Once the summer capital of the British, Pyin U Lwin retains some of the hill station look that cities like Darjeeling and Simla in India used to have in the 1960s and 1970s.
The town was renamed Maymyo after Colonal May, the commander of the post and a veteran of the Indian Mutiny. About 70 km east of Mandalay inner city, Pyin Oo Lwin has a height of over 1,000 m above sea level with cool climate, and is home to many European-style constructions, hotels and tourist attractions.
The colonial presence in the town can be traced back to the end of the 19th Century when the British arrived after capturing Mandalay at the conclusion of the Third Burmese War. During British rule, Pyin Oo Lwin was also an important educational centre with the Government English High Schools such as St. Albert's, St. Joseph's Convent, St. Mary's, St. Michael's and Colgate all based here. Maymyo was renamed to Pyin Oo Lwin in 1989 when the government abandoned colonial titles to the original Burma names before British rule.
The colonial architecture in the town Pyin Oo Lwin
The peaceful Pyin Oo Lwin is a picture perfect town with pretty little houses, blocks and roads with little traffic. Many houses that used to be a resort for British officials and soldiers coming to Myanmar still retain the English style of architecture. Crossing the main road Lashio is the symbol of Pyin Oo Lwin - the clock tower named Purcell Tower, built in the style of Big Ben Tower in London.
Purcell Tower, a clock was made in the style of Big Ben Tower
Pyin Oo Lwin is famous for Kandawgyi Gardens National Park, built in 1924. Kandawgyi Garden is an ideal place for tourists and locals to relax, breathe in the fresh air and explore the variety of flora and insects here. Nearby is the Maymyo Botanical Garden, which is 142 hectares wide with the Pew Gauk waterfall situated in the Maymyo nature reserve, suitable for an adventurous exploration. The locals might invite tourists to visit a small street with the Blue Sky Wine sign.
Kandawgyi Gardens National Park in Pyin Oo Lwin
Pwe Gauk Waterfall in the Maymyo Nature Reserve
Driving through the street you will be amazed by a lovely pink villa with pink flowers filled all over the garden. This is an ideal destination for capturing the most scenic and romantic photos at Pyin Oo Lwin. At night, there is a bustling food market offering various local dishes waiting for tourists to enjoy. Nothing feels better than sitting in the Golden Triangle Café & Bakery, enjoying a cup of strawberry smoothie, sipping each piece of jam cream cake in the chilly air of the plateau at night.
The best time to visit Pyin Oo Lwin is during the strawberry season in December and the flower festival during New Year’s Eve. Besides, the Hot Air Balloon Festival takes place in mid-November. It is similar, but smaller in scale, to the festival in Taunggyi, which takes place at the same time of year.