Our guide was fantastic, and the itinerary succeeded in getting us off the beaten path as we desired.
Pyin Oo Lwin
Welcome to Pyin Oo Lwin, formerly known as Maymyo - a picturesque small town in the Shan Highlands of central Myanmar. This town is more than just a pretty face: it began as an outpost of the British military during its occupation of the country, and eventually grew into a permanent post, as well as the summer capital of British Burma due to its temperate climate from its high elevation.
Today, Pyin Oo Lwin has a strong Anglo legacy, with one of the largest Anglo-Burmese populations in the country. Despite the fact that the military government of Burma renamed the town Pyin Oo Lwin from the British Maymyo (meaning May's Town, after the British Colonel May), there remains much evidence of British occupation and rule, from old colonial homes to the chimes of the town's clock tower aligning with those of Big Ben in London, England.
Visitors can expect to be charmed by the sensual natural surroundings, which include an abundance of vibrant flowers and strawberries, as well as aromatic coffee beans. Together with a comfortable climate and relaxed vibe, as well as plenty of attractions and activities, Pyin Oo Lwin makes a pleasant stop on any visit to Myanmar.
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The botanical gardens of Maymyo are well worth a tour: they feature many different varieties of English plants and include a rose garden, an orchid garden, and a stupa located on a tiny island in the middle of a pond. Located just outside of the town, the gardens are a nice little walk or carriage ride away.
One of the main attractions in the center of the town is Purcell Tower, which houses one of the few clocks made by Gillette and Johnson Co. of England in 1934, in celebration of King George V’s Silver Jubilee (one of the other clocks is in Cape Town, South Africa, given at the same time). The chimes of the clock align with those of Big Ben in London, England, yet another connection with this town’s British history.
Visit or Stay at the Candacraig (now the Thiri Myaing Hotel)
Fans of architecture should check out the Candacraig, a colonial mansion built in 1904 as a guesthouse for staff of the Bombay Burmah Trading Corporation. The well-maintained hotel, now owned and operated by the government, was featured in the legendary travel writer Paul Theroux’s The Great Railway Bazaar: By Train Through Asia, and provides an excellent glimpse into traditional colonial life. Other similar colonial houses made into government-run hotels are The Croxton and Craddock Court.
Because Pyin Oo Lwin was the military center of the British Indian Army, it has a large Indian and Nepalese population and houses a large Shiva Temple. Dedicated to the Hindu God of Shiva, this temple is located in the center of the town and is a main place of worship for many of local people.
Chan Tak Buddhist Temple
With a strong Yunnanese Chinese population due to an influx of immigration, Pyin Oo Lwin has a large Buddhist Temple where many local people worship. This colorful structure, built by the Yunnanese people, provides a nice location for a walk just south of the town and shows another outside influence in the small yet diverse town.
A good half-day hike – or a short drive – from Pyin Oo Lwin, visitors will find the Anisakan Falls, a beautiful natural wonder made even more magnificent by the small, gold Buddhist Temple located at the base. A 45-minute walk from nearby Anisakan village, the falls also feature a hiking trail going up alongside them, giving visitors an incredible view from the top and also of the surrounding forested areas.
Pyin Oo Lwin Market
As Pyin Oo Lwin is a scenic mountain town, visitors should be sure to spend some time walking its streets, soaking up all the sites as well as the atmosphere. Worth a visit is the Pyin Oo Lwin Market, located in the center of town: many local products, including wine, strawberry jam, and coffee are sold at the market, as well as woolen clothing and other local goods and crafts.
Discover the history, industry, and beautiful nature of Central Myanmar (Burma) on this exciting six-day adventure. You’ll visit a colonial outpost in Pyin Oo Lwin, a local gem mining area, and spend a few days cruising down the Ayeyarwady river to enjoy encounters with its eponymous dolphins.
The Shan State is yours to discover: from a historic rail ride to Hsipaw to the traditional Palaung villages, this six-day adventure will allow you to experience life in the rural hills of the Shan State, where traditional villages are full of life, culture and colour. Get your trekking shoes ready!
Trace Myanmar’s ancient trade route, making your way from Mandalay to Hsipaw, on this 4-day luxury journey. You’ll tour a charming town by antique horsedrawn cart, take a train over the colossal Gokteik Viaduct, shop in the early morning at a unique market, and watch the sunset from Nine Buddha Hill.
Guests of the Golden Butterfly Hotel can relax in stunning surroundings whilst enjoying a prime location for sightseeing in the local area. Situated amongst 148 acres of Burmese countryside, with the city of Mogok and the Three Pagodas village nearby, it’s the perfect country escape with modern amenities. The hotel’s 25 charming wooden bungalows are spacious and light, with cozy decor and mod cons including satellite television, a mini-bar and free Wi-Fi. The ensuite bathroom is stocked with towels and toiletries and features a hot shower. Guests can take advantage of the delicious complimentary breakfast served in the hotel restaurant or relax with room service available 24 hours a day. The Ruby restaurant also serves lunch and dinner daily, and diners can enjoy sweeping views of the local area through its large picture windows. Golden Butterfly also boasts an outdoor pool, around which guests can lounge on the sundeck, taking refreshing dips from time to time, with the forest as a gorgeous natural backdrop. After a day spent swimming or exploring the local area, guests may wish to enjoy a little musical entertainment in the Ruby Bar, serving up fresh juices and local beers.
A beautiful colonial-style red and white lodge positioned atop a hill, this renovated hill station is a quaint retreat. The renovated series of lodges are nestled in among the trees. Less than 70 km from Mandalay, Pyin Oo Lwin is a charming town in the Shan Highlands, filled with colonial architecture, pine trees, silver oaks and refreshing eucalyptus plants. The highlands are also Myanmar’s principle fresh fruit and vegetable source. At the lodge, you can choose from 15 stylish rooms. The lodge’s restaurant serves savory Chinese cuisine as well as local favorites. Resting 3,605 feet above sea level, the lodge is truly a quiet retreat in Myanmar’s natural beauty.