Naypyidaw, officially spelled Nay Pyi Taw (Burmese: နေပြည်တော်; MLCTS: Nepranytau, sometimes also Naypyitaw; pronounced: [nèpjìdɔ̀], formerly known as Kyetpyay, Pyinmana or Kyatpyay, Pyinmana) is the capital city of Myanmar, also known as Burma. It is administered as the Naypyidaw Union Territory, as per the Constitution. On 6 November 2005, the administrative capital of the country was officially moved to a greenfield site 3.2 km (2.0 mi) west of Pyinmana, and approximately 320 km (200 mi) north of Yangon (Rangoon), the previous capital.
The capital's official name was announced on 27 March 2006, Myanmar's Armed Forces Day. It first became the capital of Myanmar in 2006, after the government decided to move the capital from Yangon (also known as Rangoon) with minimal explanation. Much of this planned city is still under construction, which was set to be completed by around 2012. The 24th and 25th ASEAN Summit as well as the Ninth East Asia Summit were held in Naypyidaw. It was also one of the host cities for the 2013 Southeast Asian Games.
Naypyitaw is generally translated as "royal capital", "seat of the king" or "abode of kings". Traditionally, it was used as a suffix to the names of royal capitals, such as Mandalay, which was called ရတနာပုံနေပြည်တော် (Yadanabon Naypyidaw). The name literally means "abode of the king" in Burmese.
Naypyidaw has a short history, having been founded on a greenfield site some 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) west of Pyinmana, and approximately 320 kilometres (200 mi) north of Yangon, with construction starting in 2002. At least 25 construction companies were hired by the military government to build the city, including Asia World and Htoo Ltd. The military government began moving government ministries from Yangon to Naypyidaw on 6 November 2005 at the astrologically auspicious time of 6:37 a.m. Five days later, on 11 November at 11 a.m., a second convoy of 1,100 military trucks carrying 11 military battalions and 11 government ministries left Yangon. The ministries were expected to be mostly in place by the end of February 2006; however, the hasty move led to a lack of schools and other amenities which separated the government employees from their families for the time being. The government originally prohibited families of government workers from moving to the new capital. Military headquarters were located in a separate compound from the government ministries, and civilians have been banned from entering either. Vendors are restricted to a commercial zone near the government offices.
On 27 March 2006, more than 12,000 troops marched in the new capital in its first public event: a massive military parade to mark Armed Forces Day—which is the anniversary of then Burma's 1945 uprising against the Japanese occupation of Burma. Filming was restricted to the concrete parade ground which contains three enormous sculptures—depictions of the Burmese kings Anawrahta, Bayinnaung and Alaungpaya, who are considered the three most important kings in Myanmar's history. The city was officially named Naypyidaw during these ceremonies.
Rationale for moving the capital
It is not known why the capital was moved, but according to The Guardian, it is believed that the capital was moved because Than Shwe did it as a "vanity project." Naypyidaw is more centrally located than the old capital, Yangon. It is also a transportation hub located adjacent to the Shan, Kayah, and Kayin states. It was felt by governmental and military leaders that a stronger military and governmental presence nearby might provide stability to those chronically turbulent regions. The official explanation for moving the capital was that Yangon had become too congested and crowded with little room for future expansion of government offices.
Some Western diplomats speculated that the government were concerned with the possibility of foreign attack, as Yangon is on the coast and therefore vulnerable to an amphibious invasion. The popular belief among the Burmese is that a warning about foreign attack was delivered to the military chief by an astrologer. Indian journalist Siddharth Varadarajan, who visited Naypyidaw in January 2007, described the vastness of the new capital as "the ultimate insurance against regime change, a masterpiece of urban planning designed to defeat any putative 'colour revolution' – not by tanks and water cannons, but by geometry and cartography".
Geography and climate
Chaungmagyi Dam is located a few kilometers to the north of Naypyidaw, while Ngalaik Dam is a few kilometers to the south. The Yezin Dam is farther away in the north-east.
|Climate data for Naypyidaw|
|Average high °C (°F)|| 30
|Average low °C (°F)|| 14
|Average precipitation mm (inches)|| 5
|Average precipitation days||1||0||1||3||14||21||23||24||19||12||4||1||123|
|Source: Weather2Travel.com Retrieved March 26, 2013|
Naypyidaw is organized into a number of zones. As of 2013, the city is still lacking many of the facilities one would expect in a capital city.
