Taunggyi Hot Air Balloon FestivalTunggyi Hot Air Balloon Festival
Taunggyi Fire Balloon Festival
The Taunngyi Fire Balloon Festival, which is staged every November for several nights in the cultural diversity of the Shan state city, is just the thing for you if your imagination of having a good time brings with it a blurred blaze of blur. The festival is celebrated around the full moon of Tazaungmon, Myanmar's end of the wet seasons, also known as the Tazaungdaing Festival of Lights.
Though the release of a balloon is a nominal sacrifice to heaven to fend off bad minds, and the celebration is deeply ingrained in Buddhist and Hindu cosmology (it is also known in Thailand as Loi Krathong), the British began the hot -air balloon contest in Taunggyi at the end of the1900s.
This is an unusually noisy and lively occasion that indeed bears some resemblance to today's West African musical festivals: first, there is a lot of noise - but there are also big-wheelers (? driven by young men instead of petrol or electricity); power drinks donors (though only on the spot - no Red Bull); and lots of beers and meals that are still available in the early mornings ('til 6am) in temp booths, dancing venues and pubs.
The Taunggyi Festival is something special because of the hot air bubbles themselves. They will of course be the focus of the whole tournament by a number of participating crews. Excitement begins every morning in the early afternoons, during the daytime the giant ballons are formed in the form of wildlife, from poultry to cattle.
When you are here with a young couple or if you want a quieter tempo, this is the festival season, because it is in the evenings that things get more nervous - and more dramatic. At nightfall, the hot air balloons are let go about every half-minute and come in two different groups - one that are nicely illuminated and calmly climb up into the skies, and one that is loaded with a thousand pyrotechnics.
Then the pyrotechnics break out into an unusual multi-coloured showers - lasting up to 15 mins. Too often there is a dysfunction and either the firework starts too early and shoots into the audience, or the balloon itself bursts and falls to the floor in a fireball.
Unfortunately, over the years this has sometimes resulted in injury and even casualties; to be on the safe side, it is important to keep a good gap to the balloon. But if you take enough attention, you will be able to savour a truly unforgettable and visible event that will stand next to the best of Myanmar's many beautiful festival venues - and where you will have the opportunity to dive into your own native civilization and see only a few other foreign visitors.
Have a look at our YouTube video from the Fire Balloon Festival by sunrise and sunset and for a larger choice of Fire Balloon Festival pictures see our flicks. You will find upcoming festival events in our festival calender. Please be aware that the price of overnight stays in Taunggyi has risen during the festival, but more car rental in Nyaung Shwe takes 45 mins.
You can book a Myanmar trip including the Taunggyi Balloon Festival or other festival.