The balloon festival is part of Tazaungdaing, the buddhist full moon also known as the light festival, which celebrates the end of monsoon season. Taunggyi is the capital of Shan State, a region of several ethnic groups and languages, many of whom are represented at the event. Get the low-down on this exciting pyrotechnic display in Taunggyi with astonishing fire balloons in the sky.

This guide is written by Issy D’Arcy Clark and all the photos are provided from Khiri Travel Myanmar.

When is it:

5th – 11th November 2019

What is it:

To celebrate the Tazaungmone full moon, which signals the end of the rainy season, thousands descend on Taunggyi for a 7-day festival. Competing teams build huge paper balloons, decked out with candles and firecrackers, and launch them into the sky each night.

Where is it:

Located just outside the hilltop city of Taunggyi in Shan State, travellers from Yangon can either fly to Heho Airport or take the overnight bus from Aung Mingalar Highway Bus Station to Nyaung Shwe and Taunggyi.

What to expect:

The Taunggyi Fire Balloon Festival is one of the most spectacular events in Myanmar’s calendar. Where else in the world can you see paper balloons, rigged with fireworks being launched into the air before exploding over-head? A health and safety nightmare, be ready for dense and drunken crowds, plus the occasional rogue explosive. But all that aside, it’s a wild and unique adventure, complete with a man-powered Ferris wheel, lots of beer and a spectacular show.

What to bring:

Though the area around Taunggyi, including Inle Lake and Nyaung Shwe, is warm during the day, temperatures drop at night. Much of the festival is open air so jeans and jumpers are advised, but there are plenty of clothing stalls too so you’ll have the option to top off your outfit with a hat, anything from Pokémon beanies to knitted pink bonnets are strongly encouraged. Many bring blankets that serve a variety of purposes – including being somewhere to shelter under in case fireworks spray into the crowd. The festival is situated in a large sloping field so scruffy trainers are best. Bring enough money for the fairground attractions, shops and bars as well as an extra bit for the ride back to your hotel, which can be extortionate late at night.

Where to stay:

Image result for sofitel inle lake myat min hotel
Photo: Sofitel Inle Lake Myat Min Facebook.

Though there are places to stay in Taunggyi, many make for the more scenic town of Nyaung Shwe or even the shores of Inle Lake. The options include:

Sofitel Inle Lake Myat Min Hotel – 09 44263 5270

La Maison Birmane Boutique Hotel – 081 209 329

Inle Cottage Hotel – 09 45919 1917

Ananta Inlay – 09 258 964 991

Immana Grand Inle Hotel – 09 258 955 553

Mingalar Inn – 081 209 899

Thanakha Inle Hotel – 09 325 17799

The Hotel Emperor Inle – 09 45660 9991

Inle Apex Hotel – 09 960 143460

Ostello Bello Nyaung Shwe – 081 209 302

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