Before going on this trip, I had already decided that I would ride this Bagan hot air balloon. I have searched a lot about it and the reviews were too good not to do it. It is an expensive experience, but I will do it anyway.
I have a fascination with this place and all those photos on the web I find about it look magical. I don’t know anyone else that has been in this land before I go on my trip, so everything I did was based on other travelers blogs. – Thank you for that–
The day arrives and I’m very excited about it! So excited!!!
-When I was buying this ticket, there was one weird guy there. He asked the staff to ride the same ballon as me, but fortunately, they didn’t attend his request haha. He was having a weird conversation and he also asked there at the ticket counter: Oh, so you are the richest people in Myanmar?– awkward-
The Bagan hot air balloon goes for sunrise so I need to get up very early. There is a bus picking the people from their hostels to the place where it departs. It is a long ride. We took more than 30 min to get to this place and it’s totally dark. It is a big field full of empty balloons. We have some tea and cookies and our pilot tells us some safety rules. The ballon I ride allows 16 people aboard. There is also a VIP option that takes 8 people. This last option includes a breakfast at the beach upon arrival.
One at a time, the Bagan hot air balloon departure. We watch the staff filling it with air and getting it ready to fly. It’s a slow process and takes really big fans and a lot of men’s power so everything goes ok. I had no idea how a ballon is filled as this is the 1st time I’m riding one. I enjoyed to watch it. The staff needs to pull the balloon all the time as the fire can get the ropes and everything is doomed.
When we departed the sun is already up, but not a lot. The sunrise is so beautifully perfect with all the set behind. It’s magical!!!- I start realizing that magical is the word I’m using the most to describe this land– You get to see all the area full of temples while our pilot is telling a bit of story and a bit more about the temples- which ones are more important, which ones have marks from the earthquake, etc.
–In case you don’t know, Bagan was hit by an earthquake in 2016. You can still see the damages in some of the temples and this is also a reason why you can’t climb them anymore–
The adrenaline of taking pictures of everything, don’t miss the sight of any temple, mixed with the feeling that the ride is too short, are a lot of emotions to handle. I couldn’t stop turning my face everywhere to try to see as much as I can. The view is so wonderful. It’s a set of a fantasy movie. The flight isn’t very long but is for sure one of the best experiences in my life.
We land on the river. Yes, the Irrawaddy river is very low during the dry season so you have a lot of sand in the middle of it. Just like a beach surrounded by the river. The pilot said before we will be landing on the river but I thought it was a joke. How could we be landing on water? I really liked the fact that we land there on the sand. Seeing other balloons landing was giving me the perception that it would be tuff, as they were hitting the floor for several times before the balloon stops completely. I was thinking that was gonna hurt. But seeing it is more warning than feeling it. We touched the ground several times but you don’t actually feel it so hard. It’s ok.
I also like the fact that we land on “water” as this ride will include also a boat ride until the margin where our bust is waiting to take us back to the hostel. After landing the Bagan hot air balloon we have some cake, fruits, and champagne waiting for us. We just lay there on the sand and appreciating the silence and still missing the feeling of that wonderful flight. While this is happening, we see how the ballon is taken to boats to be transported to land again. It’s not easy. It looks very heavy and it takes 8 men to carry it to the boat.
Finally, we have the chance of enjoying this boat ride at Irrawaddy river and bless yourself for that experience. When we get to our destination, I hear the guy from the ticket counter on the other boat calling my name. I’m laughing and thinking to myself: thank God I only see him now at the end! On this day there weren’t many ballons on the air. There was around 10 Bagan hot air balloon. I believe there must be more during rainy season as the ground will be very green with lush fields.
I had a blast during this ride on the Bagan hot air balloon, but I would advice other travelers to do it during the rainy season of the months just after it.