If you’re looking for a unique vacation, you might want to consider getting yourself to Myanmar from November 16-22. Those are the dates of Myanmar’s hot air balloon festival. The event is set at the end of the Buddhist Lent. (It is always the week before the new moon of November.) This event brings teams together from all over the country to launch paper balloons in a one-of-a-kind hot air balloon competition.
What you need to know about Myanmar
Now, you may be wondering where, exactly is Myanmar? It is the Southeast Asian country also known as Burma. It is a nation rich in natural resources but one that was cut off from most of the world until 2011 because of human rights violations. Although the nation was virtually shut off to foreign travel for many decades, today it is fairly open to tourists. However the nation still suffers from internal, religious conflict.
But the purpose of Myanmar’s Hot Air Balloon Festival is to bring together people from across this conflict-riddled nation, to peacefully celebrate cultural tradition. If ever there was a reason to visit this troubled nation, a chance to stand shoulder to shoulder with people from all walks of life in peaceful celebration would be it. The event is held in Taunggyi, the capital of the Shan state. It is held on a fair grounds just outside the city, very near to iconic Inle Lake. To accompany the balloon festivities, games, carnival rides and food stalls are set up for the spectators enjoyment.
The high point of Myanmar’s hot air balloon festival
During the first three days of the event, the balloons are carried off only during the day. However, the last four days of the event offer something truly unforgettable. To close out the event, spectators are treated to torchlit processions through Taunggyi’s streets to the festival field. Then the fire-lit evening balloons lift off into the night sky. It is a romantic experience and one many say is one of the best ways to experience Myanmar.
For more information on Myanmar, visit the Myanmar travel website.
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