Taiwan's International Hot Air Balloon Festival, held every year in Taitung County during the summer, is one of the premiere tourism events in the country. Prepare to be amazed by an array of balloons, or enjoy the amazing natural scenery in Taitung by taking a tethered or non-tethered hot air balloon ride.
Taiwan's hot air balloon festival started in 2011 in Luye Township of Taitung County, as a way for Taitung County to promote hot air balloon tourism.
In 2013 the event changed its name to the Taiwan International Hot Air Balloon Festival and began to invite hot air balloons from other countries.
Tethered balloon ride (熱氣球繫留體驗): 550 NT to 650 NT
Non-tethered balloon ride （熱氣球空中自由飛行): about 10,000 NT
Paragliding (滑翔傘): 1800-2500 NT
Hours/When to go:
Tethered Balloon Ride (熱氣球繫留體驗): 4PM- 6:30PM or 4:30AM to 6:30AM (July to August). The ride lasts about 5 minutes.
Ticketing website: https://ttpass.tw/category/143
Untethered balloon ride （熱氣球空中自由飛行): Usually between 4AM and 6AM
Ticketing website: http://www.skyrainbow.com.tw/booking.php \ (there are others)
Warning: Hot Air Balloons can be cancelled with short notice due to bad weather such as too much wind, rain, or influence of a Typhoon.
Check out a live feed of the Luye highland here:
How to get there:
By Train/Bus: From Taitung TRA station, there is a shuttle bus that leaves to Luye Highland at 4:10AM, 4:30AM, and 4:50AM, as well as 3PM, 3:30PM, and 4PM (75-120 NT per ride).
Or, take the TRA to Luye station, and then walk, take a taxi, or take a bus to Luye Highlands (the train station is roughly 2 kilometers away from the highlands).
By Car: From Taipei, take National Highway 5 to Yilan, then drive south on provincial road 9 until you get to Luye. See the map below for the location of the Highlands. It will be hard to miss.
By Plane: Fly into Taitung Airport from Taipei, then take a taxi/bus to the highlands.
Please see below:
I have been to Luye Highlands about three times, but I have only been to the hot air festival once in 2020. To see our previous blog about Luye Highland, click here.
Above is a list of balloons shown by the city government for 2020. There are also other balloons brought in from overseas. However there are less this year because foreigners must undergo 14 day quarantine in order to enter Taiwan.
Above is a map of the highland and a timetable for the shuttle bus to Taitung City.
We decided to go to the morning session. We had to get there before sunrise at about 5:00. The moon was shining bright then.
At 5AM the place was already packed. We came by bus, but it seems like most other people came by car. There is a large parking lot nearby.
The first balloon of the morning started to go up. He is no pulling on the balloon, just keeping it steady as it lifts up.
The first balloon lighting up the grasslands. You can see the sun starting to come up over the horizon.
No drone flying allowed here.
More balloons start to go up.
People start going on the tethered rides.
The balloons are tied to three ropes that keep them steady over the ground.
View of the balloons over the morning sky.
I decided to get in the balloon too.
Look up inside the EVA air balloon I rode.
I got in the balloon but they said it was too heavy, so I had to get out and wait for the next ride.
I made a video of the tethered ride experience above. Enjoy.
Just so you know, it is really hot in the balloon. It's like being in an oven. If you are a tall person, be careful to not catch your hair on fire.
Lifting up over the Luye Plain.
The sun rises out of the clouds.
Another view to the east.
Looking at the mountains to the south.
Looking down to the north.
Looking at the Huadong Valley.
Looking over to the east.
Another balloon appears next to us.
View inside the balloon.
Looking south with a balloon shadow on the ground.
To the east of the highland is a small shipping container from which you can go paragliding. It costs a few hundred NT per ride. They do not start as early as the hot air balloons though.
This is where you would start your paragliding jump.
View of the southern end of the Huadong Valley.
Also nearby are a few "green tunnels" which are just roads with trees growing on either side. For some reason Taiwanese people like laying in the middle of the road here.
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more blogs on Taiwan to come!
We are US Expats that have extensive experience living, working, and travelling in Taiwan. In our day, we had to learn many things about Taiwan the hard way. But we have come to learn that Taiwan is one of the best places in the world for Foreigners to live. Our blog does not represent the opinions of every foreigner in Taiwan. We are just trying to help others learn more about this beautiful country.