The city of Naypyidaw is shrouded in complete and utter secrecy.
The purpose-built capital of Burma was completed a decade ago, after the government decided to up and leave the former capital of Yangon with little explanation to its citizens.
Built from scratch in the middle of rice paddies and sugar-cane fields, Naypyidaw was unveiled as Burma’s new capital in November 2005, by the then military regime.
It is believed to have cost up to $4 billion to construct, in a country that spends by far the lowest on healthcare for its people in the world.
But since then, although being developed to be the size of 120 Manhattans and have enough space for up to one million residents, it remains a ghost town.
It was built mainly for government staff, but locals only come to live in the city if they need to for work. However, many government employees were separated from their families due to a lack of schools and other amenities.
As well as the locals not biting, it seems people around the globe aren’t too keen either. Reportedly, foreigners and investors aren’t keen to visit, because of reports that the area may be ‘dangerous’.
Also foreign aid workers who have visited the city are apparently so spooked by the emptiness that they prefer to commute in daily from Yangon. And you can’t blame them really.
The Burmese government even set said almost five acres of land each for foreign embassies, but only the Bangladeshi embassy has moved there so far.
Official records state the population is just over 924,000, though going by these pictures it’d be difficult to really believe this.
Its highways are insane and have up to 20 lanes, big enough for government SUV’s. Some reports suggest that these roads were actually constructed as runways to take on military landings.
The streets are bare, with just a few people spotted walking or cycling at any given point throughout the day.
It’s fair to say that Naypyidaw is a long way from the shining emblem of the ‘new Burma’ that their government was trying to push.