Apart from the traditional Thingyan Water festival, Myanmar has another unique and impressive festival named Taunggyi Tazaungdaing (Taunggyi Balloon Festival). This is a suitable time for tourists to take a Myanmar group tour not only to experience the exciting atmosphere of the festival, but also to spend time with the friends and relatives.
From 1st – 6th of November, thousands of people flock into Taunggyi, who used to be British colony in Myanmar, to take part in Taunggyi Tazaungdaing Festival, or Light Festival. They are the balloon makers, local people and tourists who are taking Myanmar group tour. The main event takes place on November, 6th (the round-moon day) but the activities have begun 5 days before. The balloon competitions, procession, and firework performance which occur all day and night are considered the opening ceremony.
Every people immerse themselves in the festival
The competitions take place at both daylight and night; the colorful balloons are fired in the twinkle night sky. The most popular balloon shapes are elephants, horses, buffaloes, birds, parrots, pigs, fish, and owls (a symbol of luck).
The space is sparkling with many lights and balloons
The crew leader lights the main fireworks fuse, and the ground lines are released
The locals make the balloons from paper, and the awards are given to the most beautiful balloons. In the evening, the sky is full of balloons which are in shapes of ducks, dragons, pigs and elephants. The crowds gather, sing, and yell happily. Some balloons take the burning candles while some others take a basket of firework to the sky. Tourists had better see this scenery from the distance to avoid the anticipated danger.
How to go to Taunggy: From Yangon/ Mandalay International Airport, you can fly to Heho. Here, it takes you 45 minutes to travel by taxi to Taunggyi. You should rent a local tour guide who can speak English.
Where to stay: Accommodation is shortage in Taunggyi during the festival, especially for those who take Myanmar tour group. Inle Lake, where is 30 km far away, provides more selections including Inle Princess Resort with the direct view to the lake. The spacious resort and luxurious facilities make this place become the ideal accommodation for you in a Myanmar group tour. Inle Lake is also the only place in Myanmar where you can see the fishermen rowing a boat by one leg.
What to eat: During the festival, the restaurants and vendors in Taunggyi often serve the traditional dishes of Shan people such as rice with pickled ribs, and sweet and sour noodle. In Inle Lake, you can enjoy the traditional vegetarian dishes of the Intha in Inthar Heritage House.
What to buy: You can buy kinds of garment woven by the Intha, Pa-O and Shan artisans in both Taunggyi and Inle Lake. Besides, there are many interesting souvenirs like haversacks, traditional costumes…
Fried foods are available on the street
Differing from the modern balloons which are made of nylon or artificial garments, the balloons taking part in the Taungyyi Festival are made from traditional paper of the Shan. This thin and as tough as garment kind of paper is extracted from the mulberry’s bark.
The balloon is decorated with a lot of pattern