By Kyaw Htike Soe
Pyin Oo Lwin is a popular mountain resort and a scenic hill town in Mandalay Region and has long been a hot-season getaway for local travellers. PyinOoLwin was originally called Maymyo and was a summer retreat during British rule. It is located 3,538 feet above sea level upon the cusp of the Shan plateau and is far 42 miles from Mandalay, ancient cultural capital or the second largest city in central Myanmar. It takes over an hour to get there by car or motorbike from Mandalay.
The temperature in daytime, it is not hot, around 28 degrees, but sunshine is so strong. PyinOoLwin is home to breathtaking waterfalls, beautiful gardens and glittering pagodas, as well as many eye-catching scenes that have made it an attractive destination for both local and foreign visitors. PyinOoLwin’s colonial-era architecture still holds the key to the town’s charm and the surrounding area offers plenty to explore, including a number of wonderful waterfalls, farms and gardens. PyinOoLwin has become famous for its fresh fruits, jams and wines made from grape, dragon fruits, strawberry, lychee and pineapples. PyinOoLwin is well known for its cool weather and an abundance of seasonal flowers. PyinOoLwin is famed for strawberry fields and a number of gardening as well as is the dream of every traveler.
PyinOoLwin is renowned as one of the most beautiful hilly towns in Myanmar for its colonial style houses with large compound, pine trees, unique horse carriages. Knitted sweaters, wines, strawberry jams, and different fresh fruits are popular products in PyinOoLwin Township. The train ride from Mandalay to Hsipaw along the Mandala-Lashio Railway Road is thought to be one of the most exciting routes for the tourists. The main highlight of it is Gokteik Viaduct. The bridge was built in 1901 and is an absolute masterpiece of engineering. The facility is 97 meters high and 690 meters long. PyinOoLwin hot air ballon festival is held in November yearly but it is smaller in scale to the festival in Tauunggyi, which takes place at the same time on a grand scale. Tourists who want to take home a little taste of the region should visit the PyinOoLwin market, situated at the center of the town where they can buy locally-made food and a variety of traditional clothes.
Most of globetrotters visit significant tourist attraction spots in PyinOoLwin such as Kandawgyi National Landmarks Garden, Pwe Kauk Waterfall, Dat Taw Gyaint Waterfall and Peik Chin Myaung Cave. Tourists also come to PyinOoLwin to see colonial era ancient buildings, explore the living style of local people from nearby villages and observe agriculture and traditional handicraft industry. A total of 27,405 foreign travellers visited PyinOoLwin in 2019, said an official from the Directorate of Hotels and Tourism. The number of registered hotels, motels, and guesthouses in PyinOoLwin Township has reached 60 with a capacity of 1,542 rooms so far, according to the DHT. In addition, there are many guesthouses that are registered at the township development committee.
“I was given an opportunity to enjoy natural sceneries in PyinOoLwin. I also saw some unspoiled European-style buildings dating back more than 100 years. I was very happy with riding pony cart around PyinOoLwin. The happiest movement for me was when I observed plantations and met vendors in nearby villages,” a French woman tourist expressed her feelings. Tourists come to PyinOoLwin via Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan, NyaungU, Taunggyi, Inle Lake, and Sagaing and proceeded to the Goteik Viaduct and Hsipaw, Lashio and Kyaukme Townships in Northern Shan State by train. With the prevalence of peace and stability coupled with a variety of scenic beauties, ancient cultural heritages, temples, pagodas, icy mountains, and natural beaches, tourist arrivals to Myanmar have increased significantly when compared to previous years.
With its mix of culture, history, and undamaged natural beauty, Myanmar has quickly become one of the Asia’s top emerging tourist destinations. Myanmar has emerged in recent years as a top tourist destination in the Southeast Asian Region known for its tourism attractions. Since the country has opened its doors through reform processes in 2011, many tourists have been attracted to its diverse landscapes, rich culture and heritages. Tourism industry continues to grow in Myanmar, with the skyrocketing number of visitor arrivals to the country on the rise.