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Why Balloons over Bagan is special ?
The magic of Bagan has inspired visitors to Myanmar for centuries. One of the most remarkable sights in Asia, ancient temples dot the landscape as far as the eye can see. Now, Balloons over Bagan affords visitors a unique opportunity to see this ancient kingdom, as it never has been seen before.
Our sunrise and sunset champagne flights take off daily from October through to the end of March.
We left our hotel at 5:30 in an old bus, which was a world war 2 truck transformed in a bus.Very warm welcome at the balloon site, where 8 balloons were getting ready.Our pilot, Bart, Belgian, is the Chief of the Pilots, was extremely good, a great expert in Balloons.After a short briefing about how to behave in the basket, we did board for a great flight.I had the chance to fly with my Boss, Bertrand Piccard, the first to succeed in the round the world with Orbiter 3.It was just amazing, to see all the temples from above, in a very smooth flight.We did land on the river sans, very gently, and a nice breakfast was served with champagne.The crew members were so nice.We then took a boat the get back to our bus.I strongly recommend.Many thanks to Bart.
Balloons over Bagan is a great experience, we left as the last balloon and flew the entire 45 minutes.Our desapointment was when they announced us that the basket will be filled with 14 people, and we had to share our compartment with another 2 person, so basicly you cannot really move, and as photographers it was disturbing...We were expecting to be a maximum of 8 people on rhe basket as describe on all the flyers in different hotels and restaurants.As written: the UK designed basket are made to carry 12 people, but we carry only 4 couples to allow you to have a unique and luxurious experience..As we did not check any prices on the internet, I think it will be worth it to print new flyers with standard prices and luxury one, so people will know what to expect for what you pay. Also inform the staff where flyers are to propose the two options.Again, as photographers, we probably would have consider the luxury option for more space for ourselves.However, it was anyway a magical experience.
Balloons over Bagan is a 'must' in Myanmar. We had a hazy morning and the winds were not optimal, but the sight of all those temples from the air, with the sunrise, is stunning. The company is extremely well organized and clearly committed to safety. The champagne and snack are a nice touch.
OK, let´s take it from the top: 300 Dollars is a lot of money but unless you are on a real budget trip you might rather start saving 4-5 dollars a day now or even drop one star of the hotels you will stay in just not to miss this experience. Words can hardly describe the beauty and magic that you will experience when you float (ballooning is the most relaxing and the quitest way of airtravel) above the morning mist over that surreal man made lanscape made up out of thousands of pagodas, stupas and temples. The sunrise up there, it has an almost unreal atmosphere to it. No way you can ever experience the real immensity of this place down from the ground. I´d go so far to say that you miss a once in your lifetime experience if you do not do it (if you think I am exaggerating, have a look at my trip map). The bubbly in the end is nice but it is the one hour in the air that matters (it might not be exactly one hour, the wind decides so it may be 55 or 65 minutes) Some tips and hints: Book early. If you read this and your itinery for Myanmar is already fixed, book today. We did book 5 months in advance and were waitlisted for premium service. We did get it finally but you get the picture. The do have several ballons but fill up early. Take your camera with you but also leave yourself some time up there to simply soak it in. This is a full service trip, so you do not have to do anything but climb into the basket and out of it. This explains partly the price (this was my 4th ride and the most expensive, in Germany the passengers are doing a lot of work). From pickup at the hotel to drop off there are 3 hours in between with no opportunity for a pit stop. Prepare and plan ahead. A coffee in the hotel might not turn out to be too good an idea in the end. You will have time for breakfast back at the hotel anyway. You will have to climb into the balloon about 5 ft high and the climb is steep. Also for landing you must be able to bend your knees so far down that your head is below the rim of the basket. If you have troubles with this balloning is not for you, this is also true if you are frightened of heights. If you come as a single rider you will be placed into a compartment with somebody else. These people are highly trained professionals which explains the price again. You pay for your safety here. The burner is just over your heads and it will give off heat down as well. They do offer caps, so all in all, no need to spend a lot of time on hairdressing in the morning (hey, we all got up way too early anyway...) The ride to and from the hotel is in vintage busses, with open doors, so while you won´t have any wind in the balloon, in the bus you will, so dress warmly and be prepared for a bumpy ride. And do absolutely not forget to reconfirm your ticket (or have your guide or the hotel do it), the wait list is long. All in all: Enjoy something which you can tell your grandchildren. Visited December 2012