If you are going to Inle Lake and Pindaya in Burma, make sure you spend at least one night in Pindaya and hike around its hills. Most people who visit this area go to the Pindaya Caves, then drive all the way back to Inle Lake and spend their time on the lake. They are missing out on the natural beauty and the tranquility of Pindaya, a town set on a small lake surrounded by lush hills and countryside.
I recommend staying at the Conqueror Resort Hotel, a beautiful resort hotel where guests have their own private bungalow. The bungalows are designed in the local style with hardwood floors and locally designed furniture. Each bungalow has a spacious bathroom, sitting room and outdoor patio overlooking the hills and lovely gardens. There is also a swimming pool, which I did not get to enjoy because I went in January and it was very cold. Make sure you bring a jacket if you are going in January and early February. The bungalows are large and the space heating unit is not enough to keep it warm and toasty.
What to do around Pindaya? I went on a trek in the hills one afternoon, organized by a local guide, walked past monasteries and shrines, and visited a local tea leaf business. I also visited the limestone caves where hundreds of Buddha statues can be found (see photos below).
Pindaya is a peaceful and quiet town perched on Pone Ta Loke Lake. It is 1183 metres above sea level (cold in the winter, but cool in the summer), 60 km from Heho airport. It is an ideal place to meditate and relax. The countryside around Pindaya looks more like the south of France or Catalonia than southeast Asia because of the high elevation. The palm tree vanishes, replaced by pine trees. I was told that several European wine makers have moved to Pindaya and are now making good wine. I did not have a chance to try it. I simply loved the beauty and solitude of the countryside in Pindaya and could have stayed much longer.
Conqueror Resort Hotel
Singong Quarter, Pindaya
Southern Shan State, Myanmar
+ 95-1 448 1211