Pindaya, and the pleasures of the low season

One of the questions often asked about travelling to a destination is what is the time to go. With most places, it’s easy to point to the best weather during the year and simply give that as the answer, and clearly if the intention is to have a beach holiday, that’s always going to be the answer.

But when visiting a country with the intention of visiting the sights and immersion in the culture, it’s not quite as simple as that. For example, this trip to Myanmar is during the low season, at the tail end of the Monsoon rains, a month before what is generally considered peak season begins. What that means is that the risk of rain, and sometimes heavy rain, is very much a present, but does this always matter? For example, today’s itinerary included a visit to the Pindaya Caves, esconced ‎in a limestone Ridge overlooking the lake. The caves are notable for containing around 10,000 Buddha images forming a labyrinth within.

It’s high on anyone’s list to visit when coming here, and to that end it gets extremely busy in peak season. The passages within the caves are quite narrow and sometimes in two directions. That it can be a less than spiritual experience in such circumstances shouldn’t be surprising. And yet here’s the thing, I’m out of season, it’s during the Monsoon which only means that there is some rain on some days, whilst others are hot and sunny, and yet when visiting the caves today, they were empty. And I mean empty.   I had the entire place more or less  to myself, meeting only three people on the walk around, and when seeing sights like this, that’s far preferable to worrying about the weather.

So when planning a trip, it’s not always the “best” time of year that can work out to be the ideal option, especially when costs like accommodation are so much cheaper in the low season.

Worth thinking about.

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