This year’s Putrajaya International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta (PIHABF or #MyBalloonFiesta) proves to be bigger and the better than the last, judging from what we saw on the first day (Thursday, 12th March).
Known to be the premier ballooning event in Malaysia, PIHABF began in 2009 and has since been held annually. Since its inception, the festival has garnered a strong following from international balloonists and continues to feature balloonists from all around the world including France, the US, Germany, Japan, Belgium, Switzerland, Vietnam, the Netherlands, Thailand, India, Spain, and Malaysia, just to name a few. In the past 7 years, it has seen some of the most anticipated balloons including the Superbike, Darth Vader, and Doraemon.
Needless to say, the annual event became an instant hit with fans of all ages from kids to their grandparents, to cartoon and sci-fi enthusiasts, and even us! In fact, the fiesta draws huge number of tourists every year, numbering tens of thousands from all over the world. Based on the 6th PIHABF survey report, it attracted visitors fro over 70 countries.
We were there for the 4th instalment of PIHABF, which took place in 2012, and we’ve been going back every year ever since.
What made this year’s PIHABF different from the previous years was that for 2015, the fiesta featured first-time balloon appearances including the famous Van Gogh head hot air balloon (that incidentally celebrated its 150th anniversary), the notorious Green Monster, and Humpty Dumpty – all 3 floated through Putrajaya’s skyline over the weekend.
According to the organisers, there was a whopping total of 17 hot air balloons on site from the likes of the United States, the Philippines, Korea, Spain, France, Holland, Thailand, Belgium, Australia, and of course, Malaysia.
Let’s not forget that this year’s “Night Glow” event was held on both the 3rd and 4th night of the fiesta, a major upgrade considering the fact that it’s the first time that it was held over 2 nights.
Other exciting upgrades included:
MyBalloonClub – The newly introduced premium gourmet breakfast experience that promised the best viewing seats away from the busy fiesta crowd.
Helicopter Joyride – This year, the attraction featured a brand new chopper with a business class interior that seats up to 6 passengers (excluding pilot).
The Bazaar – With a new look and feel, the bazaar featured a market fare of clothing accessories and special appearances by local celebrities coordinated by KL Calling. There were also a revolving cast of food stalls and trucks curated by Fried Chillies and Rock and Tulips.
Activities Galore – An array of activities greeted the public, including the launch field access for fans to get closer with the inflating balloons, cold inflation whereby visitors were allowed to take pictures with their loved ones in a half inflated balloon, outdoor laser tag, orb ball, paintball, wind chamber, and even a motion 3D rider.
Missed it? Fret not. The PIHABF is set to return again next year, in March!
For more pictures from the 7th PIHABF, check out our Facebook album here. As mentioned above, we were there bright and early (6am!) on the first day of the 7th PIHABF (12th March) to witness the setup so check out our coverage on our Instagram here.