Pindaya Caves

Pindaya Caves: Address, Phone Number, Pindaya Caves Reviews: 4.5/5

Pindaya Caves
Caverns & Caves
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.

628 reviews
Very good

Christchurch, New Zealand1,809 contributions
.....on entering this series of caves. It's a very holy site and to ensure access for all there is a choice of covered walk up or elevators. We took the elevator up but walked back down. There is so much to see that you really just don't know where to look first and there are quite a number of caves and caverns to visit. There are Buddha images of every conceivable size, shape, style, colour in every nook and cranny. All been lovingly placed there by some devout family or individual and all bearing different meanings and intentions, I'm sure, dependent on the donor.
This is an amazing experience. Don't miss it if you can possibly get there. The path up from the carpark is fun. It has all sorts of large concrete images, notably a large globe where even NZ is featured (good one, Burma), a series of statues which more or less equates to Shakespeares speech for Jacque about the Ages of Man, and most amusingly, an enormous and supposed to be scary spider perched right by the steps!
Do note that shoes have to be left behind and that the pathways and steps inside the cave can be slippery and uneven.
A most facsinating visit. Allow at least a couple of hours.
Written March 13, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Florent H
North Sulawesi, Indonesia50 contributions
Only one and a half hour away from Kalaw (driving a motorcycle) this cave is a great place and the perfect thing to do before starting the trekking to Inle lake.

More than 8000 budha status inside gives this cave a really unique atmosphere.
it is not crowded with tourists (at least when we were there). on the other hand you will get to see a lot of local people coming here on a pilgrimage.

Important to note : like any other Buddhist place you must respect a certain dress code: no shoes or socks, no short pants (up knee level) and for the ladies no spaghettis strap, naked shoulders etc...

I highly recommend to visit this place.
Written February 26, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Kings Langley, UK477 contributions
A rather bizarre and vast collection of Buddhas inside massive caves at Pindaya. Well worth a stop if you are on the road because of its quirkiness. You wonder what mindset started a trend of building Buddhas of all sizes in a cave. Indeed we wandered at this throughout as we drove around Myanmar! The more, of course, the merrier!
Written June 15, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Bonnie S
Chilliwack, Canada1,481 contributions
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.

Mandalay, Myanmar144 contributions
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.

Marlborough, UK1,441 contributions
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.

Gateshead, UK125 contributions
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.

Boston, MA1,201 contributions
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.

Pune, India2,223 contributions
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.

Hong Kong, China1,532 contributions
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.

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