Founded by the British in 1896, Pyin Oo Lwin (ျပင္ဦးလြင္) was originally called Maymyo (‘May-town’), after Colonel May of the 5th Bengal Infantry, and was designed as a place to escape the Mandalay heat. After the construction of the railway from Mandalay, Maymyo became the summer capital for the British colonial administration, a role it held until the end of British rule in 1948. The name was changed after the British departed, but numerous colonial mansions and churches remain, as do the descendants of the Indian and Nepali workers who came here to lay the railway line.
More recently, Pyin Oo Lwin has become famous for its fruit, jams and fruit wines. With the rise of the Myanmar version of the nouveau riche, Pyin Oo Lwin is once again a popular weekend and hot-season getaway, so get here sharpish to experience what’s left of the old charm and calm.