Floating effortlessly through the air with no cabins, engines or propellers is a dream most people have. Opportunities to do this don’t come often, so if you’re keen on riding the breeze, do mark your calendar for the Putrajaya International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta this month.
The fourth instalment of this colourful and breathtaking event promises to be hotter, bigger and more exciting than before, and a fiesta like no other in the country. Over a four-day period, visitors can experience flight in tethered hot air balloons and watch as a multitude of others, some uniquely shaped (Darth Vader and Doraemon were the stars last year), take to the skies at specific times. You can also splurge on a helicopter ride for a bird’s-eye view of Putrajaya.
For the hot air balloon and helicopter flights, do take note that you will have to arrive very early for tickets. If you miss out, don’t despair, as there is a vast array of ground activities to keep things rolling, including archery and kart races and competitions for children. Adrenaline junkies can try high-octane activities such as paintball, rock climbing and paragliding, which proved to be hits last year.
The action doesn’t stop there. Running concurrently with the fiesta for the first time will be the Touch Rugby Carnival and Putrajaya Bicycle Fiesta, with the latter featuring radball shows (football on bikes!), a mini folding bike race, artistic cycling and bike clinics, among others.
This year, the balloonists will also be competing in a special “hare and hound” competition to add a little rivalry to proceedings. Think of it as a game of tag on massive airborne proportions!
Perhaps the most highly anticipated attraction is the Night Glow show on the third night of the fiesta. Participating balloons are decked out in special luminous materials and glow as the heat from the burners lifts them into the night sky. With a spectacular fireworks display as a backdrop, you should not miss this one-off experience.
Putrajaya’s vast open spaces and beautiful low-rise architecture provide the perfect location to admire these seemingly flimsy creations that rise almost magically on just heated air. Whether a family picnic outing, or some serious earth–and–sky action, Putrajaya is where to be in March.
Written by Michael Kuscher