Naypyidaw is a unique city in the region. It is a fully constructed large city but with very few inhabitants compared to its size, so you can experience the amazing and unprecedented (for Asia) experience of never ever being stuck in traffic. It is between two mountain ranges so has little to offer in the way of day trips or activities. The city was constructed to be the capital by the military and lacks the dissarray and wonder found throughout the rest of Myanmar.
Naypyidaw was constructed in secret by the Myanmar Junta in the early 2000s. In November 2005 it was officially announced as the country’s new capital. Government workers were given two months notice that they would have to move from Yangon, as all government offices and ministries were relocated. Embassies and international organisations like the UN have not yet relocated but are expected to at some point. The international retail chains found throughout all other capital cities are not present in Naypyidaw.
Naypyidaw Travel Guide
The city has wide boulevards/highways (still almost empty) and extravagant roundabouts. It has housing for government workers, but many still maintain residences for their families in Yangon as education and health infrastructure is not yet in place.
There is a newly built motorway (toll road) linking Yangon to NPT. It is 200 miles long, with a restaurant stop at 115 miles. The journey takes about 4 hours by car.
Which you can see in Naypyidaw
- The huge and impressive parliament building with an 11-lane highway (usually empty) leading up to it
- Three enormous sculptures depicting the Burmese kings Anawrahta, Bayinnaung and Alaungpaya U Aung Zeya, considered the three most important kings in Burmese history.
- National Herbal Park has exhibits of plants having medicinal applications from all of the major regions of Burma. There are thousands of plants at the park, representing hundreds of different species. There is no entry fee.
- Naypyidaw Water Fountain Park 700K entry fee. No fountains where working on a Sunday, maybe nice (but not great) during festivals if the fountains work. Can swim in the concrete pool if you don’t mind algae and sunbathe.
- The Naypyidaw Zoological Gardens opened in 2008 with some 420 animals and a climate-controlled penguin house. It is the largest zoo in Burma. It is said that most of the animals were relocated from Yangon zoo, at the same time as the government officials were making the same journey. A well known comedian who announced regularly that “all our animals are going to Naypiydaw” was imprisoned.
- The Naypyidaw Safari Park
- A Gem Museum
- Uppatasanti Pagoda also called the “Peace Pagoda” is a prominent landmark in Naypyidaw. The pagoda, which houses a Buddha tooth relic from China, is a replica of Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon and stands 100 metres high. It also has Maha Hsutaungpyae Buddha Image in Maha Pasadabhumi Gandhakuti Chamber, Four jade Buddha images in the pagoda’s hollow cave, 33 metre high flagpole, Bo tree Garden with Maha Bo Tree and the images of the 28 Buddhas, Marlini Mangala Lake with the chamber of Shin Uppagutta and Pagoda museum.