If you are looking for a hot air balloon in Bagan, Myanmar, continue reading as I cover both of my experiences of premium service as well as classic hot air balloons over Bagan.
I have covered everything you need to know before you go to Myanmar, from visa to the hotel reviews, wifi to phone data, Inle Lake to Yangon, Bagan to Mandalay and more.
Bagan – It is an ancient city in central Myanmar (formerly Burma), southwest of Mandalay
Currency – Kyat
Language – Burmese
Hello – Mingalabar
Thanks- Kyay Zuu Tin Par Tal (formal) Kyay Zuu Par (informal)
Getting around- I recommend discovering Bagan by hiring a bicycle (3000 Kyat p/d +), e-bike (5000 Kyat p/d +) or a private car from your hotel, or shops around town.
Hot Air Balloon Bagan, Myanmar
Classic air ballooning
Currently January 2019, there are 3 companies in Bagan that offer hot air balloon.
1. Ballons over Bagan, 2. Oriental ballooning, and 3. Golden Eagle Ballooning
I went on a hot air balloon ride with Balloons over Bagan. It is the most established one out of 3. About 20 years ago, they started as a small crew and now it has grown into a 12-balloon fleet and over 100 experienced crew members.
Balloons Over Bagan offers two balloon flight options – classic and premium. The hot air balloon Bagan price (classic package) costs $350 USD per person. It comes with complementary Inflight pictures and post-balloon small breakfast. (Inflight balloon and breakfast pictures below) Price may change according to the season.
My alarm was set for 5 am as the pick up from my hotel was at 5:30 am. Some passengers were already picked up and rest got picked up along the way and we were taken to the launch site. Still bit sleepy, we were warmly welcomed by Captain Mark and the balloon team followed by a light pre-flight tea/coffee and cookies.
Next, was the safety induction where Captain(Pilot) shared the do’s, the don’ts and some Q&As. We found out our Captain Mark had flown air balloon flights over 30 countries! It is such a relief when you know the Pilot has tons of experience. Also, what a fun thing to do for a career right!
Our Classic balloon baskets had four compartments plus space for the Pilot and each compartment could hold either two, three or four passengers.
Once you are inside the balloon basket, the Bagan Balloon slowly takes off and you can’t help but smile as you see the beauty around you! It is impressive ballooning over the historic ancient temples, stunning sunrise, local people waving at you, lovely hotels, and houses all thousands of feet above the ground. You can see as far as Mount Popa and Mt. Victoria also.
The morning offers the spectacular lighting of the temples and dramatic layers of haze and dreamy landscape with a lot of photo opp. Don’t forget to charge your camera batteries the night before!
Complimentary refreshments such as croissants, banana bread paired with Champagne were offered after we finished floating over Bagan’s stunning immenseness. You are given a certificate and a lovely card too.
Bagan hot air balloon premium service
Everything from picking up to the end of the balloon ride is the same as the classic one. But some things were different too. Such as the premium service was a more intimate and luxurious experience. The hot air balloon Bagan basket was smaller and carried only 8 passengers including me. It also comes with its own dedicated launch area and private basket compartments for couples.
The premium service brought a big smile on my face and everyone’s on our basket when we saw where we were having breakfast! We landed at the river bank of Irrawaddy river with nicely set up a breakfast table!
It was a continental breakfast with sparkling wine, fresh juice, coffee/tea, fresh bread, organic egg and delicious cheese platter. The highlight of this unique Premium Service also includes a guided interactive tour around the balloon during inflation from your pilot just before taking off, and free inflight photos.
The serene view of the river, the balloon ride over the ancient temples, organic breakfast, warm morning sun and the chit chat with fellow ballon riders make up for a nice end to an amazing experience. I met some cool people that morning and we all agreed we had the time of our lives and could have easily stayed there a few more hours.
The balloon flight season runs from the beginning of October until the middle of April. Almost all air ballooning flights take place at the first light of the sun due to the light winds, the cooler morning temperatures that allow balloons to fly closer to the temples for a closer detailed look.
The duration of the balloon flight is approximately forty-five minutes to one hour although the whole experience from being collected from at the hotel to dropping off at the hotel will last about three hours.
Premium service cost $100 USD more than the classic one. To book head to their official website or balloon over Bagan office in Yangon. To fly you must not be pregnant, be aged eight years old, or over and children must be accompanied by an adult.
PS: Balloons over Bagan also offers hot air balloon over Inle Lake. Hot air balloon ride in Bagan Myanmar is an unforgettable experience and something you will probably talk about for years to come. I recommend booking it in advance as spots get filled quickly.
What I used to take these photos
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Let me know in comments
- Would you choose classic or premium hot air balloon ride?
- If you have been on a hot air balloon before, how was your experience?
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