Nay Pyi Taw (NPT) is the capital of Myanmar. (Most people think it’s Yangon.)
The city of NPT was ‘born’ in 2005 and the population has been growing ever since. It is known as the greenest capital in Asia and does feel like an oasis.
Driving into ‘town’ you do feel a bit like you are on a movie set waiting for things to happen… so it has been a unique experience to see NPT in this infancy stage of structural development.
The Myanmar Parliament is here. All government departments are here. There are some national museums here. Heaps of resort-style hotels are here. However there is not much in the way of city infrastructure such as public transport or facilities like shops and schools which can make living here a bit difficult… but things are changing.
All embassies will gradually relocate from Yangon to NPT. We heard that 14 were moving here this year and a hotel was about to be turned into an international school. Like the development of our own Australian capital of Canberra – it takes time.
There are not many cars or bikes… and the wide stretches of roads and many tree lined streets have beautifully ‘manicured’ median strips. Gordon is in love with a government that thinks long term.
Australian volunteers posted here actually have to live in one of the many hotels which vary in star ratings. Now this may sound luxurious but it does have its challenges as it can be expensive, quite isolating and there is very little chance to engage with locals apart from the staff at their workplace or those working at the hotel.
We are here for our annual in-country volunteer gathering to workshop and connect. There are 36 volunteers posted in various Myanmar locations so it has been fabulous to get to know them and share ideas.
We were very honoured to have the new Australian Ambassador drop in and meet with us as well. She is very approachable and keen to learn more about what we do.
One night for a change of scenery we were bussed to a nearby hotel for a very atmospheric poolside dinner – we could have been in Las Vegas or the Gold Coast.
It all feels a little surreal but it is a nice change from the dust of Bagan and shows another side of Myanmar that many never see.
Mum and Timm visited a lovely elephant camp where the elephants are well cared for and looked happy and healthy. It was about 40 minutes by taxi…so there are interesting things to do if you take some time to seek them out.