Friday, March 20, 2015

The 7th Putrajaya International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta 2015


Photo By: Elin Chow

The Putrajaya International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta was back for its 7th year and thanks to my lovely colleagues for organizing, I was glad that I actually have the chance to visit and participate in the event this year.

Putrajaya International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta

The annual Putrajaya International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta was held from 12th March to 15th March 2015 at Putrajaya Precinct 2, just next to Millennium Monument (also known as Monumen Alaf Baru) and near to the Putrajaya Lake (also known as Tasik Putrajaya). Be expected to see over 20 unique balloons from 13 countries taking flight and filled the skies with amazing array of colors.


The Fiesta is divided into 7 color zones, each offering different experiences.

Just strolling along the Putrajaya lake, admiring the beauty of Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin Mosque (also known as Iron Mosque). 

Covering a total of 650 hectares in size, Putrajaya lake is a man-made lake that is commonly used for various recreational activities and water sports.

MyBalloonClub

MyBalloonClub is the latest feature of the Fiesta this year, offering its members the exclusive option to break away from the crowds and enjoy the best picturesque view of the balloons flying against the sky while listening to music and dining on a gourmet buffet breakfast.

Located exactly at Monumen Alaf Baru with a private entrance, MyBalloonClub members will be entitled to admission to the Balloon Launching Field and tethered hot air balloon rides.

Giant Bubble Putrajaya

Be excited to make the biggest bubbles you had ever played with at the Giant Bubble Putrajaya stations in three different locations - Picnic Area (Pink Zone), Bazaar (Yellow Zone) and Balloon Village (Red Zone).

There were kids running everywhere, chasing and popping the giant bubbles in the air. 






Picnic Area

Not far away from the Blue Zone launching field and MyBalloonClub, we came upon the Picnic Area. This was a great venue for families and friends to gather and enjoy a relaxing picnic with a stunning view of Putrajaya Lake while watching the colorful hot air balloons float across the blue sky. Sounds wonderful? But unfortunately, it was not a great experience for us as the weather was unbearably hot to enjoy.


We managed to catch a nice view of the Putrajaya bridge too. 


Since we were not keen on the idea of sitting in the sun, we headed over to the Kids Play Area instead.

Kids Play Area

Location: Yellow Zone
Time: 8 am to 10 pm

For parents with kids, a play area has been set up where children can engage in various fun and physical activities throughout the entire day.



Go-Kart 

There was a mini Go-Kart circuit where kids were excited to race in their own cars. I wish they had an adult circuit, so that I could join in the fun too.


Inflatables

Duration: 30 minutes
Ticket price: RM 5

The colorful inflatable castles will provide kids with endless hours of bouncing fun!



Cold Inflation

Duration: 3 minutes
Ticket Price: RM 5

The Cold Inflation offers you an opportunity to walk and take a few photos inside a gigantic hot air balloon!  

Archery 

Ticket Price: RM 8 per 20 arrows

Draw your bow and test your aiming skills at the Archery booth. 


Solo Sky Rider

Ticket Price: RM 20

Or would you like to be strapped to a seat attached to dozens of white balloons and soar high up in the air? It must be a very unique experience for most people.

Food & Bazaar Area

Location: Purple Zone

Feeling extremely thirsty or hungry after a day of fun at the Fiesta? Do not worry as there were plenty of food and drinks stalls in the Food & Bazaar Area for you to grab some quick snacks and iced-cold refreshments.


I think I would faint if I am asked to stand under the scorching sun in a Panda mascot costume for hours. I really wonder how that poor guy survive in that mascot costume.

There was nothing special at the Bazaar, just a dozen of stalls selling food, drinks, clothing and various art and crafts items.


Do you have something which you want to do before you die? If yes, you have the chance to write your wish down on the "Before I die, I want to..." board located at the Bazaar Area. The board was already filled with wishes by the time we reached the area.


Getting some cold drinks from one of the stalls as the weather was just too hot. 

The one and only game stall we found at the Bazaar Area. It was actually quite disappointing. 

We also visited one of the booth to learn about the basic structure of a hot air balloon.

A quick welfie before we headed to IOI City Mall, Putrajaya for lunch and movie.

Helicopter Joy Rides

Location: Orange Zone
Time: 9 am to 1 pm & 2 pm to 4pm
Duration per ride: 5 to 7 minutes
Ticket Price: RM 150 per person

Hop on a helicopter and experience Putrajaya from a bird's eye view. Different from the previous year, this year features a brand new 6 leather seating (excluding pilot) chopper with business class interior offering a carpeted floor, large windows and air-conditioner.

For most people, I believe this will undoubtedly be an unique and unforgettable experience of a lifetime. However much we wanted to go on a helicopter, we could not bring ourselves to spend RM 150 for a 7 minutes ride. 

Instead, we just waited on an empty pavement and watched the helicopter took off with 6 other passengers, only to land in front of our eyes again after just a few minutes. 



While watching, I was glad that I have managed to capture a short video of the helicopter taking off.

Free Flying Area

Location: Blue Zone
Time: 7 am & 6 pm

The highlight of the Fiesta was the hot air balloon launching shows that happened twice daily (subjected to weather conditions). 

Since we did not managed to arrive early enough to catch the morning session, we had to wait until late afternoon to catch the evening show. At 5 pm in the evening, crowds began to gather around the launching field, shutting down all the traffic on that road.

Thousands of people waited patiently behind metal fences, excited to witness the launch of the hot air balloons.

Why not take a welfie while waiting for the show to start?

Inflating a hot air balloon is a team effort (usually 4 persons), since it can be very cumbersome on ground.

The first step is to spread the envelope out on the ground and attach it to the basket that comes with a burner.

The burner burns Propane to heat the air inside the balloon. With a fan, the hot air is blown into the envelope, bringing it into a vertical position.

After an hour of waiting, the first balloon took its flight into the sky. By that time, most of us were feeling really tired and famished, so we decided to leave early to fill our stomach up.


I have also managed to capture a short video of the balloon launching show. 

Night Glow With Fireworks

The most biggest highlight of the event was the Night Glow performances that was held on the 14th and 15th March. As the pilots ignite the burners, be amazed to see dozens of hot air balloons lighting up the dark sky with a spectacular fireworks display.

Final Thoughts

Overall, we had enjoyed our day at the Fiesta, though it was a little bit disappointing as we were unable to stay late enough to catch the Night Glow performance. For those who had missed out all the fun this year, be sure to look out for this annual event next year!

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