Pindaya Caves
Pindaya Caves
4.5

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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles629 reviews
Excellent
378
Very good
199
Average
42
Poor
7
Terrible
3

Bonnie S
Chilliwack, Canada1,444 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020
They took a cave, broke off all the stalagmites and stalactites, light washed the whole place, brought in concrete and then buddha statues. The sign of the sponsors is prominent and continue to be added. The whole place is more commercial than spiritual.
Written January 29, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

rooddo
Mandalay, Myanmar138 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2020
Very popular, probably the most popular attraction in Pindaya. There is an elevator so you do not have to climb much. Very busy and cave is fill with all kinds of Buddhas. Cave is massive. Do not expect it to be some out of the way cave with few tourists. major tourist attraction.
Written July 31, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Arthurrvr
Marlborough, UK1,426 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2011 • Friends
The Shwe U Min Caves Pagoda, better known to Westerners as the 8,000 Buddha Caves or the Pindaya Caves, are a really magical and awesome sight. For us, the Caves would be in our top 5 places to see in Myanmar. Not of course as important as the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon or even the Golden Rock Temple, but still, definitely in the top 5.
No-one is exactly sure when the caves first came to be used as a Buddhist shrine. Ancient stories say that the Pagoda at the cave entrance was founded by King Asoka in the 3rd Century BC while legend has it that the caves were used by a giant spider who captured 7 local princesses and held them captive in the caves. Be that as it may, the earliest Buddha statue in the cave that has been authenticated dates from 1773. There might be some from even earlier in the 18th Century but they have not been authenticated. The majority of the statues in the caves seem to date from the late 18th and early 19th Centuries but many are even later up to 2011 – when we visited the caves.
It is possible to add to the Buddhas in the caves even now, and many people do. It is interesting to note that a few years ago the cave Trustees undertook an inventory of all the statues in the caves, taking many months to do so, and discovered there were a few hundred less than expected. A bit of a mystery as no Buddhist would dare to steal a Buddha statue for fear of bad karma and even non Buddhists would be unlikely to do so. The most likely explanation seems to be that some people take back the statues they originally placed in the caves, eg as an offering for help with medical problems, which when the person recovered (or maybe dies) they then wanted to 'reuse' the statue. However, one wouldn't notice as overall the number of statues goes up not down and it probably won't be long before there are over 9,000 Buddha statues here.
It is though a truly awesome (in its proper meaning) sight walking around the caves. In some parts, especially nearer the entrance, it can be difficult for the eye to differentiate between the different statues, there are just do many of them, in all different shapes, styles, features and sizes, some life size, some very small and many in gold or bronze but many others in different colours, textures and material. Parts of the cave further from the entrance though tend to have fewer Buddha statues. Technically I understand there is just one cave used, which might be so, but to a 'layman' there are many different sections which you reach by walking down or up or into a completely different part. I suppose, technically, they are just sub-caves? Anyway, it is easy to spend many hours here absorbing all there is to see.
The interior of the caves are definitely damp, especially further from the entrance, though rickety handrails have been put up in many parts, so best to use them. It is very easy to slip especially on the steps. Being a working temple, not 'just' a cave, one has to remove one's socks and shoes at the lower entrance (a few shoe lockers there) and although there are mats put down along most of the walkways, because of the damp in the air it is like walking on an extremely wet towel. Better though than walking on slippery rock.
All the different parts of the cave system have lights so one can see, but, apart from near the entrance, they are fairly dim in many parts, and the caves are so large, it is difficult at times to see details. It also makes longer view photography in the caves very difficult unless one has professional equipment as ordinary flash only penetrates a small distance. Close ups of smaller groups of statues are of course fairly easy.
Most tourists who come here, tend to combine the caves with a visit to Lake Inle or Kalaw or both. We did both though were not that keen on Kalaw and next time will just carry on to Lake Inle after our visit here. One has to fly in to Helo Airport, same as for Lake Inle, and then take a roughly 3 hour drive west to Pindaya, rather than a 1 hour drive south from Helo to Lake Inle. The town of Pindaya has a number of paper & umbrella making workshops which one can also visit if one has time and there are restaurants in town (only snacks at the caves) – we ate at the Green Tea Restaurant in Pindaya which is somewhat upmarket but lovely décor at the edge of a lake and with good Shan (and other Myanmar) food.
One can walk up, through a covered walkway, from near the town right up to the caves, which most pilgrims would do. However, some of us being very unfit, we sat in our minibus which took us to the main steps, 100 metres or so below the actual cave entrance. The car park is a bit down from the entrance though so one has to walk a bit of way further down the hill to the car park after one's visit. Note that the giant spider statue (and princely archer) by the main steps does not denote that Disney has taken over, and is just a reminder of the legends about the caves. It is popular for visitors to pose on the seats under the spider statue as the photograph will make it seem as if the spider is about to eat you!
From the bottom of the main steps there are around 30(?) steps up and then one has a choice of walking up more stairs or taking the lift/elevator to the cave entrance. The lift has glass walls so one has great views on the way up – and down, and the sign says the lift operates from 0900-1200 and 1300-1600 hours. Whether arriving by stairs or lift you then enter a largish room and there are a further 20(?) steps up into the caves. The temple stupa is unusually actually inside the cave, near the entrance and consequently is much smaller than in many temples, maybe just 7 metres high or so.
For Buddhists, this cave would be an absolutely must see but even for non Buddhists it would be a fascinating and most unusual experience.
Written March 14, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

