Thanks for your interest in joining the first ever International Juggling Festival in Yangon!

9 – 15 February 2015

(Please read to the end!)

Jugglers and performers from different parts of the world are gathering with the diverse communities of Yangon in a spirit of fun.

Opportunities for international participants and local people to meet and get to know each other will be plentiful.

Planned festival highlights include:

  • Day of Fun – activities, amusement and entertainment for the public, featuring juggling and circus workshops, public participation games, walkabout acts, juggling olympics, storytelling, singing and dance workshops, children’s shows and a fire show finale.
  • Community shows focusing on disadvantaged children in various parts of the city. Children trained by Serious Fun volunteers in the lead up to the festival will join international performers in shows for their communities.
  • Workshops and master classes for local performers and festival participants.
  • The Big Show – a free public show featuring top local and international acts.

Our local NGO partner, the Smile Education and Development Foundation, is helping us to stage this festival. You can download the Festival outline if you want explain to friends/potential funders about the Festival plans and why you are going to Burma/Myanmar.

Video coverage

Myanmar television is keen on filming the Big Show and Day of Fun events. We also plan to have our own crew filming festival activities and will create a short highlights clips for release to local and international media. We would like to offer each of our performers (unedited) professional video of a show they do during the festival for their own promotional use.


Festival ticket

A festival ticket is $100, which covers transport and all festival activities. The festival ticket does not cover tourist entrance fees, i.e. the spectacular Swedagon Pagoda $8.00.  Yes, you’ll definitely want to go there!

Payment for tickets

Payment by Paypal, debit or credit card is available. If you want to pay by direct deposit in Australia, New Zealand or the UK, please email us for details.

To pay by PayPal, click on the button below or go to PayPal, click on ‘send’,  enter, select USD as currency and enter credit card details.

Payment secures you a spot. If you discover for some reason you can’t make it, a refund is possible until 9 January 2015, minus a 10% administration cost. However, if there is “force majeure” – e.g. volcano ash clouds ground flights at the last minute, we can not refund the festival ticket and it will be up to you to recover costs from your travel insurance/airline.



You will need a tourist visa which is valid for 28 days.

There is now an e-visa option which costs USD $50, if you are flying into Yangon.

A tourist visa from your nearest Myanmar Embassy may be a bit cheaper.  For example, a visa issued in Bangkok takes 1-3 days and costs $30-50 USD depending on how quickly you want to collect it.  It does however require two visits, to drop off and collect passport, and long queues.  For a complete list of embassies see

Some nationalities can get a visa on arrival at Yangon airport or may not need a visa at all.

Check online links and updates.


USD is the foreign currency of choice although you can also change Euro and GBP to Kyat. Crisp unmarked notes are needed. The best exchange rate is for $100 bills, but it’s handy to have smaller bills. ATMs are now available in Yangon for direct withdrawals in Kyat. There is a $5 charge by the local bank for cash withdrawal.


Getting to Yangon

Depending on your location, you might fly direct to Yangon or via Bangkok or another Asian city. Budget airlines flying into Yangon include Air Asia and Nok Air.

It is also possible to travel overland from the Thai border.

The links below may be useful. (We make no recommendations and are not responsible for the content.)


Medical and travel insurance

Get some!

Accidents can happen and the Serious Fun Committee doesn’t have resources to cover your medical costs or lost property.


A place to stay

We aim to find international guests places to stay with foreigners living locally for the period February 8-15. This is on a first in, first served basis so please confirm your participation in the festival as soon as you can and let us know if you wish to be billeted.

You may prefer to find your own place. Here are some downtown hotels and restaurants conveniently located and reasonably priced.  It’s also possible to rent a house or apartment on

Let us know when you are arriving and we’ll meet you at the airport.

Learning Burmese
There’s a very useful resource at

The festival ends on February 15. We’re planning a farewell function that will be late afternoon or evening. Afterwards a few people are staying on to travel around the country. We have a beach spot arranged for a few days rest and relaxation (the after party) which is at Ngwe Saung beach about 5 hours by road from Yangon.

We have some bungalows booked at the Shwe Hinta Hotel and can book more, but all bookings need to be done well in advance so tell us if you want to come (in the form below).  Bamboo bunglalow with fan (ALL BOOKED NOW) $30, Aircon bungalow $60 per night. All sleep 2 people, double bed. You can book other hotels there on Agoda or yourself.  The Shwe Hinta hotel is at the southern “backpacker friendly” end of Ngwe Saung beach.

