Pyin Oo Lwin: Flower City or City with remnants of Colonial Era
Spring, summer, autumn and winter seasons are the weather of Western Countries and East Asia Countries, but its difficult to find such weather in South East Asian Countries where most of the time it is really hot. There is a secret place in Myanmar to avoid such an extreme heat of summer and enjoy the beautiful weather with nice people. I think some of you already knew about this town and some of you might not even know the existence of this town.
It is full of memories from the colonial era, since it had been a British Military Cantonment. The name of this town used to be well known as May Myo. (May’s Town) but was recently changed to Pyin Oo Lwin. The name May Myo. might have been dedicated to Colonel May who stationed in this town between 1886 and 1887 before British army marched to Shan State. It is located in Mandalay Division, which is situated in the central part of Myanmar. Its beauty, its cool weather and the scent of pine trees attracted many people to May Myo. So, when you go to May Myo. nowadays, you can see many colonial style houses with garden that are over 100 years old and the Purcell clock tower (1936) in the center of the town, which is a reproduction from a tower in Penang, Malaysia.
So why don’t you spend a few days in such a nice beautiful town full of history, when you are in Myanmar?
In summer, most part of the country is very hot and even hotter in later years because of the weather changes. Some people from Yangon and Mandalay go to this town to take a rest from summer heat and humidity, as it is not so far from Yangon and easily accessible by flight and car. It is just a one-hour drive from Mandalay and you can go there by highway bus or by taxi. The hotels in this town are very unique; you will see colonial style hotels and guesthouses with beautiful garden. For me it’s one of the best places in Myanmar to have a vacation in summer and it is also very pleasant in winter when you can enjoy a foggy town full of pine trees and eucalyptus. If you are in Pyin Oo Lwin, don’t forget to pay a visit at FEEL Restaurant near Kan Daw Gyi National Garden, which is famous for it’s beautiful decoration and delicious local food, especially Shan Food, and to Woodland Restaurant which can serve different varieties of western food.
One of the unique things to do there is riding a coach with two ponies, which have been used since British time, and became the symbol of this town. I highly recommend you to hire one coach, wander around the city and enjoy the beautiful scene with hundred years old houses and the citys peacefulness. If you are nature and flowers lover, you would surely like Kan Daw Gyi National Garden, which is a 437 acres wide National Park and that is famous for its wide variety of tree species, the biggest collection of Orchid in Myanmar, and the big lake with black and white swans. This park is part of the town and is not to be missed. If you want to play golf under the pleasant weather, it’s your turn to go to May Myo. Golf Club that has 18 holes playground.
There are two waterfalls around Pyin Oo Lwin, one is called Pwe Kaut (Ani-sakhan) waterfall, and it is easily accessible by bike or by coach. It is a small waterfall and a great place for children to enjoy nature. Another one is called Dat Taw Gyaint waterfall, which is near Ani-sakan train station, and the best way to go there is by Taxi. But you need to reach the waterfall you will need to leave your car behind and to walk about one hour. So, if you like small adventures, this waterfall is for you to enjoy. For those who couldn’t go by foot, don’t worry; you still have a chance to enjoy the magnificent scene of nature with this waterfall from Dat Taw Gyaint Waterfall resort, which is built just by cuddle up on the cliff of the waterfall. You can spend one night there to enjoy panoramic scene and luxurious style resort. Next to this Dat Taw Gyaint Waterfall resort is Chan-Myay Yeik-Tha Meditation center, which can provide meditation for both local and foreigner. If you want a peaceful experience of life for a short time and want to refresh your mind and your soul, this meditation center always welcomes any kinds of people. I can even imagine how peaceful it would be to stay for a while in this meditation center.
Another place worth visiting is Paik Chin Myaung Cave also called Wet Wun cave, which is a natural cave and with a pagoda built inside the cave. You can go there by taxi, as it is located at the border with Shan State. I almost forgot to say that this town is also famous for its strawberry fields, coffee fields and local wine. I believe you might fall in love with its beautiful nature.
After going around in this beautiful town, you might want to extend your trip to other destination. You could for example plan to go to upper Myanmar (Northern Shan State), and if you do, you shoud definitely go there by train as you can admire the thrilling scene of the historic Gok Teik Bridge more than a hundred meters above the canyon, which is only one and half hour from Ani-Sakhan Station and on the way to Northern Shan State.
Hope you will have a peaceful trip that will calm your mind and soul.
Article written by Khin Thet Swe, Mingalapar’s Forum writer