The town of Pyin Oo Lwin (also spelled Pyin U Lwin) is a pleasant hill town popular for Myanmar's visitors from major cities to rest during summers and for foreign travelers to drop by during winters. Around 65 kilometers east of Mandalay, Pyin Oo Lwin is situated in the Shan Highland, at an elevation of 1070 meters above the average sea level.
The town was discovered by British colony at the very end of the Third Burmese War and called Maymyo – meaning May’s Town, after the name of a commander. Thanks to the town’s comfortable and cool climate even in hot season – its unique trait that no other regions in Burma can possess, Maymyo quickly became British Government’s summer residence. When Burma regained control over its administration, the town’s name was changed into Pyin Oo Lwin as we know today.
Pyin Oo Lwin is known as Myanmar’s center of sericulture, medicinal plants researching, vegetable and flower production, and coffee growing. Main businesses of the area are sweater knitting, cow rearing, strawberry and pineapple orchards, flower and vegetable gardens, and coffee plantations. As a result, markets in Pyin Oo Lwin are filled with shops selling knitted sweaters, strawberry jams, coffee, wine, and different kinds of fresh greens and fruits.
Coming to this dreamy town, you will be amazed by the stunningly beauty of chrysanthemum, gladiolus and aster as these are Pyin Oo Lwin’s key flowers which are intensively grown and widely exported throughout Myanmar in any time of the year. Together with the alluring landscape and pleasurable weather, lots of old buildings in Edwardian style from British colonial government still remains at present, making the town an attractive destination. To get around the city, you can walk, rent a bicycle or motorbike at your hotel, or call a motorcycle taxi. Also, you can hide gharry – a type of cab drawn by horse – to grab a sense of traveling around Pyin Oo Lwin at its old days.
About 1.5 kilometers north of Pyin Oo Lwin is National Kandawgyi Gardens, the town’s most famous attraction. Originally built in 1915 under the name Maymyo Botanical Gardens, this place currently owns a diverse and copious collection of flora. Highlights of the complex are rose and orchid gardens, along with a stupa (a semi-hemispherical structure commonly seen in Myanmar) in the middle of a pond.
On the town’s main intersection is Purcell Tower whose clock is said to be a replica of Big Ben’s chimes. On the road behind Purcell Tower, there is Shiva Temple, a Hindu temple worshipping Lord Shiva. South of the town, Chinese Temple is a large and colorful temple constructed by immigrants from Yunan, China. These are attractions that you cannot miss when visiting Pyin Oo Lwin. Plus, it is worth a try to have a sip of grape wine at local restaurants or a cup of espresso at a shop named Golden Triangle Cafe & Bakery.