Flying in a hot air balloon over the ancient city of Bagan is one of those “bucket-list” things everyone should do if they are planning a trip to Myanmar. My husband, Moses Msuya, is a pilot for the company that flies the “red balloons”, Balloons Over Bagan.
Balloons Over Bagan was the first company to start offering balloon flights in Bagan back in 1999. With professional international pilots from around the world Balloons Over Bagan maintains the highest possible attention to safety so they can provide their clients with a professional and beautiful experience. All pilots are selected on the basis of their extensive flying experience and clean safety records. What started out as a one balloon operation has grown into twelve balloons flying nearly every day.
You definitely want to book your flight prior to arriving in Bagan as space can be limited. Flights are only offered in the morning – they offer sixteen passenger baskets or the premium service with eight passenger baskets.
Passengers will be picked up from their hotel or resort by Balloons Over Bagan (in their unique buses) early morning. Arriving at one of two dedicated launch sites you will be greeted with a friendly smile from the pilot and directed to the coffee and tea circle to mingle while waiting for other guests to arrive.
The pilots will then conduct the important safety briefing and before you know it you are lifting off and floating along over Bagan!
With any balloon flight the duration of the ride is always up to mother nature. There are no steering wheels in balloons, they are totally dependant on the conditions of the weather each day. In my mind this is one of the most magical parts of ballooning as each day can be different in terms of where you will go and what you will see. You have to learn to be in the moment and go with the flow (pun intended) if you plan to book a hot air balloon flight.
Perhaps you will fly straight over the temple zone during flight. Other days you may see part of the temple areas and also get to experience local culture by soaring over villages and locals working their farm lands. Either way the flight will be a very memorable.
Each pilot will aim for an hour flight, however it is always top priority to make a safe landing. Depending on the time of year you fly and the wind direction of the day you may also have the treat of landing on one of the sandbanks along the Ayeryarwaddy River. This adds an extra element to your morning adventure as you may also get to ride in a local boat back to shore.
The chase crew will be following the balloons by road (and some times river). Upon landing passengers will enjoy a champagne toast with their pilot – and fresh croissants, fruit and receive a flight certificate. Guests will be able to experience how the efficient crew pack up the large balloon. They make it look easy most days and as someone who crews for my husband in Canada I can attest that it’s no ‘easy’ task!
Should you opt for the Premium balloon ride, a hot breakfast from “Sharky’s” is included. It is a lovely treat which you can see in this video I created of my premium flight experience.
Balloons Over Bagan also offers balloon rides at Inle Lake, flying over the floating gardens and lake. It is as equally magical as soaring over the temples of Bagan.
Here’s another video I created from photos taken during my flights in Bagan – I hope you enjoy! Contact me at any time to book your trip to Myanmar and include a hot air balloon flight over one of the most ancient and magical places to fly in a balloon! Email Amanda at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 519.501.3140.