The residential areas are carefully organized, and apartments are allotted according to rank and marital status. The city currently has 1,200 four-story apartment blocks. The roofs of apartment buildings are color-coded by the jobs of their residents; Ministry of Health employees live in buildings with blue roofs and Ministry of Agriculture employees live in those with green roofs. High-ranking government officials live in mansions, of which there are about 50. Many of the city's residents, however, live in slums.
High-ranking military officers and other key officials live 11 km (6.8 mi) away from regular government employees in a complex said to consist of tunnels and bunkers; this area is restricted to the public. The city also hosts a military base, which is inaccessible to citizens or other personnel without written permission. Inside the military zone, the roads have eight lanes to allow small aircraft to land.
The city's Ministry zone contains the headquarters of Myanmar's government ministries. All the ministry buildings are identical in appearance. A parliamentary complex consisting of 31 buildings and a 100-room presidential palace are also located there. The zone also contains the city hall building, which has many characteristics of Stalinist architecture, but with a Burmese-style roof.
The Hotel zone has a handful of villa-style hotels on the hilly outskirts of the city. There are currently twelve hotels located in or near Naypyidaw. Eight of these are located within the Naypyidaw Hotel Zone, and two are located in Laeway (Lewe) on the Yangon-Mandalay Road. Forty villas were constructed near the Myanmar Convention Centre in preparation for the 25th ASEAN summit conducted in Naypyitaw in November 2014. Construction of the villas was begun in 2010 by the government. However funds were limited so the project was later put out to tender for completion by private sector investors. Details of the tender process are unclear but ten companies were chosen to participate in the activity including firms owned by prominent business people known to have close connections with the government.
348 hotels and 442 inns were constructed to house the athletes spectators of the 2013 Southeast Asian Games, which was hosted in Naypyidaw.
Naypyitaw Myoma Market is currently the commercial centre of Naypyidaw.
Other shopping areas include Thapye Chaung Market and Junction Centre Naypyidaw. Built by the Shwe Taung Development company and completed in August 2009, Junction Centre is the capital's first privately operated shopping centre. There are also local markets and a restaurant area.
Ngalaik Lake Gardens is a small water park situated along the Ngalaik Dam, near Kyweshin Village on Ngalaik Lake (approximately seven miles from Naypyidaw). Opened in 2008, facilities at the Ngalaik Lake Gardens include water slides, natural resorts, lodging and a beach. The gardens are open to the public during Thingyan holidays.
Also opened in 2008, the 200-acre (0.81 km2) National Herbal Park has exhibits of plants having medicinal applications from all of the major regions of Myanmar. There are thousands of plants at the park, representing hundreds of different species.
Behind the city hall, there is a park with a playground and water fountain complex, which hosts a musical light show every night.
The Naypyidaw Zoological Gardens opened in 2008 with some 420 animals and a climate-controlled penguin house. It is the largest zoo in Myanmar. The Naypyidaw Safari Park officially opened on 12 February 2011.
Almost similar in size and shape to the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Uppatasanti Pagoda was completed in 2009. This new pagoda is named the Uppatasanti or "Peace Pagoda". The stake-driving ceremony for the pagoda was held on 12 November 2006. The invitation card for the ceremony opened with a phrase "Rajahtani Naypyidaw (the royal capital where the king resides)". The pagoda is just 30 cm (12 in) shorter than the Shwedagon Pagoda. Uppatasanti translates roughly to "Protection against Calamity". It is the name of a sūtra prepared by a monk in the early 16th century. It is to be recited in time of crisis, especially in the face of foreign invasion.
The government has set aside 2 hectares (4.9 acres) of land each for foreign embassies and headquarters of United Nations missions. So far, only the Bangladeshi embassy has moved to Naypyidaw.
The Myanmar Motion Picture Academy Awards are held annually in Naypyidaw given to the highest achievers in Burmese cinema. There is a movie theater in the Junction Centre Mall in Naypyidaw. There are two others in nearby Pyinmana, and one in Tatkone Township.
