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Published on December 22, 2019

The city of Nay Pyi Taw took over from Yangon as the capital of Myanmar in 2005. The new capital offered what other more established cities lacked: a more central location between Yangon and Mandalay that reduced vulnerability to natural disasters and access to wide-open spaces. 

It also offered a blank canvas on which the government could paint a vision of Myanmar’s future. The future they imagined included wide highways, vast government complexes, verdant parks, and a gleaming Buddhist stupa, the Uppatasanti Pagoda, which is every bit the equal of the legendary Shwedagon in size and splendor. 

There’s plenty to do in Nay Pyi Taw, even for guests not on government business. Access to the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (Parliament) building is restricted, but the empty 20-lane highway it connects to is a crucial draw for tourists. The Gems Museum, which is home to the largest pearl in Myanmar, is another tourist attraction in Myanmar.