Up in the mountains of Shan state, in the east of Myanmar is getting ready for a spectacular balloon festival. It will be held between 29 October and 3 November 2017. The event will see the launch of 393 traditional made paper balloons.
In a remote field in the mountains in mysterious Shan state in Myanmar, a yearly tradition is about to become even bigger. The whole country celebrates Tazaungdaing, the festival of lights in the middle of November. Especially the festivities in Taunggyi – the capital of Shan State are going to be more spectacular than ever, according to the organising committee.
During 6 days (from Sunday 29 October till Friday 3 November) there are food stalls, shops and games setup at the festival grounds south of Taunggyi. In total 266 papier-mâché hot air balloons in different shapes and sizes are launched in the afternoon between 11:00 a.m. and 15:00 p.m. In the evening around 20:00 p.m., it’s time for in total 127 big fire balloons. Once the balloon reaches a height of about 20 meters the fireworks attached to the balloons explode in all directions. A fun and fascinating festival which everybody should see at least once while in Myanmar.
Myanmar Tourism Marketing confirmed that there will be special-marked areas for foreign tourists to watch the launching of the balloons from a safe distance. Walking around the festival field is much fun as well, as thousands of Shan people are joining the grounds for some food, drinks and games.
The festival has been running for many decades and the Shan people are keen to keep the tradition of making these typical balloons alive. “I attended the festival last year and could not believe the size of these traditional balloons,” said an expat living and working in Yangon. “When they are all lit-up it’s magical and fantastic to experience – it is unlike any kind of firework display I have ever seen anywhere else” – he continued.
If you’re not in Taunggyi area (near the famous tourist destination – Inle Lake) around that time, it’s still a great time to travel in Myanmar. The monsoon rains are gone and their only reminder is a lush green scenery all over the country. It’s the time that yellow robes (and many other accessories) are offered to monks around the country. During the days before the festival, you will see bamboo poles with donations (including banknotes folded in beautiful shapes) around towns and villages.
During the festival, hot air balloons are launched throughout the country, although at a smaller scale and most of the temples organise weaving competitions. It’s a good time to be in any mid-sized town in Myanmar.
For the first time, the Myanmar government announced additional public holidays during the Tazaungdaing festival to compensate for the reduced number of days off during the annual Myanmar New Year in April. As a result, most Myanmar people will have leave from 2 – 5 November and use this long weekend to travel around the country. Be sure to book accommodation, flights etc. in time.
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