I have never heard about Candacraig even though I visited Pyin Oo Lwin very often. I have been to that place once, but I just regarded this as Thiri Myaing Hotel. This post is about my unexpected visit to Candacraig house at Pyin Oo Lwin, Burma.
In 2015, one of my colleague from Ireland visited Pyin Oo Lwin. At that time, my parents have already moved to Pyin Oo Lwin. Although she is my colleague, she is 25 years older than me. Soon after she arrived at Pyin Oo Lwin, I asked her about her plan in Pyin Oo Lwin. The only thing she wanted to do is to visit Candacraig.
So my dad and I accompanied her and looked for Candacraig. She looked really excited at that time. We are also too eager to find it, so we totally forgot to surf on google. How stupid are we?
But finding a location without using google map at that time is a really exciting experience. My dad could spot the location where a lot of colonial buildings exist.
My dad brought us to several places as he thought that it could be a Candacraig. But she recognized that those buildings are not.
We asked people on the street, we mentioned the name “Candacraig”, but no one recognized it.
But once we passed one building, she suddenly shouted that “stop..stop… Candacraig is near that building”….. She jumped out of the car, walked to the different direction of the building passed, and finally we found out a place “Thiri Myaing Hotel”.
I argued that this is not Candacraig, but she said: “Yes..it is.”.
We went inside the compound, I noticed that she is walking like a teenage girl.
Bummer started. When we got to the building, it is locked from the inside. A guy came out from the side room and he told us that it is no longer a hotel “Thiri Myaing”. And he explained that it is now under renovation to become a new hotel under the new company.
He was so nice to us explaining their plan, end date of renovation expect to allow us to enter the building. All of us requested him deeply, but he is also just a junior staff who needs to follow the order. The reason is that renovation is not started yet, so they were ordered to keep all the things un-touch. So that they were ordered to lock everything.
The only thing that my friend wanted to do is sitting between the two ladders just for a minute. But we were not allowed to enter. Lastly, she just stared that placed from outside through the glass door.
The staff guy took us and showed us around the building from the outside. There is a tennis court just beside the building. He allowed us to see the inside from different window.
At that time, my friend noticed something. It was a very pleasant smell. She asked the staff guy and he showed us where did this smell come from. It is from a tree in front of the building. My friend looked at this tree and kept in silent for nearly 5 minutes.
Then, finally, she told us her story. After she graduated (it was around 1970), she joined a volunteer group and took a trip to Myanmar as a first time overseas trip in their life.
She had sweet memories about this trip, especially at Candacraig. They had a party at the lobby of Candacraig, she had a wine sitting at the place where two ladders meet. At that time, they all experienced a smell from the tree.
When she told us about this story, her face was full of joy and happiness.
Ok, let’s summarize. It was in 2015. Two years later in 2017 (last year), I visited there again to check renovation is finished or not. It is still under maintenance. I was still not allowed to enter inside. My idea is to go inside and take a picture of the place where she wanted to sit and send to her. (At that time, she had already left Myanmar).
It is still under renovation stage till now. But I was told that visitors are allowed to explore inside the building.
History of Candacraig Hotel
It was originally, British club of Maymyo (Pyin Oo Lwin) and was built in 1904. During the colonial era, the British club was the center of activities where people would meet for drinks, party, and sport.
After independent of Myanmar, Candacraig Hotel served as a government guest house, then again changed its name to “Thiri Myaing” and also opened to the public guest.
It is located in a large compound, colonial pile comes with complete side turrets and accompanied by attractively manicured gardens. Many locals believe it’s is haunted. It is one of the Myaing of Pyin Oo Lwin (In Pyin Oo Lwin, 9 colonial buildings are renamed in Burmese word end with Myaing, e.g. Thiri Myaing, Gandamar Myaing, Nan Myaing etc).