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Taunggyi is the capital of Shan State, in eastern Myanmar, known for its scenic beauty and pleasant climate, has an estimated population of 380,665 as of 2014, making it the fifth largest city in Myanmar. The weather is cool year-round and the area is colorful with lovely flowers, pine trees and green orchards. The name Taunggyi means “huge mountain” in the Burmese language, and is named after the ridge on the east of the city, part of the Shan Hills system, whose prominent high point is called Taung-chun or “The Spur.” One un-forgettable sight is to observe the flock of the tribal or ethnic people who come down the market every 5th day to sell their luscious vegetables, fruits, and flowers.

The Taunggyi Fire Balloon Festival is usually held during November, around the full moon day of Tasaungmone.  Festival highlights include launching of hot air paper balloons several meters in length in the shape of various animals which are sent floating over the town (if they don’t spontaneously combust on take-off, a relatively common occurrence). In the evening the carnival really gets going   with the launching of more traditionally shaped balloons carrying cargoes of sweets and fireworks.  This is one of Myanmar’s most popular festivals, with memories to last a lifetime.