Pyin Oo Lwin is a scenic hill town in Mandalay region in Myanmar. Many Burmese people adore Pyin Oo Lwin for its cool weather and they have nicknamed Pyin Oo Lwin “Flower City” from the scores of yellow flowers that line the roads.
How to get to Pyin Oo Lwin from Mandalay?
Train: There is one train per day from Mandalay to Pyin Oo Lwin and vice versa. The train departs from Mandalay at 4am and arrives at Pyin Oo Lwin at around 8am. This is the cheaper option, it costs US$7-10 per person.
Taxi/Rented Car: While this is a more expensive option, it is also more time-efficient. We rented a car for S$40, which equates to around S$20 per person. According to locals, the taxi fare is around the same price.
When is the best time to visit Pyin Oo Lwin?
The best time to visit Pyin Oo Lwin is between December and February, when the average temperature is around 23-27 degree celcius. There is a very low chance of rain throughout the year in Pyin Oo Lwin.
After my Myanmar colleague, Su, told me about Pyin Oo Lwin, I became very interested in this garden city. The driver who drove me from the bus terminal to Thiri Thitsar Hotel also provided car hire service. After discussing with Su, we engaged the same driver for the trip to Pyin Oo Lwin. These were the 7 places we visited in Pyin Oo Lwin:
Dat Taw Gyint Waterfall
Our first stop was Dat Taw Gyaint Waterfall and we paid an entrance fee of K1000 each. According to Google, Dat Taw Gyaint Waterfall was supposed to be a massive waterfall of nearly 400-feet (122 meters). As we were a little tight on schedule, our driver advised us not to trek to the viewing platform which could take 1-2 hours to reach from the carpark. We could only see a silver stream of the waterfall from where we were standing. There was a small garden in front of Dat Taw Gyaint Waterfall Resort next to the carpark. There were many Instagram-worthy photography spots there, including a colorful windmill.
HTOO Orange Farm
Our next stop was HTOO Orange Farm which produced organic oranges and coffee beans. The entrance fee was K2000 per person. A lady in a bamboo hut gave us a small rattan bag and a straw hat each. A blue truck drove us to the designated orange-picking area. The truck ride was bumpy that we were literally bouncing up and down. We took many photographs and we loaded our rattan bag with as many oranges as we could pick. The blue truck brought us back to the entrance. We returned our straw hats and we brought our oranges to a lady in another bamboo hut. She weighed the oranges and I paid K5000 for the oranges. The oranges were not as juicy as I imagined, but at least they were organic.
Our entrance ticket entitled us each to a cup of free coffee at the farm restaurant. It was such a lovely cup of coffee, even a non-coffee drinker like myself liked it very much.
Pwe Kauk Waterfalls
Our third stop was Pwe Kauk or B.E Waterfalls, which was also known as Hampshire Falls during colonial days. It was a popular picnic spot in Pyin Oo Lwin and we saw many families enjoying themselves there.
Our fourth stop was December Garden. It’s a small flower park with a mini zoo and a small waterfall. We had lunch at a restaurant by the same name where we tried their homemade fried yogurt. It was unlike anything we have ever tried but we loved it.
Tian Ran Temple (Chinese Vegetarian Temple)
Our fifth stop was a Buddhist temple called Tian Ran Temple. We had lots of fun taking pictures with the pagoda, “Journey to the West” characters and old colonial house at the back of the temple. There was a shop at the entrance of the temple that rents out traditional Chinese costumes for photography. I would have loved to do that but we didn’t have enough time.
Tian Ran Temple also runs a well-known restaurant called Tian Ran Vegetarian Restaurant and Cafe. As we were still full from our lunch at December Garden, we did not have a meal there.
We had some extra time on our hands so our driver asked us if we would like to visit the Governor’s House. It sounded interesting, so we decided to go and take a look.
The Governer’s House is a stately colonial building refurnished to illustrate how the British used to live during colonial days. We took many photographs in the handsome rooms. The wax figurines looked so life-like that they looked a little scary. The entrance fee is K4000 for locals and US$5 for foreigners, inclusive of a cup of tea, coffee or soft drink.
National Kandawgyi Gardens
Our last stop was the National Kandawgyi Gardens which was a large 240-acres botanical garden located in the Alpine town about 1.5km south of Pyin Oo Lwin. The National Kandawgyi Gardens was founded by Alex Roger and Lady Cuffe in 1915 and it was modelled after the Kew Gardens of England. The National Kandawgyi Gardens houses many species of flora, including orchids, dahlia, roses and exotic fruits. These are also three museums in the Gardens – Fossils Museum, Petrified Wood Museum and Butterfly Museum. We really wanted to visit the Orchid Garden but we lost our way in the huge garden. It was nearing dusk and we did not want to risk getting lost in the park so we gave up on it.
Due to time constraint, we were not able to visit all the attractions in Pyin Oo Lwin. The places we did not manage to visit were Peik Chin Myaung Cave, Pyin Chit Pagoda, Tine Yin That Village and Myoma Market & Watch Tower.
My Myanmar colleague, Su, and I both loved the cooling weather of Pyin Oo Lwin. There were lots of interesting places to visit and we loved the home-made foods there. Pyin Oo Lwin is the perfect place for a one-day tour from Mandalay.