Kandawgyi Lake and Garden
The first place you must visit is the Kandawgyi Lake and the Botanical Garden (the lake is inside the garden). This garden is reputed to be the most beautiful garden in Myanmar. Currently renovated to an international standard, the garden was renamed National Kandawgyi Garden, and run by the Woodlands Group of Singapore. The garden was first started by British botanist Mr. Roger in 1915 who collected local plants and trees and cultivated them on a 30 acre land at the present Kandawgyi Garden. In 1919, the government gave official sanction to the garden with 170 acres of land and 70 acres of water. The Maymyo (Pyinoolwin) Botanical Garden was laid out in the design of Kew Gardens in England. In 1920, the garden was declared a forest reserved and placed under the department of forestry. 4840 trees, mostly pine trees, were planted in the garden, together with 575 different floral species. The Maymyo Botanical Garden (National Kandawgyi Garden) currently features the rich life of 482 local and foreign trees (including ginkgo which is extinct elsewhere) and more than 250 species of orchids around Myanmar. There is also a ten storey watch tower which you can climb up on foot or by elevator. There is a small entrance fee for the garden as well as the tower.
Built by Yunnan immigrants, this Chinese temple is one of the places that are worth visiting in Maymyo (Pyinoolwin). Built in a typical Chinese architecture and arts, this temple is also home to an orphanage and nursing home. Shoe-friendly ground includes a Chinese style six-storey tower. You can ask the prediction of your future at the monk at this temple for a small donation. Some Chinese script students study calligrapher here.
This is the hall mark of Maymyo (Pyinoolwin). The Purcell Tower is located in the center of Maymyo (Pyinoolwin) on Mandalay – Lashio Road. You will never miss this tower as it is the first prominent structure you will see when you arrive to Maymyo. The history of the tower is a mystery. One story is that Queen Victoria give this tower to the people of Maymyo as a present, who offered the same identical tower to Cape Town, South Africa. Another story is that an Armenian trader Mr. Purcell paid for the cost of the construction of the tower in 1934. Whatever the origin of the tower, it still chimes the tune of the Big Ben, playing 16 notes before the hour.
To see the local way of life, head to the central market. Here, household wares, farming utensils, dried food, plastic items and local products are on displayed. You will also see the daily life of local people of Maymyo (Pyinoolwin). You might also be able to buy some souvenirs but the choices are limited. These include colorful sweaters, strawberry and grape wines (nice to try but not up to the standard of quality wines from Europe), strawberry jam and coffee.Try some Shan food here at the market.
Editor’s Note: Many of the above information has been obtained from our reference book Lonely Planet Guide to Myanmar (Burma). This is a very good guide book on Myanmar, and essential book that you must bring on your trip to Myanmar. The book can be obtained from Amazon store.