Naypyitaw The Abode of Kings

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walk inside

 

When I first heard about the construction about the Naypyitaw, I was skeptical as the area area is far from Yangon and the nature of the move of the government there with the problems met by the staff who had to go there, leaving their families in Yangon and others those who have to go there for their personal or official duties reinforced my attitude. Later, when electricity problems in Yangon became worse and worse, hearing about the 24 hours electricity and the street lights at the Naypyitaw did not improve my view on the Naypyitaw.

When I went to Bagan-Nyaung Oo by bus in May 2009 I passed through the Naypyitaw in the dark and apart from the well lighted broad streets, some roundabouts, the new Pyinmanar bus depot and the well lighted east west main road crossing the Yangon Mandalay highway with no traffic I did not see anything. It was also the same on the return but as it was past midnight I was sleepy and even saw less.

When the night  train on which we returned from Mandalay in November 2009 stopped at the Naypyitaw station, I woked up and I noticed the grandness of it and the lighted roads that crossed the rail tract and also the Uppatasanti Pagoda for the first time.

When I heard that my cousin ma ma Po from Pathein visited Naypyitaw, I was surprised and even remarked what there is to see!

Recently, I had the opportunity to visit Naypyitaw accompanying Pyone as she had to go there to the Health Ministry. This time, as we stayed there 2 half days, and visited the Ministry of Health, the new pagoda, water park and the zoo, I know more about Naypyitaw, especially as both trips on bus through the Naypyitaw was in full daylight.

The capital is built on a grand scale with modern and far flung projects many still uncompleted. There will be more hotels and sports stadiums for the coming SEA games too and I read about an ice skating complex, the first permanent one in Myanmar (I witnessed the Holiday on Ice show at the Aung San stadium football ground, sponsored by the American embassy when I was young).

The Naypyitaw highway is planned to be a double 4-lane highway connecting HtaukKyan and Naypyitaw. It began north of HtaukKyan and bypasses all towns on the Yangon Mandalay highway. There are paddy fields on the road side at first near Yangon / Hlegu but later on the road goes through uncultivated areas. It is still unfinished and there are only 2 double lane roads although the land for extra 2 lanes has been prepared, but there is not sufficient traffic at present even for the 2 double lane highway.

The road is made of concrete and is not tarred yet, over 1 year after its opening. There are no banking at curves and many vehicles including a highway bus had overturned at curves. The road is also said to be slippery when there is a drizzle and many who are not familiar with the curves have met accidents and deaths on this highway.

The first access road I noticed was to NyaungLayBin, through PhaDo. The first stop was near the road to Phyuu where there is a rest and food centre and at least a fuel shop. The parking lot of the Phyuu rest and food centre is a very large one that can accommodate many vehicles. There are also many food centres that are well constructed.

Near Naypyitaw, paddy fields and villages are seen again.

At the toll gate at Naypyitaw, the highway goes on to Mandalay, and those who want to visit Naypyitaw has to exit the highway. The Myoma Zay is the first stop on reaching Naypyitaw. Later, I had the first view of the Naypyitaw (Shwedagon replica; the name Uppatasanti Pagoda is too difficult for me to remember).

We stayed at the Shwe Taung hotel in Pyinmanar. It has been recommended by a friend who frequently goes to the Naypyitaw on business and she also made the reservation for us and told us where to get off the bus: the Myinn Yoke / horse statute. She also told us the trishaw rate to the Shwe Taung hotel (500 K for 2). There were motorcycle taxis but their rate is higher (1000 K for each). After checking in and a bath, we went to the Ministry of Health on 2 motorcycle taxis. It was a 12 mile trip and we passed by the Uppatasanti Pagoda on the way there.

After finishing the work at the Directorate of Medical Education with the help of our friend Helen Maung Gyi, we visited another friend ko Swe Win. We did not meet other friends: Aye Aye Thaw was abroad on official business and Ohmar San and ko Sein Win are quite far from the Directorate. We also met the elder daughter of Judy Kyin at Helen’s office (she came along with Helen for her EC) and later that evening in the park. We (my elder brother ko Khine Soe and me) grew up like family with Judy, Emily, Cho Cho and Stevie / Thein Lwin (now surgeon) as auntie ma Kyin Ti was my mother’s few best friends and we met every few weeks when we accompanied our parents to their home.

When we got out of the Health ministry, it was around 4 and I asked the motorcycle taximen that I want to visit the Uppatasanti Pagoda and the white elephant and later the park that evening after dinner. They took us there.

