Taunggyi is the capital of Shan State, Myanmar (Burma) and lies within the Myelat region. Taunggyi has an estimated population of 380,665 as of 2014,making it the fifth largest city in Myanmar (with Naypyidaw, Bago), and is at an elevation of 4,712 feet (1,436 m) above sea level. The name Taunggyi means "huge mountain" in the Burmese language, and is named after the ridge on the east of the city, part of the Shan Hills system, whose prominent high point is called Taung-chun or "The Spur." Locally this spur is popularly known as Phaya Taung. The ridge has a more prominent and more popular feature known as Chauk Talone, meaning the Craigs.
Taunggyi also served as a supply centre for the Shan States, and catered to persons of many nationalities.
Taunggyi is best known for the annual Fire Balloon festival held for one week near the beginning of November each year. For most of every day, hot air paper balloons several metres in length in the shape of various animals are launched and sent floating over the town (if they don't spontaneously combust on take-off, a relatively common occurrence). In the evening the carnival really gets going with the launching of more traditionally shaped balloons carrying cargoes of sweets and fireworks.
The main access to Taunggyi is by the mountainous road. A railway line that passes through Taunggyi was recently built in 1995, but at the moment it offers no passenger service to Taunggyi. Regular railway passenger service to the rest of the country is through the town of Shwenyaung, 12 miles (19 km) to the west. The nearest airport is Heho Airport, 24 mi (39 km) about an hour driving distance, by road to the west of Taunggyi.