What to see in Pyin Oo Lwin

Be cool - stay overnight in Pyin Oo Lwin and wake refreshed!

 

Getting around - taxis, gharries and bicycles  Trekking  Pagodas   Mosques   Churches  Markets  Town Map

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Pyin Oo Lwin offers the visitor more than historical and cultural observations.  It is a living town of interest and great beauty, which also has a central place in the history of both colonial and modern Myanmar.  Most places of interest can be reached on foot or by bicycle, though the Dat Daw Chaing waterfall, the fantastic Paik Chinmyaung caves at Wet Wun (spelled Wet Win in some of the colonial books about the area, and the administrative border between Mandalay Division and the Shan States), and the Pagoda of the Reluctant Buddha are best visited by taxi.  An excellent 18 hole golf club welcomes visitors from overseas ($15 inclusive of caddies and gear).  The Practice Range was formerly the Polo Ground.

On foot and by bicycle.

The Kandawgyi National Botanical Gardens are a 30 minutes' walk from most hotels.  Well signposted, this 437 acre (including 70 acres of lakes) beauty spot contains countless specimens of Myanmar's rich natural resources:  forestland (pines, bamboo, teak and other trees), open parkland with free roaming peacocks, swans, ducks, formal gardens full of temperate flowers in season, orchids, roses.  The Gardens were first developed by Mr Alex Rodger, the Forest Research Officer of the time, and Lady Cuffe, a botanist from Kew Botanical Gardens, London.  They were declared a State-recognized Garden in 1917.  By 1942 it contained 178 species of orchids.  Today it has almost 600 species of local and foreign trees, and the largest orchid collection in Myanmar.  There are also a walk-in aviary and an aerial walkway, as well as a lookout tower (with elevator).  Not to be missed!  Entrance fee for foreigners: 4,000 kyats.  Buggy hire for a 20 minute tour: 8,000 kyats. On your way here you should stop in at the Pyin Oo Lwin Nursery - one of the most thriving flower, seeds and orchid centres in Myanmar.  A 50 acre site beside the Kandawgyi National Gardens has been developed as a National Landmarks Garden, with replicas of well known landmarks (both buildings and natural views) from each State.  The only accessible swimming pool in Pyin Oo Lwin is adjacent to the Club House of the National Gardens.

A walk (or ride) round Circular Road under the flowering jacaranda and flamboyant trees (flowering May-June) allows a glimpse of how present day living is protecting the 100 year old residential area.  Colonial houses (some over a hundred years old) peer out through massive trees and set in colonial-sized gardens of 2 acres or more; more modern houses (some very beautiful, some not so) interleaf with the old schools, all with grand historical ties.  And all along, the grass verges, overshadowing trees and red hibiscus and poinsettia plants give a delicious sense of timelessness.  The impressive reconstruction of the colonial Governor's House can be viewed (at least from the outside) by walking up the lane opposite All Saints' Church main entrance.

A number of Christian churches, mainly built in the first one or two decades of the twentieth century, as well as Muslim mosques and Hindu temples, testify to the cultural and peaceful diversity of the town.  All are open to visitors.

The town centre contains all the retail outlets for this busy and growing town.  Of interest to the visitor there are curio shops, an art gallery, a busy central market, coffee and tea shops in abundance, cinemas showing Myanmar and Hindi films, pharmacies, general grocery shops (try the local sweets, jam, honey, yoghurt - all rich and delicious!), second hand bookshops.  For more details about shopping, click here.  The 1936 Purcell Tower marks the centre of town and is a duplicate of the Penang (Malaysia) Tower.(top)

Further afield, by taxi or motorbike taxi

Anisakahn.  This country town is about 6 miles on the Mandalay side.  The area round about is intensively cultivated with flowers (chiefly chrysanthemum and gladioli), vegetables, strawberries and pineapples.  The new Anisakahn Airport is here, and Myanmar's Silicon Valley is nearby at Yatanarpon.  The spectacular Dat Daw Chaing Waterfall is here (best views from the bottom, but you need to be fit - time to the bottom about 45 minutes, and about 90 minutes up - the falls empty into a very steep and deep ravine).  It's possible to swim in the rock pools during the rainy seasons.  At the very lip of the gorge is the newly renovated Chan Myay Yeiktha Meditation Centre which caters for foreigners.  Next door to this Centre is the Dat Daw Chaing Waterfall Resort (see two top pictures at left).  The view from here to Mandalay is spectacular.

Pyin Oo Lwin - Lashio Road.  A succession of small villages leads to the B.E. Falls on the left, and the Pagoda of the Reluctant Buddha on the right.  Both are worth visiting.  About 10 miles further on towards Lashio are the Paik Chin Myaung caves at Wet Wun.  A good tarmac road leads to the cave mouth.  Inside, a gushing stream twists and turns around the countless images and mini-pagodas that devout Buddhists have created.  Paddling in the stream outside is one of the pleasures of life!  A spectacular waterfall cascades down the cliffs near the caves.  Further on is the Gokteik Viaduct.  Built by the Pennsylvania Steel Company between February and December of 1900.   Considered an engineering marvel in it's time, for many years the 700m span was the second highest in the world.  The photo below was taken in the 1920s.

To the north lie the glorious valleys where some of the best oranges grow.  A guide is best (see Trekking).  Hundreds of rural wooden farmhouses lie hidden in the hollows of these valleys, and a warm welcome will be given to visitors who make this idyllic journey.

Making the best use of your time.

Don't try to make Pyin Oo Lwin a one day excursion!  Travel to Pyin Oo Lwin from Mandalay early in the morning, to catch the best views as you climb the 3000 foot escarpment.  Check into your hotel, and browse around the town and market.  If it's hot in the afternoon, take a taxi to the BE Falls, Pagoda and caves.  The Botanical Gardens are at their freshest early in the morning or in the evening.  Visit the churches, mosques and temples, and try walking along Circular Road on your second day, before going on to Lashio or returning to Mandalay.  Better still, stay two nights and just enjoy the cool climate and clean fresh air!  Click here to check out places to eat and places to stay. (top)