Naypyitaw is a Union Territory under the direct administration of the President. Day-to-day functions are carried out on the President's behalf by the Naypyidaw Council led by a Chairperson. The Chairperson and members of the Naypyitaw Council are appointed by the President and include both civilians and Armed Forces representatives.
On 30 March 2011, President Thein Sein appointed Thein Nyunt as chairman of the Naypyitaw Council, along with 9 chair members: Than Htay, Colonel Myint Aung Than, Kan Chun, Paing Soe, Saw Hla, Myint Swe, Myint Shwe and Myo Nyunt.
The Naypyitaw Union Territory consists of the city proper (downtown) and eight surrounding townships. Downtown is further divided into four wards. Pyinmana, Lewe, and Tatkone townships were all formerly part of Yamethin District. Oathara Thiri, Dekkina Thiri, Poppha Thiri, Zapu Thiri, and Zeyar Thiri are all new townships currently under construction. As of December 2009, most government ministry offices have been relocated to the administrative capital. Only the offices of ministries' directorates remain in Yangon.
- City proper (Wards)
- Zeyatheiddhi (ဇေယျသိဒ္ဓိ ရပ်ကွက်, from Pali jeyyasiddi)
- Pyinnyatheddhi (ပညာသိဒ္ဓိ ရပ်ကွက်, from Pali pañasiddi)
- Bawgatheiddhi (ဘောဂသိဒ္ဓိ ရပ်ကွက်, from Pali bhogasiddi)
- Mingalatheiddhi (မင်္ဂလာသိဒ္ဓိ ရပ်ကွက်, from Pali mangalasiddi)
- Pre-existing townships
- New Townships
- Ottarathiri Township (ဥတ္တရသီရိ မြို့နယ်, from Pali uttarasiri)
- Dekkhinathiri Township (ဒက္ခိဏသီရိ မြို့နယ်, from Pali dakkhinasiri)
- Pobbathiri Township (ပုဗ္ဗသီရိ မြို့နယ်, from Pali pubbasiri)
- Zabuthiri Township (ဇမ္ဗူသီရိ မြို့နယ်, from Pali jambusiri)
- Zeyarthiri Township (ဇေယျာသီရိ မြို့နယ်, from Pali jeyyasiri)
There is sometimes some controversy about land use and changes in land ownership related to the urban spread of Naypyitaw. In late 2014, for example, there were suggestions in parliament that land grabs were occurring near the Dekkhinathiri Township and that existing laws needed to be amended to provide better protection for farmers. There has also been criticism from some members of parliament about the size of the Naypyitaw Union Territory and the fact that money is being spent on urban infrastructure (such as lighting around lakes) although the facilities do not attract much use.
- No. 1 Basic Education High School
Yezin (a few kilometers north-east of Naypyidaw and Pyinmana)
Public transport services are limited between neighborhoods. The four-lane, 323.2 km (200.8 mi) Yangon-Naypyidaw highway links Naypyidaw with Yangon directly and is part of the 563 km (350 mi)-long overall Yangon-Naypyidaw-Mandalay Expressway. There is a 20-lane boulevard; like most roads in the city, it is largely empty.
In August 2011, Russian news media announced that a Russian-based firm would be constructing a 50-kilometre (31 mi) metro line, which would be the country's first underground rail system, underneath Naypyidaw. However, the Rail Transportation Ministry then announced that the plan had been cancelled due to lack of demand and budgetary limits.
Buses and cars
Naypyidaw has four-lane roads and multilevel, flower-covered roundabouts (traffic circles). Government ministries run shuttle buses in the morning and evening to their respective buildings.
Motorbikes are banned from some roads in Naypyidaw city limits, including sections of Taw Win Yadana Road, as a result of hundreds of traffic accident-related deaths in 2009.
Naypyidaw railway station (published as Nay Pyi Taw railway station) was opened at milepost No. (233/0), between Ywataw station and Kyihtaunggan station on the Yangon-Mandalay railroad with a station area of 2,700 m × 1,200 m (9,000 ft × 4,000 ft) and a covered area of 334.5 hectares (826.5 acres). Construction began on 8 December 2006 and Naypyidaw railway station was opened on 5 July 2009, even though the overpass, locomotive shed, concrete road leading up to the station, parking lot, passenger lounge and platform were not completed.
