Penang Hot Air Balloon Fiesta 2018 Highlights

Since it’s beginning in 2015 the Penang Hot Air Balloon Fiesta has displayed a beautiful assortment of giant hot air balloons. However, it gets better every year! In 2018, the festival featured 7 new balloon designs including a little dog, little heart and Yoda.

The annual balloon festival is usually held during the Chinese New Year celebrations. As a result, it draws huge crowds. In 2018, the fiesta hosted over 100,000 visitors.

Penang Hot Air Balloon contest
An early arrival will allow visitors to beat the crowds and watch the balloons emerge into the rising sun.

Sunrise at Padang Polo Field

In 2018, the annual balloon festival was held at Padang Polo field from 7AM-930PM on Saturday and Sunday, February 24 & 25. The location is ideal to facilitate the large crowd but it is also well positioned for great photos. Therefore, photographers can take advantage of the morning light and enjoy the rising sun.

Penang Hot Air Balloon Fiesta – Yoda

First prize for showmanship goes to the pilot of the Yoda hot air balloon. Due to the early placement of the balloon on the western skyline, Yoda was always a prominent feature at the 2018 Penang Hot Air Balloon Fiesta.

Being situated in the rising sun also created a perfect but ephemeral ambience – although there was plenty of time to enjoy it.

Yoda Penang Hot Air Balloon
Yoda was the Global Travel Press first prize winner for best display. The pilot had the balloon in prominent position for the optimal enjoyment of the visitors.
Penang Hot Air Balloon - Yoda
The Star Wars icon had the advantage of being easily recognized and the pilot clearly had Jedi ambitions.

Top Finishers Penang Hot Air Balloon Fiesta 2018

Other top finishers include the “little dog” design and the local fire truck. Fortunately, the firetruck balloon was driven by a Penang fire fighter with 20+ years of experience. It is a good idea to have a public safety official on hand for the best Penang festivals, just in case. The fire truck kept a low profile and stayed close to the ground.

Penang Hot Air Balloons - little heart and firetruck
Fortunately, there was a fire truck on hand at the 2018 Penang Hot Air Balloon Fiesta. The “little heart” was one of the new designs featured.

Indeed, the Yoda balloon seized the opportunity and stole the show. However, the little dog design put on a good display once they got aloft.

Penang Hot Air Balloon - Little Dog
The new “little dog” design was actually an extremely large dog!
Penang Hot Air Balloon - Parrot Pirate
This US balloon entry featured one eye, a peg leg and beak jewellery. Interesting!
Penang Hot Air Balloon - Owl
The noble owl kept a dignified profile and it was one of the first balloons to appear on the Padang Polo field skyline.

Additional Photos of the Best Penang Hot Air Balloons

Penang Hot Air Balloons
Penang Hot Air Balloons Fiesta
Penang Hot Air Balloons Padang Polo Field
The “little dog” made an imposing figure and was significantly larger than other entries. Unfortunately, they seemed to have a little trouble keeping it upright.
Penang Hot Air Balloon Fiesta attractions
For only 5 ringgit visitors could enter the inside of an inflated balloon.
Penang Hot Air Balloon Festival 2018
As I made my exit I snapped one last photo from the southeast end of Padang Polo field. I look forward to the Penang Hot Air Balloon Festival in 2019. Hopefully, there will be some new designs to follow up on this year’s fantastic entries.