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Naypyidaw

Travel Guide Asia Myanmar Naypyidaw

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Introduction

Naypyidaw is the capital of Myanmar, located in the Mandalay Division of the central part of the country, over 300 kilometres north of the former capital Yangon. Naypyidaw consists of the city proper (downtown) and three surrounding townships, Pyinmana, Lewe and Tatkon. The administrative capital of Myanmar was officially moved 3 kilometres west of Pyinmana on the 6th of November 2005. Although the official reason for the movement of the government is the fact that Yangon had become too congested and crowded, it is widely believed that Naypyidaw has become the capital because of its central and strategical location compared to Yangon. Naypyidaw is close to the Shan, Chin and Karen states, and it is felt that a stronger military and governmental presence nearby might provide stability to those chronically turbulent regions.

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Sights and Activities

  • Defence Services Museum - An enormous half open-air, half housed complex celebrating the country's Military. For a country with so many pressing needs you may find this multi-million dollar vanity project hard to stomach, but it's free, and anyone interested in military hardware and history will easily be occupied for three hours or more.

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Weather

Naypyidaw has a hot and humid tropical climate. Temperatures are well above 30 °C degrees Celsius during the day and mostly around 20 °C degrees at night. Temperatures from mid March to May can reach 40 °C degrees making this time rather unpleasant for visiting the city. This time is often called the hot dry season. From June to October is rainy season. There is massive amounts of rainfall this time of year. The best time to visit is during the cool dry season which is December to February. During this period there is still warm and pleasant weather with pleasant nights around 18 degrees. It usually is dry and rather sunny during these months.

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Getting There

By Plane

To handle increased traffic to the capital, the existing airport at Ela was upgraded to handle larger planes. It lies 16 kilometres southeast of Kyatpyae. This airport (airport code NYT) is now listed as a destination for all domestic airlines: Myanmar National Airways, Yangon Airways, Air Mandalay, FMI Air, KBZ Air and Air Bagan. Flights internally are relatively cheap by international standards - typically NYT to RGN would cost $120 or so each way.

By Train

There are several trains daily from Yangon and they take around nine hours. Note that the station is considerably further from the centre of town and from the hotels than the bus station, and the bus ride from Yangon is considerably faster (5 hours).

By Car

A newly built toll motorway connects Yangon to NPT. It's 320 kilometres long with a service complex containing a fuel station and a large, expensive (by local standards) restaurant just past the halfway point if you're coming from Yangon.

By Bus

From Yangon buses travel the wide new toll highway for about five hours, including mandatory rest stop, to the capital, which unusually just springs out of nowhere at a nondescript intersection. The bus should eventually arrive at the Myoma Bus Station in the north of the city.

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Getting Around

By Car

Taxi drivers hang around the shopping centres and bus station and you need to negotiate with them. For foreigners the asking costs can be high - $5 for even relatively short journeys. Distances between locations are large so finding a taxi needs some effort (best to ask the hotel to help).

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Drink

Myanmar beer is very drinkable and there are several different types. Locally produced whisky is very cheap - 5,000 Kyat a litre - even for the best local brands. Wine is also available including (somewhat surprisingly) local red and white Myanmar wine. Other international wines (French, Spanish etc) are available, usually in the range 8,500 - 15,000 kyat. The Junction and Capital supermarkets have sections selling wine, beer and whisky.

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Sleep

The hotel zone has a handful of villa-style hotels that dot the hills on the outskirts of the city. There are currently twelve hotels in or near Naypyidaw. Eight of these are within the Naypyidaw Hotel Zone. There are also some very large hotels in Naypyidaw. The distances are quite far between anywhere you want to go and the hotels.

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet is now widely and cheaply available in Yangon, Mandalay, and Bagan, but more limited elsewhere. However access can be slow although now unrestricted. Rates are around 300 kyat/hour in Yangon and 1,000-3,000 kyat/hour elsewhere. Some hotels, although rare, allow free access to the internet.
The government records screenshots every five minutes from PCs in Internet cafés to monitor Internet usage. If you don't want your privacy violated in this way, save your surfing for Thailand or wherever you head next.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

Myanmar's country code is 95.

International phone calls can be arranged at the Central Telephone & Telegraph Office at the corner of Ponsodan and Mahabandoola Streets in Yangon. International Direct Dial calls are also possible from most hotels and at many public call offices (often a phone in a shop), but they are expensive, e.g., a call to the US costs USD6–7 per min.

The MPTGSM mobile phone network is provided by the Myanmar Government's Post and Telecommunication agency. This works on the GSM900 band, so is visible to multi-band GSM phones. Roaming is available onto MPT's GSM 900 network, subject to agreements between operators; check with your operator before you leave to be sure. Unfortunately, MPT only has international roaming agreements with operators from a limited number countries and territories. Nevertheless, if your own mobile telephone can detect the MPT GSM network, then you may be able to buy a USD20 SIM card which will work for 28 days.

As of October 2014, Telenor and Ooredoo, two international companies, have entered the market. Sim cards are cheap and widely available (1500 kyats for a Telenor sim). Nevertheless, connectivity can still be limited to urban centres, Yangon and Mandalay in particular. Telenor seems to have a better connection and plans to improve nets massively in the next years. Although MPT has the widest coverage, it is also the most expensive.

Post

International mail out of Myanmar is reportedly quite efficient, despite what some hotels might tell you.

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This is version 10. Last edited at 22:30 on May 30, 17 by hasbeen. 2 articles link to this page.

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