Myanmar Railways has announced that passengers traveling on all trains except mail and local ones are to get off only at Nay Pyi Taw Station as they will not stop at Pyinmana Station after the inauguration of Nay Pyi Taw Station.
Before the opening of Naypyidaw railway station, Naypyidaw was served by Pyinmana and Lewe stations, though only Pyinmana station is on the main rail line (which extends from Yangon-Bago-Naypyidaw-Thazi-Mandalay). Lewe station is on the way from Pyinmana to Kyaukpadaung. It takes nine hours by train to get from Yangon to Pyinmana; trains leave at 12:00 and arrive at 21:30 local time.
Naypyidaw Airport, also known as Ayelar Airport, is 16 km (10 mi) south-east of the city, between the towns of Ela and Lewe. It is served by all domestic airlines—Air Bagan, Air Mandalay, Myanmar National Airlines, FMI Air and Yangon Airways—with regular flights to Yangon and other cities across the country. Since April 2009, the airport is undergoing major expansion to handle up to 3.5 million passengers per year.
Nay Pyi Taw Hospital opened in 2006. There is also the Defence Services Obstetric, Gynaecological and Children's Hospital, 300-bed facility which is among the teaching hospitals of the Burmese Defence Services Medical Academy. The nearby towns of Lewe, Pyinmana, and Tatkone each have one hospital.
Since 2009, Naypyidaw has had mobile phone coverage.
In March 2014, Naypyidaw was one of the locations featured on the British motoring TV show Top Gear during a two-part special event in Myanmar.
The establishment of Naypyidaw was an extraordinary project. However, the shorter-term and long-term consequences of establishing the new capital are not yet clear.
Data on the economic impact of constructing Naypyitaw are scarce but the national economic impact of the huge construction effort must have been very considerable. One estimate puts the cost in the range of $3–4 billion although only part of this estimate is for cash spending because non-cash investments were also reportedly involved in supporting the construction effort. There must have been a large localised construction boom, the result of which is that a vast new economic asset has been created. On the other hand, current (mid 2014) utilisation of the vast new asset is very low. Most of the remarkable main roads in the city (10 lane roadways are common) are ghost roads for much of the time. There are large areas of vacant land between many buildings. The entire city has sometimes been referred to as a "ghost town". Other descriptions are that Naypyitaw is 'like an enormous film set or an abandoned Disneyland without attractions'
One of the consequences of administration for the nation is that there is now continual travel by vehicles along the relatively new 300 km highway from Yangon to Naypyitaw. But the highway is four lanes for most of the way. There is clearly a large amount of excess capacity because there are relatively few vehicles for much of the time on the road. Remarkably, there are plans to turn the road into a six lane highway because it is believed that a wider road will be safer to travel on. Additional lanes have already been built along some sections of the highway and in some places construction is underway to widen the bridges.
Another consequence of the isolation of the new capital is that the costs of doing business with government have increased considerably. People and organisations (such as from business, community, and international investors and organisations) must usually travel to Naypyitaw, often from Yangon, to meet with senior government officials. Since the round trip by road from Yangon to Naypyitaw takes over 10 hours, the time now spent by senior business and community leaders on travel to meet with government representatives is considerable.
Nay Pyi Taw Parliament, June 2012
Half of a wide boulevard
One of many roundabouts
A bus stop
A toll booth
Uppatasanti Pagoda, western view
Uppatasanti Pagoda, western view
The Uppatasanti Pagoda
The main plaza at the Uppatasanti Pagoda at sunset
Penguin showroom at the Naypyidaw Zoo
The planetarium at the zoo
Inside the Water Fountain Garden
Night market at Myoma Market
- Dulyapak Preecharushh, Naypyidaw: New Capital of Burma, 2009, White Lotus. ISBN 978-9744801302
- "တိုင်းခုနစ်တိုင်းကို တိုင်းဒေသကြီးများအဖြစ် လည်းကောင်း၊ ကိုယ်ပိုင်အုပ်ချုပ်ခွင့်ရ တိုင်းနှင့် ကိုယ်ပိုင်အုပ်ချုပ်ခွင့်ရ ဒေသများ ရုံးစိုက်ရာ မြို့များကို လည်းကောင်း ပြည်ထောင်စုနယ်မြေတွင် ခရိုင်နှင့်မြို့နယ်များကို လည်းကောင်း သတ်မှတ်ကြေညာ". Weekly Eleven News (in Burmese). 20 August 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-23.
