Myanmar Hot Air Balloon Festival 2020
There are different festivals in Myanmar (Myanmar Hot Air Balloon being one of them) and big or small – the Myanmar people love a celebration or to have a time off and most of the time is spend with their family ! You’ll always find an event happening in Myanmar except for the rainy season when the number of local festival is quite low. Festivals in Myanmar are based on one main celebration theme: religion and are being celebrate with food, games and all-around entertainment.
But there is specific festival in Myanmar which is not 100% related to the religion: The fire balloon festival is part of Tazaungdaing, the buddhist full moon also known as the light festival. It’s considered to be one of the most dangerous festival in Myanmars: it’s the Myanmar Hot Air Balloon Festival which is held in Taunggyi, in Shan State every year at the end of November.
When is the Tazaungdaing Fire Balloon Festival in 2020?
Date: 21st November 2020 – 31st November 2020
Official Website: Myanmar Festivals 2020
More info: Myanmar Lantern Festival
We’ve put together a list of tips for the , so if you’re there – why not visit these year the Myanmar Hot Air Balloon Festival?
How to Get to Myanmar Hot Air Balloon Festival 2020?
The Festival grounds takes place is Taunggyi which is located close to Inle Lake. From Inle Lake to Taunggyi is a 45 minutes drive by car; there are no regular public buses which runs between these 2 cities so the only way is via a private car if you are not staying in Taunggyi.
By bus is the cheapest way to arrive to Taunggyi. Most of the VIP buses depart Yangon in the evening and arrive at the destination early in the morning; dress accordingly as buses in Myanmar and mornings in Taunggyi tend to be very cold! Buses to Taunggyi depart as well from Bagan or Mandalay is case if you are coming from those locations.
There are no direct flights to Taunggyi; the city is served by the Heho Airport which is located at 50 minutes driver (4o km away). Local taxi can be found at the exit of the airport but if you want a private transfer don’t hesitate to drop us an email.
There are daily flights from Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay or Tachilek to Heho Airport. Most of the flights depart in the morning and usually there are no evening flights to Heho/ Inle Lake.
By Private Car
If you are traveling part of a group this option is a great solution in terms of cost & fun.
Accommodation during Myanmar Hot Air Balloon Festival 2020
Taunggyi Hotels & Guest Houses
With limited supply in terms of hotels & room, Taunggyi is the best option to stay during the Balloon Festival in Myanmar. There are less than 20 hotels in Taunggyi and most of them are in the small category ( less than 30 rooms) and in the lower category class ( 2 and 3*). Currently there are only 3 hotels in Taunggyi in 4* category. If you plan to visit Taunggyi during the balloon festival better book the hotel room in Taunggyi months ahead. Afterwise we will have to book a hotel in an alternative destination as Kalaw and Inle Lake. Prices vary from 70$ to 120$/room/night.
Inle Lake Hotels & Guest Houses
Located 30 km away from Taunggyi and 45 minutes drive is the best option to stay during the balloon festival in Myanmar in case there are no rooms left in Taunggyi. With more than 150 hotels and guesthouse available it’s the perfect solution to stay during the event.
Tip: don’t book a hotel on the lake (which has no connection to the land) as when we will be returning back from the festival boats are not running anymore and we will be not able to get to your hotel. Better book a hotel in Nyaung Shwe or a hotel on the shore with road access.
The downside of this option is is the extra cost of the car from your hotel in Inle Lake to Taunggyi. During the festival the prices are double and since are limited cars available (with decent condition) better book in advance your private car. Prices vary from 20$ to 300$/room/night for the luxury hotels in Inle Lake.
Kalaw Hotels & Guest Houses
Located 70km away from Taunggyi and 1h and 30 minutes this is the extreme option in case there are no more hotel rooms available in Inle Lake and Taunggyi. Kalaw is a quite and lovely hillside town with great views & coffee and plenty of trekking tracks to start from Kalaw to Inle Lake. Price for a hotel room starts from 40$/room per night with breakfast included. This option is the most expensive one due to the distance from Kalaw to Taunggyi.
Myanmar Hot Air Balloon Festival 2020
The huge balloons are made of paper and have with hundreds of candles attached and some come with thousands of fireworks. It’s a magnificent view to see all the huge balloons on fire on the sky and the fireworks which come along.
But in the same time it’s a dangerous event as well. As wind is the one which decide the direction as the balloons are not manually operated it can go in the wrong direction and fall on the thousands of people which come every year to watch it. Death happens every year (so far no foreigner death only local people) and injured people are in the tens every year. Better have a very good travel insurance which you want to attend the balloon festival in Myanmar.
Keep in mind that these is a competition with juries and rules and at the end of the festival there is gonna be a winner; even if the prize is not that much (around 200$ for the winner) it’s the local pride which matters the most.
Tips: How to stay Safe during Myanmar Hot Air Balloon Festival
- Stay away from the big crowds
It’s sound in the same time as a clique and an advice which can not be easy put into action due to the big crowds present at the festival but try to get from the kids and crowded area; in case a balloon comes towards that crowded place they are bigger chance of getting hurt by the other people rather than the balloon itself.
- 2 Hire a guide & local
English is not well talked in these part of Myanmar and most of the locals do not speak the Shakespeare’s language. Having a guide will help you navigate into the crowds, protect you and he know the best & safety place from where to what the explosive balloons.
- 3 Wear Warm Jackets & Gloves
End of November is the beginning of the winter season in Myanmar. Taunggyi is the capital and largest city of Shan State, Myanmar and lies on the Thazi-Kyaingtong road at an elevation of 4,712 feet (1500m) just north of Shwenyaung and Inle Lake within the Myelat region. Being situated at an higher altitude evenings tend to be very cold. In November the average daytime temperature is 18 degrees and evening can get as cold as 12 degrees.
- 4 Have a night vision camera
Most of the action do happen in the evenings. Most of the balloons are in the air during the night time and without a proper night time camera and lens it would be usselles for you to come to the festival without taking good photos.
Stay Safe and enjoy the festival!