Taking place in the culturally diverse capital of Shan State, the Taunggyi Balloon Festival is celebrated once a year on the second Festival of Lights after Buddhist Lent, a Myanmar national holiday that marks the end of rainy season.
This year, the festival will be held from 16th to 22nd November. Traditionally, it is rooted in Buddhist and Hindu cosmology, in which the natives pay homage to the Sulamani Temple by releasing decorative balloons towards the heavens to ward away evil spirits. However, this is not a sleepy meditative religious event but more akin to a music festival with thousands of local people enjoying a carnival-like atmosphere.
The hot air balloon competition goes on all day long and until late at night, allowing different villages and families from all over the area to show their home-made hot air balloons. During the daylight, it is the kids’ show, with huge balloons created in the shapes of animals - including anything from birds to tigers or elephants. When the night falls, villages take turns to release their huge balloons.
There are two categories – balloons that are beautifully lit up and ascend serenely into the sky, and ones attached to fireworks. The paper balloons are 4-6 metres high and decorated on the outside with colourful lanterns made of cellophane. Lights are also attached to the lanterns, giving the balloons a different pattern. The hot air balloons rise quickly because of the flame heating the air inside the balloon. The firework balloons feature a 3-5 metres long trail with various fireworks, which burst into extraordinary, multi-coloured showers lasting up to 15 minutes.
Contact our experts to add this splendid experience, spice up to your itinerary, and immerse yourself in the local culture of a true Myanmar festival.