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Squatting at the foot of Mandalay Hill on the Irrawaddy River, Mandalay is a haphazard city littered with pagodas. The former royal capital in the north of Myanmar (formerly Burma) was founded in 1857. Bombed unmercifully in World War II, much of it was rebuilt in a mish mash fashion. Awash in smoke puffing cars and raucous motorbikes, the city at times is swallowed up by smog. If you overlook these niggles, Mandalay has a charm all of its own with plenty of markets to explore, monasteries to meander around, temples and mosques to gawk at and a bustling vibrant riverfront. You can take time out from getting your stuff done at a coworking venue and hang out in a teahouse with the friendly locals or trash a credit card at one of the many gold workshops. Located 716km north of Yangon, Mandalay is the 2nd largest city in the country plus the economic and cultural heart of Upper Myanmar.

Myanmar has been under military rule for decades that shut down any potential for a thriving economy; hence it's one of the poorest countries in the world. It's now rising from its past and with its new democracy there is a new wave of entrepreneurs in the country's large cities, plus it's experiencing an increase in its garment industry and tourism. Local gung-ho innovative minds are attempting to accelerate change and development considering Myanmar has one of the highest and 4th fastest growing smartphone and mobile phone user demographics in the world. Innovation labs are opening doors and inventive tech companies are having success in the fields of e-commerce, food and health apps.

Its startup scene is happening but slowly, as its intrepid souls attempt to overcome barriers. Coworking venues are providing support and a place to share ideas amongst its tech savvy and industrious locals.

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