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Pyin Oo Lwin (Maymyo)

Pyin Oo Lwin (Maymyo)

Pyin Oo Lwin is an old British hill town located about 67 km (42 mi) east of Mandalay, in the Shan Highlands. This scenic town was also once known as Maymyo, which translates to ‘May’s Town’ in Burmese. “May” is referring to Colonel May of the 5th Bengal Infantry who had a hand in designing the town. Even though its altitude is a modest 1,070 m (3510 ft), it’s still considered a “hill station,” following the colonial practice of naming places of summer residence.

Still known as Maymyo to the locals, the summer villas and bungalows that had formally housed British officers are now inhabited by affluent locals. During the reign of the military government, the officials chose to officially name the city Pyin Oo Lwin or Pyin U Lwin.


This holiday town started as a military outpost next to a small Shan village along the Lashio-Mandalay trail. Sitting between Nawnghkio and Mandalay, the military outpost was declared a town in 1896. After experiencing the year-long cool climate, the town became a hill station and the summer destination for British Burma. The government and military officials would come to Maymyo during the hot season of Rangoon (Yangon) to escape the stifling heat and humidity.

The area has had a high concentration of the Anglo-Burmese population ever since British rule, but it has fluctuated over the years. When the Japanese occupied the area, they incarcerated much of the Anglo-Burmese population because of fear of their loyalty to the nearby British. Today it still has one of the largest populations of Anglo-Burmese in the country.
Destinations in Pyin Oo Lwin (Maymyo)

Gokteik Viaduct Railway Bridge

By taking the train from Pyin Oo Lwin to Lashio, travelers get to experience one of the most spectacular train rides in all Asia. The ride is special experience because of the Gokteik Viaduct railway bridge that spans across the 300m deep Gokteik Gorge. It’s the highest bridge in all Myanmar. Completed in 1901, the steel construction was designed by the Pennsylvania Steel Company from the United States. The steel was also shipped from the United States.
Kandawgyi Botanical Gardens
Modeled after the Kew Gardens in England, the Kandawgyi Botanical Gardens covers over 400 acres of land and contains an amazing variety of indigenous plants and foreign species. Although forty-two of its acres are a protected forest area, the gardens are available for the public to walk among the beautifully manicured gardens and colorful flower beds. The Botanical Gardens also has three museums: the Petrified Wood Museum, the Butterfly Museum, and the Fossils Museum.

Destinations in Pyin Oo Lwin (Maymyo)

Gokteik Rail Bridge adventure

A train ride from Pyin Oo Lwin to Nau Pein is one of the most exciting train rides in Asia.

Gokteik Viaduct railway bridge

The Gokteik Viaduct is the highest and most dramatic bridge in Myanmar, built with in tandem with the railway during the British colonial time. Completed in 1901, the steel frame was designed by the famous Pennsylvania Steel Company of the US and materials shipped from overseas.

Kandawgyi Botanical Gardens

Located in the heart of Pyin Oo Lwin is the Kandawgyi Botanical Gardens, extending over 40 acres of land. The perfectly manicured gardens with their colorful flower beds are a popular weekend destination for local visitors from Mandalay and beyond.