Northern Hill Towns
Pyin Oo Lwin
As the former British-era summer capital, Pyin Oo Lwin (formerly Maymyo) retains some colonial buildings and a remarkable botanical garden, the Kandawgyi Gardens. The hill town attracts many visitors from Mandalay (a two hour drive away) with its cooler climate and good restaurants.
The Gokteik Viaduct is approximately 34 miles northeast of Pyin Oo Lwin. This was the second highest railway bridge in the world when it was constructed in 1901 by contractors from the Pennsylvania Steel Company, and it bridges the Gokteik Gorge, a densely forested ravine. The bridge remains Myanmar’s longest, and trains slow to a crawl when crossing. The viaduct is a highlight of the long, slow Mandalay to Lashio train ride.
This attractive place is ideally placed for a range of easy hikes into the hills above the town, visiting fascinating Shan, Palaung and Lisu villages. Hsipaw itself is an historic, small town that was once a Shan royal city. It has its own “Little Bagan” of historic stupas.