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Pyin Oo Lwin and Train to Hsipaw

Pyin Oo Lwin was former British Hill Station known as Maymyo.
Escape the heat of Mandalay, ride on horsecarts, and enjoy the beautiful botanical gardens.

Located on the edge of the Shan plateau at 1070m, less than 2 hours drive from Mandalay – or a slow 4 hour train ride. The British found Pwin Oo Lwin a pleasant refuge and they named the place Maymyo after British Colonel May. ( meaning May’s town)

Today, Pwin Oo Lwin or Maymyo is it also often still called maintains its multicultural color and colonial legacy charm. There is plenty to see slowing down to a leisurely pace. The Purcell Tower built in 1936, a duplicate of the tower in Penang, Malaysia, marks the center of town.

There are also  a number of art galleries , churches, pagodas, Hindu temples and Muslim mosques.
See more on:

Markets, street food and tea shops. Grocery stores offer local and Indian sweets and homemade jams.

Some of the old mansions have been converted to hotels.  The old Candacraig was once a British Officer’s Club and also served as a WW II hospital. Renovations may finally rid the place of ghosts thought to be haunting the place.  Paul Theroux writes about The Candacraig in The Great Railway Bazaar.

For more interesting orientation, reading:

The Royal Parkview Hotel is a delightful, well managed oasis:


Train from Pyin Oo Lwin to Hsipaw:

via the famous Gok Hteik Viaduct built by the Americans for the British in 1901- another timeless journey!

The train originates in Mandalay but takes 4 hours to reach Pwin Oo Lwin.. so best drive this sector in just 1.5 hours, overnight in Pwin Oo Lwin and enjoy the surroundings.
Then travel by train from Pwin Oo Lwin to Hsipaw- approx 7 hours.
From Hsipaw the train continues onward to its end stop Lashio where the historic Burma Road takes over to the China border.


Hsipaw was home to one of the last Saophas of Shan State, Sao Kya Seng. He married Austrian Inge Sargent who became his princess in the 1950’s Her story and the tragic disappearance of Sao Kya Seng is written in Inge Sargent’s book: Twilight over Burma.

The house continues to be looked after by the niece of Sao Kya Seng and hopefully this part of history can be preserved.

A film has been done by an Austrian producer and hopefully can be seen soon.  It was actually filmed in Chiang Mai.  Here is a short trailer:

Tai House Resort
is a very charming place to stay in Hsipaw.

They also arrange local treks with well trained local guides supporting the
Shan Youth Network.
or find it on

Click HERE for more on a Journey to Hsipaw by Train



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– Yangon
Mandalay and Royal Cities
River Journeys

Inle Lake and Pindaya and Kalaw
Green Hill Valley Elephant Camp near Kalaw
Getting to Myanmar and within by air and overland
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