This town was made famous as the summer capital of the British to escape the the heat of Rangoon and Mandalay as it lies over 1000 metres above sea level. The route from Mandalay is just under 50kms long, over goods roads which rise steeply, and many make a day trip from the old royal capital, while others make it a base to travel further on, possibly by slow train over the Goteik Viaduct towards the old Shan capital of the Shan saopha of Hsi-paw.
When the British were advancing on Mandalay during the 3rd Anglo Burmese war in 1885, there was a plan for King Thibaw to escape to Pyin oo Lwin or Shwebo, but he decided to stay in his palace.
The creation of a hill station
The original small Shan village was transformed initially a military outpost in 1896, named MayMyo ( May’s Town ) after the commanding officer 0f the Bengal Regiment, Colonel May, and when Burmese resistance stopped a few years after the fall of Mandalay, a hill station was built.
The Japanese arrive
The British military and colonial authorities joined the permanent population every summer, and even after the war large numbers of Anglo-Indians. Indians and Gurkhas could be found. Then the Japanese arrived in 1942 their 15th Army made Maymyo their headquarters, and imported a complete Japanese brothel, together with it’s Japanese management to service the army’s officers. The Japanese also imprisoned many of the population for sympathising with the British.
Go to Goteik
If you have time you should travel to see the Goteik Viaduct, built in 1900 with material supplied from the United States.