Like all other modern government pagodas, the Uppatasanti Pagoda is a hollow pagoda, not a temple nor a stupa. The view from the pagoda was great.

We had to wait till 5 pm to see the white elephant as it was too hot for the elephant to come out before 5, even in August. The female white elephant was caught not long ago in MaungTaw, Rakhine and recently brought to the Naypyitaw by sea and road from Sittway and ceremonies performed for it. Although 38 years old, it is smaller than what I expected.

Afterwards, the motorcycle taximen told us that it would be better to visit the park rather than go back to Pyinmanar and then going there again. Off we went back to the roundabout on the way to the Health ministry, but they made a south turn and we passed by the Municipal hotel and reached the park.

The park is a very huge complex and is very grand. The motorcycle taximen took us around the park as guides and we got to all the interesting places in the park.

There is a ThitKaNet boat over 150 years found in a creek near Naypyitaw, the NgaLaik chaung on 2 May 2007 shown at the water park, Naypyitaw. It was made from a single ThitKaNet / thingan net tree log and is over 43 ft long. It was used during king Pagan while he stayed near Pyinmanar

There are 2 artificial waterfalls at the water park: one is constructed on a real hill and there are 3 falls there and one can take a walk inside (at one point, it passes by the opening under a waterfall and as the wind is blowing, all were sprayed with water droplets); the other is a 3 step water fall with large pools for bathing and water slides.

There are statutes of dwarfs near the steel rope bridge which is swinging in the middle. Beyond it is the water fountain which dances to the music. We had dinner (Shan noodle and HsiKyet noodle) at the shop nearby while listening to the music and watching the water fountain dance. There is a step seating ampheatre on the other side where people can sit and enjoy the scene. When it becomes dark, there are colored lights and the water fountain becomes very beautiful.

Next, we went to the tower and nearby, there is a lake and the lights along the shore changes colours and runs in ant-clockwise direction. The  hill top tower is the highest point of the park from where one can have a bird’s eye view of the Naypyitaw and the park. The hill has acoustic effect of sound of birds and tigers roaring with tiger statutes.

From the tower top, we could seethe Naypyitaw Hall, the open air Academy giving ceremony theater near the Naypyitaw Hall and the Naypyitaw by night views including the Junction Ocean supermarket.

The water park  is a Fantasyland in central Myanmar, the Abode of Kings / Naypitaw. On the way back to the water fountain, we pass by an Octopus statute whose tentacles have rings for swings that are still not in place

It is a place for children’s delight and there is a pond with artificial palm trees. We then had a water fountain by night view.

The next morning, after breakfast, we went to the Naypyitaw zoo which is north of Yezin village far from Naypyitaw. We hired a motorcycle, one of the 2 that took us around the previous day and we went there by ourselves. The zoo is north of the main 8 lane vip road between the Naypyitaw offices and the NanTawYar at the foot of the hills to the east. It took me about 40 mins drive by motorcycle (hired) although the m/c carriers said it is a 25 min drive. We had only 1 hour time there and had to tour with a tricycle inside.There are motorcycles, toke toke / tricycles (6-8 pax) and cabbies (12-16 pax; 4 seats) to tour inside. It is very huge and it will take at least half a day if one goes around walking . The TaingYinTharr KyayYwar is adjacent (further east) to the zoo and one can enter it through the gate in the adjoining fence or directly without visiting the zoo.

There are penguins (kept in air con) and white tigers and all animals are kept in open spaces whenever possible. Apart from them we saw: otters, a crocodile, spotted deers one a tame one which is not afraid of strangers while the other one ran away, Hsat ဆတ္, vultures, 2 white tigers, white breasted Asian bears, KyoeKyar ၾကိဳးၾကာ, Cranes, lion and lion cubs, coloured fish, 2 leopards, a black and a white MyaukHlweKyaw ေမ်ာက္လႊဲေက်ာ္, star turtles ၾကယ္ လိပ္, and Ngamoeyeik crocodiles ငမိုးရိပ္ မိေခ်ာင္း and and night animals. There are other animals there too, but we did not have the time to see all.

There is also a NetKhatTayar PyaKhann နကၡတ္တာရာျပခန္း.

Transport inside the zoo is a must if one does not want to walk half a day. There are motorcycles, toke toke / tricycles (6-8 pax) and cabbies (12-16 pax; 4 seats) to tour inside. The tricycle dropped us at the last stop near the main entrance where there were penguins and night animals and after watching we walked back to the entrance just in time for lunch and checkout before we went to the bus depot on our return.

here are some comments on my Naypyitaw post in FB

Maung Nyo Thank you. It’s a brand new city in the jungle. What an idea!

