3,000 MMK (Approx. 3.45 AUD) with a camera fee of 300 MMK (Approx. 0.35 AUD).
The area around the Nget Pyaw Taw Pagoda is covered in small stalls selling all sorts of fares and wares including cheroots (the Southeast Asian equivalent of a cigar).
If you don't feel like walking, a horse cart will take you from Pindaya town to the Nget Pyaw Taw Pagoda entrance for about 1,000 MMK (Approx. 1 AUD) and a motorcycle taxi will take you to the cave entrance for about the same.
The best time to visit the caves is early March, when pilgrims and tourists visit for the annual festival.