Other religious buildings
This is a Chinese Buddhist temple, built by immigrants from Yunnan. It has a lucky Buddha, stucco dragons, ponds, a six storey pagoda . . . anything that a Chinese temple needs lol. Next picture shows a mosque which is next to Purcell Tower, in the very city centre.
That changes a little bit from the classical Myanmar Buddhist temples!
After sunset another market occupies Zeigyo Street, the night market. There are dvd stalls and so on but most of the stalls sell food, which is cooked "sur place". There are many locals having dinner there in those “improvised restaurants” so it’s almost impossible to resist the temptation :-) I bought some of these “salty cookies” on the picture which tasted like spicy mini pizzas . . . yummy!
If you are looking for British Colonial Architecture, Multi Office Road is your place. This shady road is lined with grand colonial administrative buildings, many of them used today by schools or the government. It is like a trip back in time! Don’t miss other impressive examples of colonial mansions not far from this road : Thiri Myaing Hotel (former Candacraig Hotel), Gandamar Myaing Hotel (formerly Croxton Hotel) and Nan Myaing Hotel (formerly Craddock Court). Walking around in the south eastern area, I also found an empty house that still has some of its past grandeur. Although the iron gate was closed, I asked some locals who were taking some tea not far from it if there was someway to visit it. They opened the door for me and let me go in. It was like entering in a phantom house. It was not difficult to imagine how life was in these elegant saloons downstairs and beautiful sunny rooms upstairs.
Golden Triangle Café and Bakery
This is an unique place in all Myanmar! After 2 weeks of eggs + jam and banana for breakfast it was a pleasure to find a bakery with a long choice of teas, coffees and pastries. Organic coffee from the Shan Hills is also sold here. I really enjoyed my exotic tea and croissant, it was like a dream. This café and its nice stuff made my day lol.
This is one of the most interesting markets that I have seen in Myanmar, with different spaces for fish + meat, fruits and spices. It is a good opportunity to see a little bit of local life as well. I took a quick look very early in the morning, before 8.00 am and it was already very busy. It is opened until 5 pm
Thiri Maying Hotel
The rebaptised Candacraig Hotel, immortalised in Paul Theroux’s The Great Railway Bazaar, is the most impressive colonial building that I found in Pyin Oo Lwin. This hotel, which once hosted good British families looking for some fresh air, is today abandoned. There is a special atmosphere of “enchanted place” since the moment that you cross the main iron gate. The hotel is closed but through its windows you still can see large and warm rooms with its chimneys so it’s not difficult to imagine how life was there many years ago. When I was leaving I met a local family who have occupied few back rooms. Kindly, they let me have a look inside their new "home". I saw a big bathroom with its original bath in wood and a bedroom with a huge bed also in wood.
National Kandawgy Gardens
Created in 1915 by Alex Roger, a Forester Officer, the National Gardens feature more than 480 species of flowers, trees and shrubs. Inside, there are also a lake and a pool where people can bath. Green + shade are expensive for tourists in Myanmar: we have to pay an entrance fee + a camera fee to enter any park in the country. This money goes, of course, directly to the Governement. Having much more beautiful parks in Paris and for free, I decided not to pay.
This is a nice half day trip very easy to do from Pyin Oo Lwin. The best way to go is by taxi. Once there, you can arrange with the taxi driver to pick you up in 3-4 hours. Usually he stays there waiting for you.
There is a 45 minutes hike down to reach the falls. The path is steep and very slippery with beautiful flowers. There are few signs so at junctions, keep always to the right and avoid all the Buddha signs. The falls are very impressive, especially during the rainy season. It is not possible to take a bath, water runs very fast! But this is a fresh place to chill out for a while
Purcell tower is like a Queen Victoria’s label as she had the (nice?) habitude to send this kind of present to her colonies. You can find similar towers in places like Cape Town or the Seychelles. The tower is in the main intersection in Pyin Oo Lwin so it’s a kind of meeting place in town. You cannot miss it.
Pyin Oo Lwin is the main centre of flower and vegetable production in Myanmar and you will notice it as soon as you arrive there. Everywhere is full of colourful and beautiful flowers, some of them very exotic, which offer lots of photography opportunities.
In addition, Pyin Oo Lwin has a large research centre of indigenous medicinal plants.
A Military Town
A little later after its foundation, Maymo became the headquarters of the Indian Army, with both a large Indian population and strong Anglo-Burmese and Anglo-Indian communities, still very present in the town. This military tradition went on with the current government and nowadays Pyin Oo Lwin is home of the Defence Services Academy (DSA) and the Defence Services Institute of Technology (DSIT). The sentence “The triumphant elite of the future” written in gold letters on the red and monumental entrance of the DSA, is very impressing.
Obviously the military presence in town is very large, especially on Sundays, when military men have their day free. You cannot avoid them.
Al Jamal Mosque
This 100 year old mosque serves the high number of Afghani and Pakistani Muslims in Maymyo. I did not ask to go inside, and am not sure if it is allowed. The locals seemed very devout - Hajis with their red beards were about, taking me back to Saudi Arabia...
The Call to prayer can be heard five times a days.
- Religious Travel
Kandawgyi National Gardens
I am no expert on the finer points of gardening or parks development, or even a fan of pastoral life, but the Kandawgyi Gardens are as spectacular as many classic European gardens. They sit on the banks of a man-made lake and walking paths curve through graceful slopes of flowers and trees. Fittingly for Maymyo, they are built in the English style and reinforce the impression that you have stepped out of Asia.
Started as a botanical garden by the English, they have recently been well restored and expanded by a Chinese company that has leased the land. A tasteful pool has been added and billiard tables are to be found in the clubhouse. A minimal fee will grant you full access.
See my related travelogue for more photos
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Hiking and Walking
All Saints Church
Only one of several large, English churches in Maymyo that help to transport one back to pre-war England, it is remarkable for its enscripted cornerstone and commemorative altar. Fine stained glass windows.
The cornerstone, easily findable, carries the inscription: " A.M.D.G. And in memory of all those who have died in the service of this province. September 1912"
The understated teak wood alter is a commemorated "In memory of the Officers of the 10th Regiment Ghurkah Rifles, formerly the 1st Burma Rifles. This Sanctuary has been paved by their brother Officers." It is most sobering. I believe this must be a truly unique church.
The priest, Father Allen, speaks excellent English and will give your a tour. Evidently, there are few Christians left in Maymyo, mostly pensioners, to keep up the church. A donation would be much appreciated.
More photos at the Travelogue
- Arts and Culture
- Historical Travel