Balloons Over Bagan Extension

Now visitors to Myanmar can view what Marco Polo described as ‘one of the finest sights in the world’ from the unique and enchanting platform of a hot air balloon basket.

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 has never been seen before.

These champagne flights take place early in the morning, around sunrise or an hour or so before sunset from October through to April. Light winds and stable weather conditions are needed, the speed of the balloon and the length of the flight are governed by the strength and velocity of the wind. Ordinarily flights are planned to last 45 minutes to one hour. However, the entire experience will last about 2 - 3 hours. On landing, the fully trained Myanmar ground crew will pack the balloon whilst passengers enjoy a glass or two of celebratory champagne.

Trip Itinerary

ANTICIPATED ITINERARY, ACTUAL ROUTE MAY VARY

Day 1  §  Sunrise Balloon Ride
It really is the only way to see Bagan. You arrive in the middle of nowhere in the pitch dark to find a group of young men unloading things from the back of a truck.

The first light appears shortly after to reveal hot air balloons being efficiently assembled as the silhouettes of ancient pagodas begin to appear all around.

Ten minutes later the night has gone and the pilots are ready to start the burners in front of a sizeable crowd of curious onlookers - monks, children, old women. The roar of the burners brings everyone back to their senses, and shortly after the balloons are upright, the red envelopes billowing upwards into the pale blue sky. A red glow appears on the horizon - it is time for everyone to climb on board.

This is the moment everyone has been waiting for. More blasts from the burners, and before anyone really notices we are suddenly fifty, then one hundred feet above the ground and into a different world. It’s an unbelievable almost surreal sight - Thousands of pagodas as far as the eye can see with the morning mist swirling in-between. The sun pops up over the horizon right on cue, flooding the whole plane with golden light. It is only now that Bagan is revealed in its full splendor. For a while nobody even takes photos, but this doesn’t last long either.

For me it is not just the incredible views, but also the chance to witness Bagan coming to life as it has done for the past thousand years.

As we drift lower again over the local villages everyone stops to gape up at us. Their natural shyness is overcome as they wave and beam at us. Complete strangers have suddenly become friends. We feel slightly intrusive as we peer down at women feeding their chickens, watering their gardens and children being dressed for school.

Now the sun is higher in the sky, the mist is evaporating and it is perfect for photography. The red pagodas contrast perfectly with the deep blue sky and green palms, and the balloon shadow against the largest pagodas makes a great picture for the mantelpiece back home. With favorable winds we can ascend to heights of over 2000 feet for a spectacular view of the whole Bagan valley.

Now it is time to land, and remembering the landing positions we rehearsed earlier, we touch down in a field, or maybe on the banks of the mighty Ayeryarwaddy River. Wherever we land our crew are on hand to welcome us. Sometimes we need more traditional forms of transport for our rescue and retrieve.

Cold towels and champagne bring us back to earth. Everyone recounts their feelings, and before long swap email addresses. It’s all over - time to rejoin more earthbound tours and sober up over breakfast.

Duration 1 days
Group Size 1-8
Lodging NA
Grade I
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