Postcard: Naypyidaw

Isolated from the carnage of Cyclone Nargis, Burma's new capital is ruled by a surreal sense of order. Inside the abode of the paranoid kings

Khin Maung Win / AFP / Getty

Junta chief Than Shwe reviews the troops in Naypyidaw.

There aren't any," says the hotelier with an embarrassed laugh when I ask about the best tourist attractions in Burma's new capital. That's no surprise, really. Naypyidaw--the name translates as "Abode of Kings"--was built from scratch just three years ago on orders from the ruling junta. The vast swath of former scrubland didn't even exist when the latest Lonely Planet Burma travel guide was written, and there's not much tourist charm in a dusty bunker town whose sole purpose is the wish fulfillment of paranoid generals.

Naypyidaw is very big and very empty. Even after Cyclone Nargis devastated Rangoon, Burma's former...