Live Phuket The Phuket News Kata Rocks The Phuket News Outrigger Koh Samui Beach Resort
The Phuket News World News
The Phuket News Phuket | Thailand | World | Business | Q&A | Weird World XML, RSS, Feed
The Phuket News The Phuket News
The Phuket News

Dicing with death at Myanmar's fire balloon festival

MYANMAR: The skies of central Myanmar were set ablaze this week with the beginning of the Taunggyi fire balloon festival, one of the most beautiful and dangerous celebrations in Asia.

culture, tourism,


Thursday 17 November 2016, 11:22AM

Explosive-laden balloons regularly crash to the ground during the Tazaungdaing Lighting Festival in Myanmar, causing panic below, but visitors say the sight is worth the risk. Photo: Ye Aung Thu/AFP
Explosive-laden balloons regularly crash to the ground during the Tazaungdaing Lighting Festival in Myanmar, causing panic below, but visitors say the sight is worth the risk. Photo: Ye Aung Thu/AFP

Brightly coloured balloons with hundreds of homemade fireworks woven into their frames were sent soaring into the night sky, showering down cascades of sparks onto adoring crowds.

The explosive-laden balloons regularly crash to the ground, causing panic below, but visitors say the sight is worth the risks.

“I’m very happy and also afraid,” 22-year-old Maung Maung Myint, who travelled to the capital of Shan state from Mandalay, said last Friday night.

“It’s scary when the fireworks fly right at me,” he added.

The November celebration has become a highlight of the annual Tazaungdaing festival of light that marks the end of Myanmar’s rainy season.

While the tradition is rooted in Buddhism, the hot air balloon contest itself was started by British colonialists in the late 19th century.

Visitors from around the world flock to see the extraordinary explosions of light and colour, which police predicted would draw up to 50,000 visitors a day this year.

“I’ve never seen so many people. It’s absolutely crazy, but everyone is having a good time,” said Mark Boyd, 41, from Britain’s Isle of Man.

“It wouldn’t be allowed in my country. They were dangerous but it was great.”

The huge crowds, lack of safety precautions and homemade fireworks have proved deadly in the past.

In 2014, three people were killed when a balloon crashed onto spectators below. A young child also died when a balloon was blown into the family’s tent.

And it is not only balloons that set pulses racing. Visitors can also witness more death-defying feats on a human-powered ferris wheel at the festival’s fairground.

Workers scamper across the 50-foot high rickety structure like spider monkeys, using their body weight to send it spinning around at extraordinary speed.

Some dangle from the bars as the ride hurtles toward the ground, while others swing between the bars upside down as the wheel turns.

But for the balloon makers, who see months of painstaking work disappear in minutes, the competition is serious business as they battle to create the most brilliant spectacle of light.

“Before last year I had won every time. Even so I have never got less than third,” said Thaw Thar Win, who led a group of balloon makers.

“It’s not difficult because I am working with a team.”



The Phuket News
The Phuket News
Comment on this story
* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.
Comments Here:
    Forget your password?

Be the first to comment.

The Phuket News
The Phuket News The Phuket News The Phuket News
The Phuket News
Share this
The Phuket News
Have a news tip-off? Click here
The Phuket News
Related stories
The Phuket News
Phuket community

Recent Comments

Back in black: Wastewater returns to Phuket’s Surin Beach

It's like a hot potato nobody wants to hold. Talk about passing the buck here! What a farce!...(Read More)

Italian man dies in Phuket motorbike crash

The cheaper helmets here that only cover the top of the head are not much use from a safety perspective. The strap is the weakest part....(Read More)

Phuket police chief says no explosion in marina accident, blames fire extinguisher

The explanation does not seem to fit the facts. Fire extinguisher pins do not slip off easily and then one has to activate the extinguisher via the tr...(Read More)

Transport Minister orders urgent action to end to Phuket Airport queues

It were Singapore/german/dutch professionals who made Suvarnabhumi airport working. Why not ask Singapore professionals to make Phuket International ...(Read More)

Phuket property prices not just about the beach

Andy: What hole? Just giving the facts....(Read More)

Thai women injured by falling branch at Phuket beach

So, not only are Phuket beaches dirty, polluted by released waste water, including feces, but now even dangerous when one look for the shadow of the t...(Read More)

Phuket Hotels Association unveils ‘Brand Phuket’ at Thailand Tourism Forum

With respect for the initiatives of PHA, ---as long Phuket has a dysfunctional/cripple International Airport, ---as long the Phuket transport maf...(Read More)

Transport office exonerates Phuket visa-run service in fatal crash

All evidence and facts show that the 'Make Up Transport Parlor' PLTO eats out of the Transport mafia hands. PLTO Chief talks nonsense and swe...(Read More)

The Phuket News
Bangkok Hospital Phuket
Weird World
The Phuket News PHUKET LIFE
Phuket Arts
Phuket Community
Phuket Culture
Phuket Dining
Phuket Education
Phuket Entertainment
Phuket Environment
Phuket Health
Phuket People
Phuket Technology
Phuket Travel
Photo Galleries
The Phuket News PHUKET SPORT
Phuket Buy and Sell
Phuket Jobs
Phuket Property
Phuket Cars and Boats
Phuket Community
Phuket Services
The Phuket News The Phuket News PHUKET EVENTS
Phuket Event listings
Phuket Event calendar
Buy Tickets
Phuket Bars, pubs and clubs
Phuket Hotels and villas
Phuket Restaurants
Phuket Yellow Pages
The Phuket News BARGAINS
The Phuket News ABOUT US
The Company
Distribution points
Advertise with us
Pay for advert
Contact us
Content Google Map
Site map
Australian Visa Services
Currency - The Phuket News   Weather Report - The Phuket News   Surf Report - The Phuket News
LinkedIn - The Phuket News   Twitter - The Phuket News   YouTube - The Phuket News   Facebook - The Phuket News
Copyright © 2017 Class Act Media. All rights reserved. | Website usage terms and conditions | Privacy and Confidentiality Statement.