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Every year the city of Taunggyi holds a balloon festival. During the day they release large hot air balloons in the shapes of animals. But at night the beautiful candle balloons and the fireworks balloons take flight. It runs for a full week. The last two nights, Thursday and Friday, are said to be the best, so we went on Thursday night (we returned to Yangon on the Friday).

My one piece of advice to anyone going to the balloon festival, is that you go earlier in the week. That is, unless you enjoy huge crowds of drunk young men who like to play a game similar to corners in the highly congested pathways. Each group, including us, formed long lines linked by hands as we snaked our way through the festival avoiding said drunks, cars, trucks (what were they doing in the festival area?!), and parades. The cold didn’t matter at this point as the body heat of thousands of people kept me comfortably warm.

I don’t know how the candle balloons work. The outside of the balloons are adorned with candles forming a shape (usually of a local business), and contain a train of candles shaping words. How do they stay lit? How do they not burn the balloon? I have no idea. But they look amazing.

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