Highland Flower City of Pyin Oo Lwin
Located on a lush plateau 65 kilometers east of Mandalay, the highland flower city of Pyin Oo Lwin sits far above the dust of Central Myanmar. With its altitude of 1070 meters, the town is renowned for its cool climate, even during the hot season. It is founded by British in 1896 as a summer retreat for British ruling class to escape the heat of Yangon and Mandalay. The town is originally named ‘Maymyo’ or ‘May Town’, after Colonel James May, a British officer of the 5th Bengal Infantry, stationed there in 1886. After the construction of the railway from Mandaly, Maymyo became the summer capital during the British colonial administration, a role until the end of British rule in 1948.
Pyin Oo Lwin has 5 names and all are well-known: Pyin Oo Lwin, Maymyo, Taung Lay Khar (‘Hillside Stairs’), Taung Sa Kan (‘Hill Station’), and Pan Myo Taw (‘City of flowers’). The name was changed after the British departed.
A visit in Pyin Oo Lwin will take you back a few decades. It retains much of the charm of its colonial heyday, including many picturesque wooden buildings, colonial mansions and Christian churches, and an impressive botanical garden. The surrounding area offers plenty to explore.
The mild climate makes the area perfect for the cultivation of flowers, fruit and vegetables. Pyin Oo Lwin has become famous for its fruit, jams and fruit wines.
The National Kandawgyi Garden, Pyin Oo Lwin’s major tourist attraction, was first found in 1915 by a British botanist, Alex Roger. It is modeled after Kew Garden of England. The original site of 30 acres was modeled after Kew Gardens of England. In 1924 the site was declared as a Government Forest Reserve. In 2000, the garden was upgraded to be a recreation garden and renamed as “Kandawgyi National Gardens”, with a total of 240 acres, of which 170 acres of land and 70 acres of water. It has now a great landscaping and scenic view.
The gardens are home to a wide variety of colorful flora including various species of orchids, dahlia gardens, rose gardens, many exotic fruits and shady trees. Wildlife includes gibbons, takins and goat-antelopes. There are three museums: the fossil museum, the petrified wood museum, and the butterfly museum.
From Nan Myint, a large watch tower, you will have an impressive 360 degree vista of the park, the town and the surrounding area.
The town itself does retain a number of characteristic examples of 19th century country houses having a lot of charm. Colonial houses have been turned into schools, government buildings or hotels. Most of them are situated at the south end of the circular road. The most famous houses are The Candacraig Hotel, the Governor’s House, the Nan Myaing Hotel (Craddock Court), the Gandamar Myaing Hotel (The Croxtan), and All Saints Church, an Anglican church.
Anisakan Fall (Dattawgyaik Waterfall) is the most impressive three-step waterfall in this area. Its last stage splashes into a pool beside a mall pagoda. The sound of falling water and the touch of cool water will wipe away your tiredness.
Located about 8 kilometers from the town, Pwe Kauk Falls (also called Hampshire Falls) is a series of short, wide waterfalls where many people often swim or play. It is also a very pleasant picnic spot. You will be stunned by its natural beauty and breathtaking scenery. There are plenty of attractions along the river.