Tim and I were married in a hot air balloon in Las Vegas in 2002. Well, a grounded hot air balloon. The weather was too windy to even safely inflate the balloon for our wedding photos. Despite scheduling hot air balloon rides everywhere from Las Vegas to Egypt, something always kept us grounded. After an 11 year wait, our first balloon flight needed to be nothing short of spectacular. So we booked a flight with Balloons Over Bagan, in the ancient city of 4446 pagodas, and crossed our fingers for good weather. After all, traveling to Myanmar, even from Thailand, requires endless hours, at least two flights, visas, and promises to never write about the regime there.
We arrived to Bagan after dark and climbed into a taxi to our hotel on the edge of Old Bagan. We spotted a few of the stupas close to the dusty road, but our first glimpse of the other worldly ancient city would be from a wicker basket as we floated above the temples.
I’ve never been so excited for a 3:30am wake-up call in my life. Balloons Over Bagan promptly picked us up from our hotel at 5am and delivered us to the launch field to enjoy coffee, tea, and cookies before our flights. Tim and I were incredibly impressed with the organization. There were a dozen or so balloons and each had its own little area set up with camp chairs and the coffee and tea station. This kept the groups organized so as soon as the balloons were inflated, our group could pile in and float wherever the wind would take us.
As the sun hinted it was ready to peek over the horizon, our group clambered in and we gently floated off the ground. We got our first birds-eye view of the Buddhist temples seemingly rising up out of the mist. This was just so much more incredible than we had even imagined! The temples were set ablaze by the golden rays of the sun. Our pilot Ian, who has been piloting Balloons Over Bagan since 2005, pointed out temples and told us stories about them. We were in such awe, we’d never remember it all. So, just enjoy these photos of our amazing experience! We’ll have more detail about the temples we visited in another post coming soon.
We floated for around an hour above the temples before landing with champagne, croissants, and banana cake waiting for us. As Tim and I clinked glasses, he admitted he was worried that we were spending so much time traveling to Bagan and that it would be disappointing. It was barely 8am and any concerns he’d had were completely squashed. We couldn’t wait to start exploring the temples and we couldn’t have had a better introduction to Bagan than from in a balloon floating over it.
Know Before You Go
- Balloons Over Bagan is the only balloon company in Bagan. Balloon flights are available October – March.
- Flights are $320US per person and can be booked via their online email contact form. Booking includes round trip transportation from your hotel, the flight, and a light champagne breakfast. Book well in advance as they were fully booked on the days we were in Bagan.
- All the balloons are equipped with a camera and you have the option to purchase a thumb drive of the photos from your flight for $15US. The thumb drive is delivered to your hotel by lunchtime. What a great service!
- Balloons Over Bagan will only fly children that are at least 8 years of age and are at least 4’6″ tall (137cm). This is both for safety and the height required for the child to see over the basket.
Disclosure: We received a discounted media rate for our balloon flight from Balloons Over Bagan in order for us to bring this story to you. As always, all opinions and rave reviews are entirely our own. And a huge thank you to Balloons Over Bagan for making our first hot air balloon flight together such an amazing experience!