We are planning to book a mini-bus or two and share the cost to leave Yangon in the morning of Feb 16, return for the evening of Feb 19. The cost  depends on the number of people coming but approx $20-25 each way. There are also regular buses to/from Yangon ($10 or $15 one way) and the nearest town Pathein.

The legal bit

The Serious Fun Committee (SFC) is a non-incorporated, unconstituted group of individuals that has no legal status. It is a not-for-profit informal group. SFC is organising events in Yangon that you are attending as an individual. In legal terms, you are an independent traveller joining some juggling activities informally. SFC will make best efforts to realise the events successfully and safely. SFC is not responsible for your travel, health or personal possessions.  SFC offers no guarantee regarding weather conditions, civil dis/order, other force majeure, or access to Burma/Myanmar. We just want to make that clear.

Please check you own government’s advice about travel to Burma.

Social media and sensitivities

We have a Facebook page, Serious Fun in Yangon, and will be setting up a Twitter account, a flickr page for photos, a YouTube or Vimeo channel for video.

Please be mindful of local sensitivities. This international juggling festival in Yangon brings together people in a celebration of fun. The festival and festival organisers are not and cannot be seen as a political force or forum or in any way critical of local conditions.

Yes, there is a lot to comment on as Burma/Myanmar moves through a transition and your opinions and feelings are your own, of course. Respect! But please keep your posts and tweets positive and focus on the great benefits to communities. Negative posting could jeopardize the event and create problems for local partners in Myanmar.


To confirm your participation in the festival, please complete this form

Once you have completed the form the webmaster will send you a log-in for the private website pages where we’ll be posting more information. There’s a forum so you can be in contact with each other or post your travel plans, leave travel tips, ask questions amongst yourselves. We’ll also create a blog page for each of you to use and you can decide if you want that blog to be private, shared with only the group or public.

Any questions please email:


About the organisers

Jude Smith

Jude Smith Juggles

A workflow consultant by profession and a juggler by inclination, Jude first encountered the spirit of serious fun at juggling festivals in New Zealand, Australia, UK and Europe.  She loved the festival mix of amazing feats, sharing of skills, wonderful entertainment and complete nonsense, but it was a juggling festival in Tblisi, Georgia, then a newly-independent state, which completed hooked her.  Hosted by the Georgian circus, local people were at the centre of festival activities, creating a week of entertaining and life-changing moments for those involved. Seeing how easily fun and laughter reached into different worlds, Jude got together with a few like-minded people to organise the first ever juggling festival in Thailand in 1993. The Serious Fun Committee was born.

Virginia Henderson

Virginnia On The Road

Virginia throws a few balls in the air. A founding member of the Serious Fun Committee and an independent facilitator and documenter specialising in culture and development, she works in Asia and Africa and has organized international juggling festivals in Thailand and Laos, a Kiwi film festival in Bangkok and annual cheese rolling events on the family farm in New Zealand successfully raising funds for families facing the challenge of autism. Currently based in Yangon she recently coordinated the Faith Space multimedia project and is writing about the heritage in the city.

Jules Howarth

Mr Jules on a rope

Jules (Mr Jules is a performer, production and stage manager and festival creator. He produced the European Juggling Conventions in 1991 and 2005 and has worked closely with the European Juggling Association since 1991 variously as Festival Director, Stage Manager, Festival Advisor, Compere, Show-facilitator and general Trouble-shooter. He has worked regularly with the Glastonbury Festival Theatre & Circus Fields. He has lived and worked in several countries including Holland, Italy, Spain and France. He went to Laos with the Serious Fun Committee. He is Membership & Communications officer for the National Association of Street Artists UK


Smile Education and Development Foundation

351, 7th Floor Shine Tower, Thein Pyu Rd, Yangon

Smile Education and Development Foundation is  not-for-profit organization dedicated to eliminating poverty and unjust living conditions and to developing responsible and productive citizens. We use education as a catalyst for lasting change, serving youth, women and community leaders by promoting critical thinking, dialogue and skill building.  We aim to ensure that civil society organisations are equipped with necessary resources and support to be effective change-makers.

Our vision is a society rid of poverty in which all people live with dignity, peace and justice and are empowered to be self-reliant, active citizens.