Pindaya is a small quiet town perched on the bank of the placid Botoloke Lake. It also contains at least two large monastery compounds with numerous pagodas and stupas, all in different stages of preservation or dilapidation, depending on your view of things. It is a religious center for the Palaung, Shan, Danu and Pao peoples living in the vicinity.
Pam and I spent a couple of hours just wandering around. We find that, while on a tour, even a custom one such as this, we must take time for ourselves to just hang out. If we don’t, we go into “tourist attraction” overload. Also, while I value a knowledgeable guide’s input, I find I don’t retain that much unless I write it down soon thereafter. In this case, Tutu gave us an over-view and we asked some questions later.
One of the Pagoda filled areas we visited is actually a burial ground for the now extinct Shan royal family. The other is connected to an active monastery, whose name I forgot to write down. The wooden living quarters of the monastery are fascinating and look like they are about ready to collapse. On the other hand, nearby, is a modern meeting hall, which is evidently available to rent out for conferences, etc. I found myself questioning their priorities but maybe the meeting hall will provide enough income to rehabilitate the living quarters or maybe the monk’s living quarters are intended to be sparse and dilapidated. Tutu was unable to shed any light on the matter.
While we wandered the Shan Royal tombs and pagodas, a storm came up adding a little drama to a fascinating walk past monuments to forgotten VIPs. Even though, we were unable to read the inscriptions, we could imagine the status of the various deceased based on the size of their tomb. It was also nice to wander through the area by ourselves and without other tourists, a rare occurrence in most tourist attractions.
After visiting the pagoda complexes, we walked across the road to the Lake Botoloke shore. It is small, placid body of water. Some of the locals were fishing and smiled and nodded at us. After the rain, a nice breeze had come up so we decided to walk around the lake. There’s really not much to see but the ambiance is peaceful and the wild flowers are very nice. After about 30 minutes, I decided some relaxing time back at the hotel would be good for me. Pam decided to finish circumnavigating the lake. When she returned, she said it was pretty much the same all around except for some very marshy spots at the North end of the lake.
We really enjoyed our stroll around the area and I recommend taking some time to experience this non-tourist infested small town.