Pyin Oo Lwin, Myanmar
Formerly known as Maymyo, a scenic hill town located in the Shan Highlands, some 42 miles east of Mandalay.
The town began as a military outpost established near a small Shan village with two dozen households situated on the Lashio-Mandalay trail between Nawnghkio and Mandalay. In 1896, a permanent military post was established in the town and later, because of its climate, it became a hill station and the summer capital of British Burma.
Pyin On Lwin Balloon Festival
The four day celebration coincides with the November full moon festival and attracts thousands of visitors from across the country. During the daytime beautifully crafted paper lanterns in the shape of different animals are launched into the sky, rising out of the ground and drifting away with the breeze. Once darkness falls, the colossal balloons are brought to the square and decorated with candles. When the balloon rises into the air it's base explodes with fireworks filling the night sky with flashing colours and a cacophony of sound. Some balloons don't make it far off the ground before ignition, spitting fire and sending rockets in all directions, inciting a mix of panic, delight and awe amongst the cheering crowds.