Nay Pyi Taw



Translating literally to mean "Royal City of the Sun," Myanmar's slightly extravagant capital city of Nay Pyi Taw is one of the more recent chapters in Myanmar history. Ground was broken on the city in 2002 when the generals decided the current capital, Yangon, was feeling claustrophobic. (Rumor has it the military also hoped a more centrally located capital would help them quash the ethnic insurgencies up north.) Three years later in 2005, military and government ministries started the 200-mi/320-km convey north from Yangon, quickly populating what has become Myanmar's third-largest city. Nay Pyi Daw is well connected by road and air to other parts of the country via the Yangon-Mandalay Expressway.

These days, Nay Pyi Taw has grown into a sprawling, if poorly built, city of eight-lane highways, lots of hotels, a zoo, a water fountain park and a huge golden pagoda, modeled after the Shwedagon Paya in Yangon. Most importantly, residents enjoy constant electricity, a luxury exclusive to the place the generals call home. Despite all this, there really isn't much to see there, unless you're visiting in an official capacity.

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