One of the coolest festivals this side of the planet has to be Taiwan’s annual hot air balloon festival.
A little freaky to view like but in a super cool way—every summer, the skies of Taitung County in eastern Taiwan are dotted with decorative hot air balloons that drift overhead like giant multi-coloured soap bubbles.
Indeed, the Taiwan International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta is one of the longest in the world—this year (2014) it launched at the end of May, ended in mid-August, saw pilots from 12 countries and hundreds of thousands of tourists and spectators. The festival typically includes fantastic aerial shows (even more spectacular to see with the balloons so brilliantly decked out in ornamental detail), night-glow music concerts, summer ballooning camps (which tourists are encouraged to participate in), and perhaps coolest of all, balloon weddings! And yes, for a fee you can even hitch a ride for an unparalleled panoramic view of the stunning East Rift Valley and grasslands below.
Next summer, 2015, the festival promises more pilots and balloons, more participant countries, more activities, and most importantly more spectators who partake. Just another great reason to visit Taiwan.