After our friends had carried out research and invited us to the Balloon Festival we didn't know what to expect. Well, I lie. I had expectations for lots of balloons and I guess clowns making balloons. I did not expect anything as magnificent as this.
What actually took place was hot air balloons, not blow up balloons.
The night before the lantern festival was a hot air balloon festival. We jumped in our songthaew with our friends and headed to the spot, which while 5 kms away took over half an hour because of the traffic.
A songthaew is like the jeepneys in the Philippines. An open back truck with 2 long benches facing each other to sit on. A ride anywhere is 20B per person, 0 for kids. But if you actually ask for a price they will assume you are privately hiring them and charge you a lot more. When divided amongst the several families it was still negligible though.
The Balloon Festival was surprisingly delightful. Pretty lanterns in trees, shining lasers on the grass. Rows of restaurant canteens set up right near a stage playing live music. And the centrepiece of it all was a number of hot air balloons on the ground.
At the appointed time these balloons started a symphony of flame throwing and the sky light up with not only their display, but fireworks as well. It was a stunning visual display that my 3 year old enjoyed, but my 2 year old was slightly spooked.
A few of our group came to the festival at sunrise to watch the balloons take to the skies and said it was also magical. Josh & I last year had just gone hot air ballooning over the beautiful countryside of Northam, Australia at sunrise and so were more than happy to just witness the evening's festivities.
Afterwards we danced in front of the stage, until my ankles could no longer take the mossie bites and my kids could no longer stand. They were lethal and if you are visiting any psot with grass/trees or anywhere I recommend the Aeroguard.
The other families seemed ready to leave as well so we all headed out to the road and jumped in a songthaew for our return home.
This event was a great precursor to the main event. I’ll let the pictures do the talking.