PA147
Gateshead, UK154 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2019 • Couples
We hired a car since the cave (may appears as pindaya or pintaya) is a few hrs drive from Inle (car and driver cost $42 for day).

There is an additional $5/pp fee just to enter the Pindaya region. I personally resent this practice of local states viewing tourists as a cash cow they can milk without providing anything in return! Charging you for the privilege of spending your money in their restaurants and hotels etc is a concept I have never come across before except in Myanmar where it is all too common.

The cave has an entrance fee of 3000ky pp.

What can I say about the cave? It is a crass and gaudy waste of time and you should give it a miss. You take a perfectly good wonder of nature like a cave, and then fill wvery avaialble space with cheap, gaudy Buddha statues (and a Buddha maze for goodness sake!) and some flashing lights and call it a tourist attraction. It was only missing slot machines and an over weight and off key cabaret singer to complete the picture. I honestly have no idea what the other reviewers that have visited this cave were looking at - it was ruined not improved by the efforts of the locals and any spirituality you think you can sense, is just the wail of the wind decrying the desecration of a perfectly good cave.

The driver took us to see the sun umbrellas being made by local artisans close to the cave. That actually was interesting.

So given the cost and time of getting there; the charge applied by the local government for the privilege of driving through their city to get to the cave so you can spend your money and the disappointment of the cave itself, I would give it a miss. It really is not worth the effort.
Written February 4, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

brownfootedboobie
Boston, MA1,200 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2011 • Friends
Pindaya Caves is the one highlight of Myanmar that few people visit.The ride from heho airport is about 90 minutes on a very rough road,longer when there is road construction,flooding etc.There are a few decent views,a green tea restaurant,and a burmese umbrella factory along the route.The entry fee into the caves is $3 and you have the option to take an elevator.There are almost 9000 buddha images in the caves and the number is constantly growing ,thanks to constant new donations.THE CAVES are dimly lit,yet visibility is quite good and pictures come out quite nicely if you have a flash.SHOES must be removed and surprisingly the floor is not slippery.The C AVES and the statues are very nicely layed out,with a few crawl spaces and shrines.Most of the buddha images are in gold,although some are still black.PINDAYA caves are a lot of fun to walk around and it is nice to see the caves filled with buddha images from top to bottom in a layered fashion.
Written March 17, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

arvind1000
Pune, India2,721 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2019 • Friends
Pindaya caves can be best accessed by car ( it’s about 1 1/2 to 2 hour drive from Nyaungshwe). We were able ask our hotel to hire a car with driver for trip for about 30000 kyats ( or USD 20). We left at about 1000 and returned back about 1700 ( we stopped at few places on the way as drive was scenic : we stopped a local crafts workshop and old colonial railway station/bridge). The caves themselves are awe inspiring .Pindaya is a complex of 3 caverns, largest about 150 metres high. It has become a major Buddhist pilgrimage place due to 8000 + Buddha statues of various sizes and styles. Looking at the them at first sight is truly spellbinding. The access to the cave can be by a covered pathway of steps or via a lift/elevator. Entry fee to the Pindaya area is about $5 per person and to caves an additional 3000 kyats per person.
Written December 4, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

