Monday, Biking Around Inle Lake and Taunggyi Balloon Festival

Nyaung Shwe, Myanmar
Monday, November 19, 2018
Rented a bike in the morning and rode down to the long wooden bridge at Maing Thauk. Stopped at a few pagodas and temples along the way. Most of the ride was on the main road so there was a little traffic. The walk along the wooden walkway at Maing Thauk is very scenic.

At Maing Thauk, I took a boat across the lake to the other side at Kaung Daing to ride back up to Nyaung Shwe from there. I found a Spanish couple who were doing the same route so we shared a boat for 4000 kyat per person and our bikes. For a boat just for me it would have been 10000 kyats.

I stopped in some more pagodas on the way back. Once I got on the smaller road heading east into the town it was along the lake so the scenery was a lot nicer. I stopped to watch two water buffalo fighting and locking horns.

In the evening, I went to the Taunggyi Hot Air Balloon Festival that is held once a year. There were thousands of people there but it was a huge area. It was like a state fair with big amusement park rides and many food stalls. The locals were getting drunk and rowdy.

The balloons were made by teams who came in with their trucks to great fanfare with drum pounding and singing and dancing. The team would assemble the large balloons in the field with the crowd gathered around them. Then they would partial inflate it and hang little candles in cups in a design all around the outside of the balloon. Then the guy with the big torch would light the main thing in the center and the balloon would take off and show it's design. The balloon that went the highest would win something.

The last few balloons were loaded with fireworks so they would go up and start shooting rockets in all directions. It was a spectacular sight.

PHOTOS

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