The road to Pindaya on the Shan Plateau, Burma – ‘Cabbages and Caves’

Well that’s what the small Burmese, Shan Plateau town of Pindaya’s famous for! Now we had intended to write about the famous and spectacular cave temples but seem to have filled most of the post up with cabbage photos so – we’ll call this one ‘the road to…’ and post a seperate temple piece afterwards.

Pa-O women in Aung Ban Market with lemons, potatoes and avocados
Pa-O women in Aung Ban Market with lemons, potatoes and avocados

The 1 hour drive north from the market town of Aung Ban,  (Aung Ban being one of the area’s 5 towns that share a market day rota), wound it’s way through what looked like some of the richest farmland in Southeast Asia where cool temperatures and the undulating patchwork of small fields, copses and farms seemed very European and indeed where temperate vegetables such as cabbages and cauliflowers predominated, (well at least at that time of year).

Temperate landscapes on the Shan Plateau
Temperate landscapes on the Shan Plateau

The whole region was intensely cultivated and a hive of activity with fields bustling with farm workers and the road heaving with all kinds of vehicles on their way to or from the market. Pa-O villages dotted the landscape with, further up the hills, Palaung settlements.

Mountains of cauliflowers
Mountains of cauliflowers

Some picturesque, pastoral scenes – a fascinating drive – and we could really have stopped every 2 minutes to photo one scene or another but cave temples called!

Off to market
Off to market

And a photo of some very un-tropical looking carnations in Aung Ban market, which just highlighted the wide range of tropical, sub-tropical and temperate products that can be grown in this potentially rich area.

Shan carnations
Shan carnations

Left us somewhat frustrated that over the, not so distant Thai border, we’re paying through the nose for expensive, imported – sometimes from as far away as Australia – produce like lemons, grapes, avocados and ‘exotic’ temperate veggies such as potatoes, leeks and cauliflowers. Let’s hope border and exchange problems can be sorted out so goods can perhaps start flowing southwards  & boost the economy somewhat of what is still a very ‘undeveloped’ region, but which as far as we could see ought to be a very rich one!

Apparent problems with this vegetable convoy to Aung Ban
Apparent problems with this vegetable convoy to Aung Ban

Could have just detoured the convoy direct to Chiang Mai’s Rimping supermarket – which would have been a damn sight closer than Yangon too!

Coming up next – when we’re done waffling about cabbages – the cave temples themselves! Cheers!

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  1. Pingback: North Thailand's ethnic minorities: the Kayan or "Long Neck Karen" | Travelfish on Chiang Mai

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