Balloon Game

23rd, 24th, 26th, 27th May 2010

The Balloon Game is the best beach bar game in Thailand. I needn’t say more but I’ll go on.

To date we have played it once on Phi Phi and now four times here in Phangan, we’re still chasing the win but it’s very elusive.

The Balloon Game is played once per night it would seem and involves tying a balloon to your ankle with the provided rubber bands. Everyone then stands in a circle and once everyone is suitably positioned the game is started by a blow of the whistle. When that whistle blows all hell breaks loose; it’s a free for all with the last person left with an un-popped balloon crowned the winner.  The game is usually broken up into 3 minute rounds, a further blow of the whistle signals the end of the round at which point you can have a rest while everyone gathers back into a circle for the next round. It’s a fantastic game of tactics, agility, speed and stamina.

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First, second and third placed ballooners earn themselves a free drink (overall winner gets a bucket). The locals are pretty good and manage to pop a lot of people’s balloons within a few seconds of the start. I tend to be a defensive player (wimp), I just hop on one leg protecting my balloon by keeping it elevated and away from other people for at least the first couple of rounds.

Last night [27th May] the game was given an added twist by creating two teams (blue and purple balloons) and it was only after one team had been completely eliminated that it become a free for all among the surviving ballooners. James and I tend to spend most of the day and certainly the hours preceding the balloon game discussing ballooning tactics and strategising for the nights bout. Unfortunately despite our obsessive interest in the game we have not come up with the goods to date. Fingers crossed for tonight.