A visit to Nay Pyi Taw might prove to be an unusual experience but it is also home to some extraordinary facts and finds. Here, the PARKROYAL Hotels team brings you 7 surprising facts you never knew about Myanmar’s capital city.
1. It has bagged the title of the most bizarre capital city in the world
This latest one, situated about five hours north of Yangon and mid-way between Yangon and Mandalay, was carved in its entirety out of the tropical jungle. It was built-to-order in the past to cater to the country’s growing aspirations.
What makes it the most bizarre capital of the world? The fact that it has sprawling government complexes, lush villa-style developments, and 20-lane boulevards, but few residents.
2. It is 8 times the size of New York City
In spite of its size, Nay Pyi Taw’s population figures stand in stark contrast; with official figures pegging the number at 920,000, it is a mere fraction of London’s population size of 8.6 million.
The perks of visiting a city with such a low population density are that you probably never have to queue for food, visiting attractions, or booking activities. No rush hour human or vehicular traffic, plus you’ll probably be given a royal welcome by your warm Myanmar hosts.
3. It played host to the 2013 Southeast Asian Games
It was the third time Myanmar hosted the Southeast Asian Games; the 1961 and 1969 SEA games were held in Yangon, then capital of the country. As Singapore withdrew its hosting rights due to delays in the completion of its new national stadium, Nay Pyi Taw became the second city in Myanmar to host the SEA Games.
During your visit, make it a point to tour some of the sports facilities which hosted the games, and relive Myanmar’s sporting glory—the country walked away with a total of 233 medals that year, second only to Thailand.
4. Its most visited attraction is Uppatasanti Pagoda
Also known as the Peace Pagoda, the spectacular Uppatasanti is certainly worth a visit. Its magnificently domed interior features four jade Buddha images sitting on golden thrones facing the cardinal directions. It also houses a Buddhist tooth relic from China.
5. Parliament is a vast complex of 31 buildings
Myanmar’s is a bicameral parliament, consisting of the Amyotha Hluttaw (House of Nationalities), a 224-seat upper house as well as the Pyithu Hluttaw, a 440-seat lower house (House of Representatives).
Journalists, both foreign and domestic, have been allowed to attend parliamentary sessions in recent years. It may be tough for tourists to gain entry into the complex, but it is quite an experience to drive down the empty 20-lane highway leading to the Parliament in Nay Pyi Taw, and stop in the middle of the road for a selfie.
6. Its dining scene is flourishing
Or hit up Maw Khan Nong 2, situated on a small hill above the well-known Thabyegone (Tha Pyay Kone) Market. At this lively beer station, you can tuck into piping hot bowls of savoury Shan noodles, traditional Thai delights, and a glass of cold draft beer.
Also serving up a variety of local delights is Taw Win Brasserie (pictured above), located within the immaculately landscaped PARKROYAL Nay Pyi Taw. Here, you can savour Myanmar’s unique flavours, ranging from the familiar to the more exotic. They include the VVIP-approved traditional fish paste noodles (Mohin Gar), Spring Chicken served with garlic mash, carrot puree, confit vegetables and red wine foie gras sauce, and the ever-popular Thursday night BBQ buffet.