- "News Briefs". The Myanmar Times. Myanmar Consolidated Media. 20 March 2006. Retrieved 1 April 2006.
- Pedrosa, Veronica (20 November 2006). "Burma's 'seat of the kings'". Al Jazeera. Archived from the original on 23 November 2006. Retrieved 21 November 2006.
- Department of Population, Myanmar.
- "Naypyidaw: Burma". Geographical Names. Retrieved 2011-12-06.
- Marshall Cavendish Corporation (2007). World and Its Peoples: Eastern and Southern Asia. Marshall Cavendish. p. 650.
- "An Introduction to the Toponymy of Burma (October 2007) – Annex A" Archived 31 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine. p. 8, The Permanent Committee on Geographic Names (PCGN), United Kingdom Archived 31 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
- "Moving Target". The Irrawaddy. 9 November 2005. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 15 July 2007.
- Ntay, Hla Hla (23 February 2007). Myanmar's new capital offers little in the way of luxuries. Agence France-Presse.
- "Burma's new capital stages parade". BBC News. BBC. 27 March 2006. Retrieved 6 April 2006.
- Kennard, Matt; Provost, Claire (2015-03-19). "Burma's bizarre capital: a super-sized slice of post-apocalypse suburbia". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 Mar 2015.
- McGeown, Kate (8 November 2005). Burma's confusing capital move. BBC News.
- McGeown, Kate (17 June 2006). Burma's confusion over capital. BBC News.
- Zaw, Aung (9 November 2005). Moving Target. The Irrawaddy. Archived 29 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
- "Myanmar's Ghost Capital Rises From The Jungle". 18 November 2011. Retrieved 2011-12-25.
- "Naypyitaw – Dictatorship by Cartography". Himal Southasian. February 2007. Retrieved 29 August 2007.
- "Construction of Myanmar new capital continues". People's Daily Online. Xinhua News. 24 December 2009.
- Living in a ghost town. Bangkok Post. 18 October 2009.
- Peck, Grant (5 October 2007). "Myanmar's Remote Capital Is Still a Work in Progress". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 May 2010.
- The Flying Dutchman: Inside Naypyidaw
- The Australian. "A monument to junta's fear". 16 October 2007
- "As poll looms, Myanmar still building parliament". Reuters. 17 January 2010.
- Myanmar Yellow Pages: Nay Pyi Taw Listings Archived 2 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
- 'Naw Pyi Taw's national guesthouses', Mizzima, 8 November 2014. Archived 13 November 2014 at the Wayback Machine.
- "New hotels rise in Nay Pyi Taw ahead of SEA Games". Weekly Eleven. 10 October 2012. Archived from the original on 13 November 2012. Retrieved 22 October 2012.
- Briefing on construction of Nay Pyi Taw Ngalaik Lake Gardens Archived 2 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
- Myanmar sets up herbal park to promote traditional medicines
- "Myanmar unveils zoo in remote new capital". AFP. 27 March 2008. Archived from the original on 9 September 2011.
- "Built to Order: Myanmar's New Capital Isolates and Insulates Junta". The New York Times. 24 June 2008.
- "Safari Park (Nay Pyi Taw) to open on 12 February". Bi-Weekly Eleven. Yangon. 26 January 2011.
- Archived 14 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
- Than Shwe offers golden lotus to Uppatasanti Archived 25 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
- Uppatasanti Pagoda, replica of Shwedagon Pagoda in Nay Pyi Daw Archived 27 April 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
- Steinberg, David (2009). Burma/Myanmar: What Everyone Needs to Know. Oxford University Press. p. 133. ISBN 978-0-19-539068-1.
- Naypyidaw’s Version of Shwedagon Pagoda Nears Completion Archived 11 August 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
- Weekly Eleven News Journal, Vol. 1, No. 44 (16 August 2006), p. 9.
