Welcome to Naypyidaw

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Naypyidaw is one of the most mysterious cities in the world. In 2005 it became the capital of Myanmar as a replacement for Yangon. The city was designed with a large fanfare in mind, however; when you arrive, you might feel a bit lonely. Naypyidaw is an enormous empty city – one in a growing trend of places built for a large population who’ve yet to come. Enjoy the tour!

Vast spaces

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Everything in Naypyidaw is built super-sized, which makes it especially ominous that there’s barely a car or person to be seen. It’s almost as if the city is closed for a holiday.

Surreal City

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Naypyidaw roughly translates to “royal city.” It’s six times bigger than New York City, yet that size doesn’t mean there’s a vibrant thriving culture.

New yet abandoned

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Can you imagine 120 neighborhoods in Manhattan with empty streets? Naypyidaw was intended to be a more defensible position compared to Yangon and act as a transportation hub for neighboring states. Why?

Highway to nowhere?

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The Yangon-Naypyidaw highway connects the two cities. At it’s maximum the lanes expand to 20 deep, however, it is mostly abandoned. A trip from Naypyidaw to Yangon on this highway can take over ten hours.

You’re alone

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Naypyidaw was erected with a massive effort. The government of Myanmar reportedly spent upwards of four billion dollars to build a shining capital city.

Abandoned Pagoda

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Uppatasanti Pagoda was completed in 2009 with the edict to rival a similar pagoda built in Yangon. In March 2009 nearly two dozen people died in a ferris wheel accident during the pagoda’s opening ceremonies.

Lacking services

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Construction of Naypyidaw began in 2002 however, cell phone service only became available in 2009.

Empty everywhere

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Naypyidaw is a city of 8 townships with a total population of less than one-million. New York City is six times smaller and boasts a population of nearly 8.5 million.

Airport for a few

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Naypyidaw Airport is located roughly ten miles southeast of the city. It serves flights to domestic and internationally and has been undergoing construction as of 2009 to accommodate up to 3.5 million passengers. 

Vast scale

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Naypyidaw is roughly 200 miles north of Yangon. Dozens of construction companies were brought on by the government, and within three years of starting construction, thousands of troops and officials trekked into the city.

International attention

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In 2014 the British motoring program Top Gear visited Naypyidaw during a trip through Myanmar.

Unknown future

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Though construction of Naypyidaw may have provided an economic boom to Myanmar empty roads, schools, apartments, hospitals and landscaping require a significant amount of capital for upkeep in this virtually abandoned city.

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