Welcome to Nay Pyi Taw
Absurdly grandiose in scale, Nay Pyi Taw (ေနျပည္ေတာ္; one translation is ‘Royal City of the Sun’) is a sprawling, shoddily constructed city with eight-lane highways, 24-hour electricity, and zones for shopping, government housing and hotels, ministry buildings and generals’ homes. Apart from the roadblocks that protect the roads leading to the generals’ mansions, ministry buildings and the parliament, it’s surprisingly open. Visits to some of its sights, including a giant gilded pagoda, allow you to mingle freely with locals while putting a dollar or two into the private economy. This aside, it can feel soulless – Canberra meets Brasilia with a peculiar Orwellian twist.