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[Photos] Saigoneer Getaways: Pastoral Scenes of Pindaya, Myanmar

Myanmar is no longer the secret of Southeast Asia. With tourist numbers increasing every year, its dusty country roads, seemingly endless parades of monks and crumbling colonial architecture are now officially a draw among everyone from luxury travelers to the backpacker set.

While it’s clear that the number of foreign faces has increased, tourism has yet to take over all areas of the country. The hinterlands remain largely untouched; most travelers prefer to stick to the key attractions, however getting away from the crowds requires only a short detour.

A mere 50 kilometers from the famous Inle Lake, Pindaya remains a sleepy outpost dominated by rural life. Noted for one attraction, the Pindaya Cave, the town serves as a destination for the occasional day trip from Inle but is seldom viewed as more than a short stopover.

Once the sprinkling of day trippers wander through the Buddha-filled cave and head back to Inle's more touristed grounds, Pindaya goes on about its day. Kids play in the water, locals tend to the tea plantations dotting the hills and the women do their laundry in the central lake. Pastoral scenes unfold left, right and center. All you have to do is simply be present and still.

Morning light shines through a banyan tree on the banks of Botoloke Lake.

Still rural, many roads in Pindaya remain unpaved.

A man goes on his morning ride through Pindaya's dusty town center.

A monk takes his daily walk through Pindaya.

An artisan makes traditional paper parasols in a small workshop outside of town.

The famous Pindaya cave, home to thousands of Buddha statues.

The hills outside of Pindaya proper are dotted with villages and tea plantations.

Hundred-year-old banyan trees line the town's main roads.

During the dry season, local children play in the receding waters of Botoloke Lake.

Baked red earth covers the rolling hills surrounding Pindaya town.

A Buddhist temple sits on a hilltop near town.

Local workers head home after a day of building. In Pindaya, pagodas are built by volunteers using largely traditional construction methods.

A panoramic view of Pindaya's surrounding village. Burning fields are seen in the valley below.

Dappled light illuminates a cemetery hidden beneath massive banyan trees.

Morning light pours through a centuries-old banyan tree in Pindaya.

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