Alvin Sumedha Lee I had early glimpses of the new city when someone posted some pictures on a blog (I cannot remember which blog now) about 2 years ago. Then those pictures were removed a few days later. I remember feeling nostalgic because some of the buildings meant for residential quarters looked like Singapore’s residential buildings many years ago when I was a kid. Thanks for sharing your pictures.

Nyi Win

when I saw the Naypyitaw and its grandness, the movie and novel “Adventurers” came to my mind
Dax, when he returned from Europe, a grown up, after his father’s death, was met by the El Suprermo, who was his father’s comrade in revolution
He was taken to the …Presidential palace and when he showed surprise and asked where the slums that were there are, the Supremo replied: this palace is for all the people

Cho Win Basic needs is most important rather than super structures

Maung Nyo Dear Cho Win, I agree with you. Spending money on a show city in time of people’s poverty and starvation is irresponsible.

Nyi Win

recently, I saw on MRTV, a North Korean tv program about the fireworks celebrations for the 50th anniversary of their Liberation
it was very grand and impressive
the spectators are well dressed ones in full military uniform, clapping in uniso…n
there are no civilians seen in the show
with the state of poverty and hunger in N Korea, the extravagant celebration is a sad one
the money should be spent wisely on feeding, teaching and promoting the health of the people
and this program is shown to promote N Korea
hiding their dirty work at the Martyr’s mausoleum desecrating our Martyrs and intruding on our sovereignty
powerful leaders, well fed and surrounded by toadies, do not see reality, especially when their media is controlled, leading to wrong decisions
they might not know the suffering of their people
as was in the immediate post Nargis period

Maung Nyo Hear, hear!

Patrick Khoo Thanks for your photos. Do they allow anybody to visit?

Nyi Win

Patrick,
I think so, as many expatriates are visiting there on business
and maybe touring too
the hotels are said to be good (I stayed at one in Pyinmanar)
the Kumudra which my company uses have rooms which cost 20,000 30,000 40,000 K and more …for locals
the hotels in Naypyitaw looks grand
there is a mountain top hotel on the edge of the Shan Yoma outside Naypyitaw in operation too
I watched a tv program about it
GRAND!!!
and might cost a fortune to stay there
and maybe about half an hour drive from Naypyitaw

Nyi Win

ko Alfred, I am sorry I did not tell anyone about my visit and missed fulfilling your wish
although the trip there to the Health ministry was planned, the decision to tour there was made on the spot to visit the Uppatasanti Pagoda, water par…k and the zoo

Maung Nyo Thank you for the photos. The Nayphidaw Zoo look good. Maybe people there might be enjoying it and visitors may mistake them for the zoo’s inhabitants!

Joan Mya Thin Khine Doctor, you should organize a Photo show of your collection one.. you’ve been to many places and had so many nice and memorable photos….

Nyi Win

Joan, thanks for our encouragement
my photos are amateur ones taken by a Canon IXUS 400 old model (pre 2004) in the medium mode so as not to have photos larger than 500 kb
also ko Khin Soe’s old Panasonic of similar qualtiy
I am having a phot…oshow here on FB for all FB members to see
and at my blog: Nyiwin’s blog
https://nyiwin.wordpress.com/
for others who are not on FB

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4 Responses to “Naypyitaw The Abode of Kings”

  1. Melvin Tan Says:

    Ko Nyi,

    I enjoyed reading your blog and seeing all the nice pictures. Very nice. Thanks for sharing.

    Melvin

  2. nyiwin Says:

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  3. Compact Fluorescent Bulb Says:

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  4. Steve Cline Says:

    I truly enjoyed this as it brings back so many good memories. I lived in Rangoon from 1966 through to 1969.Our first house was at 126 boundary road and then moved to the American club compound on Inya Lake.
    We as a family were so blessed to see most of your beautiful country and I even more so. I hunted all over from Prome up to toungoo and toungyi. Couldn’t get all the way up but did make it to Mandalay.
    We lived in Europe for 15 years or so but i just didn’t compare to the four in Burma. So much has changed so am a bit worried to even say the places l frequented as you might not recognize them.I tried to go back once in 97 and again in 2003 but my career as private contractor of the U.S. Dept of Defense surely kept a visa out of reach. One day.
    Steve Cline

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