Nay Pyi Taw (also known as Naypyidaw) is the young administrative capital of Myanmar, founded over a seven-year period at the beginning of this millennium. Located on a plain between the Bago Yoma and Shan Yoma mountain ranges, Nay Pyi Taw is centrally and strategically located (376km from Yangon and 274km from Mandalay), and is easily accessible from most of the country’s major cities. Visitors can fly into Nay Pyi Taw International Airport, or they can get there by private car, highway bus service or by rail. The third largest metropolis by population (after Yangon and Mandalay), Nay Pyi Taw is unusual in that it is dominated by seemingly interminable wide open spaces and highways that are largely devoid of any traffic. With a population of just under a million it is also a low density urban environment but fascinatingly known as one of the world’s 10 fastest growing cities. Closer to three important states namely Shan, Kayah and Kayin, it is located in the country’s dry zone so it mostly escapes the yearly monsoon rains. The city is efficient and, given Myanmar’s growing economy, has suitably large venues for a country in transition.
At the heart of this fascinating capital lies the parliamentary complex which comprises 31 palatial buildings designed with pagoda-style roofs said to represent the 31 planes of existence in Buddhist cosmology. The huge and impressive parliament building was built on an 800-acre complex in Zabu Thiri Township with a 20-lane highway. City Hall, headquarters of the Nay Pyi Taw Development Committee is another landmark in the capital.
With the best event facilities in the country, Nay Pyi Taw is positioning itself as Myanmar’s top MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences & Events) destination. The new capital has over 50 hotels (totalling more than 5,000 rooms) including top international brands with luxury facilities that have received VIP guests such as President Barack Obama. For major conferences welcoming several thousand delegates, there are two large, international standard buildings, the Myanmar International Convention Centres. It is here that global events such as the World Economic Forum East Asia, ASEAN Summit and ASEAN Tourism Forum have been successfully held.
It is considered the most renowned shimmering landmark of Nay-PyiTaw. A replica of Yangon’s treasured Shwedagon Pagoda, it is a slightly shorter and is unusual in that it is hollow with superbly decorated ceilings. Moreover, it affords spectacular views across the surrounding areas and has some auspicious white elephants housed nearby. In fact, Nay Pyi Taw Zoological Garden is also home to the country’s largest zoo with more than 420 animals and within a 45-min drive is an elephant sanctuary called Phokyar Resort.
National Museum (Nay Pyi Taw) is located on 14-hectare plot in Ottarathiri Township. It has 5 main buildings – A, B, C, D and E. Building A houses a mini theatre, VIP holding rooms, President’s Gifts Exhibition Room and a public area. The rest of the buildings have display areas, for example in Building B, the display area is divided into different exhibition rooms, namely: Primate and Fossil, Prehistoric Period, Proto-historic Period, Historic Period (11th-14th Century AD), Myanmar Art Gallery and Myanmar Performing Arts.
WUNNA THEIKDI STADTIUM
Wunna Theikdi Stadium is the biggest stadium in Myanmar. Based in in Zabu Thiri Township it is a multi-use international standard stadium and includes a modern gymnasium and swimming pool. The oval-shaped stadium has a capacity of about 30,000 spectators and boasts a floor area of 44,000 sq m.
DEFENCE SERVICES MUSEUM
Nay Pyi Taw boasts an impressive Defence Services Museum, a grand colonnaded collection of buildings on a 604-acre site enjoying fine views across the city and countryside with a backdrop of the Shan hills. It is divided into three main sections, the Army, Navy and Air Force. The army section covers some early history from the time of former kings but most exhibits date from the inception of the Armed Forces to the present day. There are also assortments of military machinery including planes, Spitfires, tanks, guns and ships.
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Flanked by two white elephant sculptures, the 3-storey Gems Museum, features a 69-kg jade boulder and Myanmar’s largest ruby, weighing in at a whopping 21,450 carats; hardly surprising in a country synonymous with precious jewels. It also displays an enormous natural pearl (6.2cm by 3cm) which weighs an incredible 845 carats and there’s also an even heavier cultured pearl at 104 carats.
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WHITE ELEPHANTS HOUSE
At the foot of the Uppatasanti Pagoda, there is an elephant house containing several white elephants. Myanmar people believe they bring luck, peace and prosperity to their lives.
NATIONAL LANDMARKS GARDEN
Home to miniature models of the states and regions of Myanmar, the National Landmarks Garden, is situated on a 400-acre plot near Thaik Chaung Village in Zeyathiri Township. The garden showcases scaled-down versions of the country’s most famous attractions, such as the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Ngapali Beach in Rakhine State and Inlay Lake in Shan State.
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The Zoological Garden in Nay Pyi Taw is the biggest of its kind in Myanmar. Located just off the old YangonMandalay Highway, the zoo covers about 500 acres and is home to 430 animals, representing 81 species. There is a daily show with performing elephants and elephant rides available.
The capital boasts several golf courses. Royal Myanmar Golf Course has 18 holes and the shape and roll of the terrain were accentuated in the design phase to highlight the site’s natural attributes. It is very challenging as there are fairway bunkers on contoured fairways and several lakes strategically placed throughout the course.
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