blairabroad2012
Hong Kong, China1,557 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2019
A must see. Fabulous 200million year old caves with over 8,000 Buddha images - made from marble to jade, to lacquer, cement and even bamboo! A lovely place with whole columns formed from stalactites to stalagmites. Slippy in places, but wonderful maze of Buddha statues meandering through the winding caverns. (not accessible to wheelchairs.) So glad we went!
[I took so many more photos, but too big to share :( …]
Check out the Prince Archer/Saving 8 Maidens//Spider sculptures outside and appreciate the story!)
Written October 24, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Dingo_6152
Fremantle, Australia3,133 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2018 • Couples
Located on a limestone ridge line, above the town of Pindaya and Lake Taloke is this large cavern filled with over 8,000 Buddha statues. At its entrance is a larger than life statute of a Burmese princes shooting a bow and arrow at a gargantuan black spider, which is based on the legend of the seven princesses bathing in the lake, who were captured by a giant spider and trapped in the cave only to be rescued by Prince Kummabhaya. You can either climb the long stairway from the base of the hill or get driven to the car park, where you have the option of using the lift or climbing the remaining 130 stairs, we did the later because of the crowd at the lift (beat them to the top as well). There is a entrance fee to the cave and a camera fee. You also need to leave your shoes behind and cover up appropriately. Nothing however can prepare you for the sight of so many Buddha statues both large and small, filling every nook and cranny in this cave. It’s like navigating a maze through this collection of Buddha images. Unfortunately the soot from lamps used in the past has blackened most of the stalagmites and stalactites in the cave. The cave seems to go on forever and so do the statues. Take the opportunity to crawl into one of the naturally occurring meditation chambers in the cave walls. We found it fascinating and unique - well worth the visit.
Written December 28, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ashleigh J
London, UK360 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2017 • Couples
We were staying in Kalaw before we trekked to Inle Lake and decided to spend an extra day so we could see the Pindaya caves.
We tried to research where to get the bus from but no one seemed to know and couldn't find it on the net (I'm assuming it's a local bus).

We searched around and a taxi guy approached us, I thought it was going to be extortionate but was a pretty good deal.

For 40,000K (£23) he took us there, waited for us to climb the steps to the cave and explore as long as we needed. When we were finished we were looking at some clothes stalls and he was asking them prices and bartering for us.
We left the caves and he took us to the old monastery 120 years old where monks were eating lunch. Very peaceful place.
He then took us to where the traditional umbrellas and lanterns are made. I wasn't very excited about this part but it blew me away and was so impressed. The work that goes into it is amazing.

If you just wanted to do the caves you could get a deal for 30,000k however I would suggest the other two as we did the caves in around 40 minutes. Note that tourists pay an entrance fee to Pindaya of 6500K and then again into the caves of 3000K each.

DETAILS FOR DRIVER:
Name is: Ko Thar Gyi
Number is: 09-796547492 or 09-36095788

Really lovely and trustworthy guy, looks after you well and shows you some good things. His English is good so he gives you information along the way too.
Written September 3, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

1dancing_fool
Connecticut1,336 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2015 • Couples
I think there are several different reasons you should consider visiting the Pindaya caves:

1. They are simply a Must See for those who are interested in Buddhist religious sites as places such as this are both rare and individually unique.

2. The trip here is beautiful and takes you across the rural countryside and thru several small villages. The drive itself lets you see a small glimpse of this wonderful country you might otherwise not get to experience as you zip around the typical "big four" destinations.

3. Where else can you come home with the story of being in a cave with 8,000+ Buddhas? It's pretty cool for sure!

4. If you have a half day to invest due to a mid day flight, this is the perfect filler.

We hired a private car who picked us up at the airport, took us to the caves, brought us to lunch on the lake below the caves, then took us to Nyuangshwe stopping for a visit at the wooden monastery just outside of town. Our cost, prearranged, was 50 USD. It was perfect because we landed just after noon which if we had gone straight to Nyuangshwe would have not left us enough time to really get out onto the lake and was definately more interesting than just walking about town. Also, the cost of a typical taxi was 25 USD, so for not much more we had the car for the entire afternoon. Our driver spoke decent English and acted as a quasi tour guide as well.

If you'd like the contact info for the car hire, just PM me.
Written July 8, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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