“Your adventure starts with a short journey in one of the romantic converted vintage buses to one of the dedicated launch sites. The growing light reveals the teams busy at work preparing the balloons against a backdrop of ancient temples shrouded in mist. There is time for tea, coffee and refreshments before the all important safety briefing. With the balloons now standing upright, it is time to climb on board and our helpful crew are on hand to assist you into the basket. The balloon is guided by gentle winds not exceeding 15 mph, allowing passengers a serene and peaceful bird's-eye view of ancient temples drifting by.”
Bagan, in central Myanmar, is one of the world’s greatest archaeological sites you’ll ever explore, a sight to rival Machu Picchu or Angkor Wat but with fewer visitors. The setting is sublime: the plains of Bagan, partly covered in palm trees, tamarind and distant mountains.
And rising from those plains are temples; dozens of them, hundreds of them. Yes, Bagan is Myanmar’s very own fairytale kingdom.
Once an ancient town, and now a UNESCO World’s Heritage Site, Bagan’s rich and diverse cultural and political history is enough to attract anyone to the region. But what brings tourists to this land these days is the chance to see it from above in a hot air balloon.
It’s almost impossible to picture Bagan without the hot air balloons in its historic horizon. Bagan’s balloons have for sure become an iconic symbol of the region, and have carried many travellers on unforgettable adventures of a lifetime.
Ballooning season in Bagan runs from the beginning of October to the middle of April. So bear this in mind if you are planning to fly. Sunrise is when most rides are offered, as the cooler morning temperatures allow balloons to float closer to the ancient stupas and temples for a more detailed look. This golden hours also tends to bring with it more dramatic layers of haze, which makes it perfect for a photo opportunity.
Balloons Over Bagan is arguably the most established of Bagan’s ballooning providers. What started out as a single hot air balloon operation and a small crew of 8 nearly 20 years ago, has grown into a 12-balloon fleet employing over 100 local staff and 16 foreign pilots and technicians. So at the time of choosing whom to fly with to uncover the beauty of Bagan from above, the decision was easy!
Balloons Over Bagan has two flight options: classic and premium. The classic package costs $350 USD per person and with these option passengers are picked up from their hotels in the BOB vintage buses, and then treated to a light pre-flight breakfast while the balloons are being prepared.
The classic balloon baskets fit up between 14 to 16 passengers each. Complimentary refreshments paired with sparkling wine will come after floating over Bagan’s stunning scenery.
But if you are up for a treat and want to enjoy a more intimate experience, the premium choice, $450 USD per person, has smaller baskets that fit 8 travellers at most, with separate compartments for couples. It also includes an interactive tour and a continental breakfast afterwards with just as much sparkling wine to toast.
Experienced, mostly foreign pilots, from England, Australia, Canada and the US, operate all of the balloon flights. The activity is completely safe, there absolutely no accidents noted in the history of the balloon flights over Bagan, EVER! You don't know exactly when the balloons take off. It all feels very smooth. The only thing you notice is a slow movement, and then suddenly the ground is getting further and further away. The balloon will fly in the direction of the wind and will land in a different place each time.
So if you are still debating whether to try this incredible experience or not… OUR ANSWER TO YOU IS YES!
There are only a few travel experiences that can compete with flying over Bagan in a hot air balloon. Don’t miss this chance if you are there! And fly with the best, fly with Balloons Over Bagan.