Our little getaway from the stifling cities, Pyin Oo Lwin was in fact used the same way during British colonial times, for the British to escape the heat of Mandalay, and use it as a summer capital. British Captain May established Pyin Oo Lwin as a colonial Hill station, and it was originally called Maymyo for him (myo means town).
Our train journey to reach the town included a very famous stretch of railway – the ‘Goteik Viaduct’. This is a very impressive feat of engineering which started in 1899 and finished in the following year. It’s the highest bridge in Myanmar, and was quite a sight to behold.
Or accommodation in Pyin Oo Lwin was brilliantly unique, it was in one of the old colonial buildings which are scattered throughout the town – specifically, the old Nann Myaing Hotel.
The houses looked like they belonged in the English countryside, and we even had our very own drawing room in our room! How quaint!
We took a leisurely afternoon cycling around the town, spotting many old colonial buildings along the way.
We also found a church called ‘All Saints church’ which had some interesting references to WW2. There was a plaque which gave reference to the Japanese occupation which lasted three years, and another plaque which informed us of regiments who had been stationed in the town at some point during the war.
Purcell Tower marks the centre of the town, and was built in 1936. It’s like a mini Big Ben!
We also visited the National Kandawgyi Gardens, which were founded in 1915. Interestingly Lady Cuffe, who was a famous botanist from Kew Botanical Gardens, assisted with it’s design. All these British links!
It was a lovely park to wonder through – peaceful, plenty of fresh air, clean and healthy looking water (a first for Myanmar so far), and lots of birds and butterflies.
There was a walk through aviary which was very well maintained, and an elevated walkway through a part of the forest. We even saw a couple of deer having a rut.
We attracted alot of attention again, getting stopped for lots of photos – we really should start charging as we’d make a fortune!
We have both enjoyed some ‘down time’ as we have been feeling a little run down of late. This travelling malarkey is knackering!