The King’s Abode: Naypyidaw, Myanmar
If you are looking to visit a country that is perpetually warm, our next suggestion for Travel Tuesday might be just the place for you.
Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, is a southeast Asian country nestled between Bangladesh, Thailand and China. Temperatures rarely dip below 30, the cool season between November and February being cooler in the evening than the intense permanent heat of the hot season between March and May. It is monsoon season from June to October and for June, July and August rainfall can be almost continuous, especially along the Bay of Bengal coast and Yangon. September and October are probably the best months if what you’re looking for is sunshine, sunshine and more sunshine.
So now we’ve told you about the climate, how about we explore Myanmar’s capital, Naypyidaw, a little further and give you some highlights for your future visit?
Back to basics
Naypyidaw, pronounced Naypiddaw, means the Abode of Kings in Burmese and is often referred to as the royal capital. It is a relatively new capital city only having been named as one in 2006. This is a planned city that to some extent is still considered to be ‘under construction’ and is divided into a number of zones: residential, military, ministry, hotel, shopping, recreation, Uppatasanti Pagoda and the international zone.
Naypyidaw is around 300km north of the former capital city of Yangon, and has played host to both the Southeast Asian Games and the World Economic Forum. It is advisable to check your own country’s travel advice before leaving both for visa information and overall safety concerns.
To the fun stuff!
Uppatasanti Pagoda is the first place on the list of things to visit in Naypyidaw. This prominent landmark is home to a Buddha tooth relic from China, with four jade Buddha images in the pagoda’s hollow cave. It is a truly stunning piece of architecture and absolutely worth a visit.
The Naypyidaw Water Fountain Garden is stunning. It is a 165 acre garden near the city hall, with a main pond with three fountains, eleven smaller ponds with a total of thirteen fountains, a clock tower, nine recreation centres, two small gardens, two stone gardens and numerous buggy and regular paths for you to use to explore this incredible place. Take your camera and your walking shoes!
If museums are your thing then head to the Gem Museum and the Defence Services Museum. There are two convention centres so if you are making a short visit to Naypyidaw because you’re in Myanmar on business, then these centres you will no doubt get familiar with very quickly - and they themselves are beautiful venues.
There are mixed reviews for the Naypyidaw Zoological Garden, with some complaining that a lot of the animals in this zoo are fake! But it could be worth a look nonetheless.
And finally, why not give the MyomaMarket a visit. This business focal point of Myanmar has around 250 shops and areas for traditional grocery-style markets so there is plenty available for you to get your retail therapy fix.
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If you want to eat somewhere a little different then look no further than the Cafe Flight. This restaurant is actually situated inside a plane, a full sized passenger DC10 no less! Truly an intriguing experience where a lot of the menu steers towards more Italian cuisine.
A very popular restaurant is YKKO, which is a mixture of Chinese, Asian, Thai and Burmese cuisines. Maw Khan Nong is local, Shan cuisine, Elements Restaurant has a somewhat limited menu but incredible staff, and Namaste North Indian Cuisine is an excellent Indian restaurant.
L'Opera Italian Restaurant seems to be a favourite amongst both locals and tourists if it is authentic Italian food you are after, and Rangoon Kitchen is the place to go if what you want is Vietnamese. Tai Kitchen gives you, unsurprisingly Thai food, as will Siam Lotus; but if you’re craving McDonalds, we’re sorry - this is not the place for you!
Making a night of it
Naypyidaw might have an unfortunate reputation of the seedy side of the sex industry, but that doesn’t meant there aren’t other things for you to do. You will generally want to head for the Pyinmana district which seems to play host for most of the city’s entertainment. The Mr. Chan Music Bar is potentially the only venue in Naypyidaw with live music. It is also a place for occasional public prayers organised by local monks.
Feel Cafe 7 Restaurant is part of a chain of venues that fall within the category of bar/restaurant/cafe. Bangkok Sky is yet another Thai restaurant but is a very popular nightlife destination. Nan Sein Cafe is a cafe with a somewhat western feel, and Mahar Yangon Tea House has an enticing range of teas, coffees and sweet treats, and excellent wifi.
You may have noticed a distinct lack of nightclubs on this list, and not even the slightest mention of so much as a karaoke bar. That is because, quite simply, there aren’t any - yet. Not anything formal anyway; the city of Naypyidaw is somewhat still in the process of being developed, and nightclubs and bars we are sure will appear in their own good time.
But don’t let a lack of nightlife put you off: this is definitely a city worth visiting!
If you are currently doing a circuit of southeast Asia and are looking for a new place to stop and visit that will not break the budget and is definitely different, may we suggest Naypyidaw as one of your future destinations.