The laureate of the British Empire Rudyard Kipling played a key role in cultivating Mandalay’s reputation as an Eastern paradise. Kipling famously only ever visited Yangon (Rangoon) but perhaps he knew too that while Rangoon’s foundations are British, Mandalay is an ostensibly Burmese place.
“There are those who travel but never really arrive. Those who visit a place but never know the people. Travel is so much more when you get closer to life and how it is lived.” With Myanmar Shalom Travels you will be able to experience an authentic experience of Myanmar.
The British began the railway in 1866 in lower Burma and after the third Anglo-Burmese war extended it into Mandalay in 1889. As the nineteenth century gave way to the twentieth, the iron road inched its way northeast aimed at connecting Mandalay with Lashio in Shan State.
In 1886, following the exile from Mandalay of King Theebaw and the subsequent British took over Mandalay region. Pyin Oo Lwin (current name) was founded as the British Hill Station “Maymyo”. The name Maymyo, translating as ‘May Town’, came from Colonel May of the 5th Bengal Regiment who in 1866 established the town as a holiday location for British Army officers based in Mandalay. Officially remain in Mandalay Division but geographically 1,000 meters above sea level in the Shan Highlands and the cool air informs a different world from the city from Mandalay.
Made in England in 1934 to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of the reign of King George V, centrally located Purcell Tower offers a good point of orientation of this town. Surrounding the clock tower there are the diverse hallmarks of the religious monuments including Shiva and Krishna temples, a Cantonese assembly hall and Chinese Buddhist temple. English-style country manors are scattered throughout Pyin Oo Lwin. Many of these gorgeous abodes are, alas, inhabited by elite families and are closed to the public.
South of town which is popular with Mandalay’s weekend set, is National Kandawgyi Park, an enormous botanical garden that is also rooted in the colonial-era having been laid when Sir Harcourt Butler was governor in 1915.
The gardens are said to be modelled on the Royal Botanic Gardens and there are certainly some quintessentially British qualities to the place: swans on the lake, large lawn areas ripe for picnicking, gorgeous flower patches.
There are many beautiful sites around Maymyo and many visitors embark upon one of the infamous Burma railway tours, taking the Mandalay-Lashio train into Shan State over the Gokteik Viaduct to go trekking in Hsipaw