- "Naypyidaw's Oscar Event". The Irrawaddy. IPG. 12 February 2008. Archived from the original on 19 August 2014.
- Thein Sein (31 March 2011). "Notification No. 7/2011: Formation of Nay Pyi Taw Council" (PDF). New Light of Myanmar. p. 15. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
- 'Call for amending Naypyitaw Development Law', The Nation, December 12, 2014.
- 'Nay Pyi Taw Union Territory Should Be Shrunk, Says MP', Eleven, 11 February 2015.
- Tun, Aung Hla (16 January 2010). "As poll looms, Myanmar still building parliament". Reuters.
- Nikishenkov, Oleg (5 August 2011). "Moscow exports the metro – to Myanmar". Moscow Times. Russia & India Report. Retrieved 8 August 2011.
- Wade, Francis (2 August 2011). "Russia to build metro in Naypyidaw: reports". Democratic Voice of Burma. Retrieved 8 August 2011.
- Sann Oo (5 September 2011). "Subway plan for Nay Pyi Taw too expensive, says minister". Myanmar Times. Archived from the original on 4 February 2012. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- "Built to Order: Myanmar's New Capital Isolates and Insulates Junta". The New York Times. 24 June 2008.
- Varadarajan, Siddharth (21 January 2007). In phantom capital, a city slowly takes shape. The Hindu.
- Win Ko Ko Latt (21 March 2011). "Motorbike ban to be expanded in NPT". Myanmar Times. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 18 August 2011.
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- "Railway schedules of Pyinmana Station to be shifted to Nay Pyi Taw Station" (PDF). The New Light of Myanmar. Ministry of Information. 27 June 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 April 2011. Retrieved 22 July 2010.
- "Import, export licensing moving to Naypyidaw". The Myanmar Times. Myanmar Consolidated Media. 29 May 2006. Retrieved 29 June 2006.
- "News Briefs (New air destinations)". The Myanmar Times. Myanmar Consolidated Media. 12 June 2006. Retrieved 29 June 2006.
- "Myanmar building new airport for capital". Asia One. Archived from the original on 1 May 2011. Retrieved 1 October 2009.
- 'Surrounded by Poverty, a Lifeless Capital Stands Aloof', The New York Times, December 13, 2011.
- An estimated construction cost of $US 4 billion is also given in Insight Guides, Myanmar (Burma), London, APA publications, 2014, p. 198. This guide book describes Naypyidaw (p. 198) as "a sprawling, soulless white-elephant city of empty 8-lane highways and giant concrete buildings."
- For a brief description by a well-known international observer of the situation in late 2012, see Francis Fukuyama, 'What Myanmar Needs', The American Interest, 6 September 2012.
- Nakamura, David; Tharoor, Ishaan (13 November 2014). "Obama's journey through Burma's strange, 'ghost town' capital". The Washington Post. Retrieved 18 March 2015.
- Steve tickner, 'Exploring Naypyidaw, a Capital Built from Scratch', The Irrawaddy, 29 January 2013.
- Construction on some sections of a six-lane highway are already underway (mid 2014) along the highway. Parts of the highway have already been widened to six lanes, and a number of bridges along the road are in the construction stage of being widened. For a discussion of safety concerns about the national highways to Naypyitaw, see the report about plans to improve the highway linking Naypyitaw and Mandalay at Kyaw Hsu Mon, 'Govt Calls for Foreign Investment in 'Death Highway' Upgrade', The Irrawaddy, 29 December 2014.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Naypyidaw.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Naypyidaw.|
- Nay Pyi Daw – A photo album
- Inside Napyidaw, The Flying Dutchman blog, 15 June 2007 (one of first two tourists to visit Naypyidaw, includes lots of photos)
- Abode of Kings in a Derelict Kingdom, Disposable Words blog, 15 June 2007 (second of first two tourists to visit Naypyidaw, more photos)
- BBC Top Gear Series 21 Episode 6
|Capital of Myanmar
6 January 2005 – present
| Succeeded by|
Palembang, Indonesia and Jakarta, Indonesia
|Southeast Asian Games host
| Succeeded by|