Monday 2 February 2015

Up, Up and Away! Hot Air Balloon Over Bagan (Myanmar Part 3)

Call it excitement but I was already awake before the phone rang at 5AM. It was our wake up call. Yes! This was the day! Ever since we decided to go on this trip, I could hardly wait for this moment to come. We were going on a balloon ride! 

I do have to confess something though, the first time I mentioned the balloon ride to the Big K he didn't like the idea and was quite adamant. "Nope! Not doing that. No engines!" Well, I guess I can somehow understand his feelings since him being an airline pilot he'd want to know where he's going and not be at the mercy of the wind. But truth be told I knew he was somewhat intrigued when I showed him pictures of balloons floating across a vast field of temples.

So, little ole me just kept quiet and secretly booked us a spot. Haha!

Sunrise Balloon Ride

Scouring the internet for information and reviews about which ballooning company to book in Bagan (there are 3 right now), I decided to go with Oriental Ballooning as they had fewer passengers per balloon that meant we didn't have to worry about somebody blocking our view or anyone looking over our shoulders. Plus the company has very good feedback from their customers. Oh! And did I mention their balloons are green?  

We're good to go!

It was still pitch black when we arrived at the launch site (good thing we brought flashlights!). We were then led to some chairs and tables and served a light breakfast of coffee and sweet rolls while waiting for the other passengers to arrive. Farther afield, we could see a lot of activity going on and felt another burst of excitement for the upcoming ride (pun intended).  

After an introduction of the pilots and a roll call of all passengers (no stowaways here!), we were given a safety briefing and told what to expect during the flight. We were all each assigned to a pilot and led to our respective balloons. Another safety briefing by our pilot, Piers, was done while waiting for our balloon to be inflated.

As soon as the balloons were up, we were asked to clamber into the basket.

One more blast of the burners.....

and we're off!!!!

Here comes the sun!

Great profile shot of my favorite subject if I may say so myself.

Temples as far as the eye can see! 

It was one exhilarating ride! Absolutely fantastic!  The Big K and I couldn't stop oohing and aahing the entire time. Hmmm.... Wait a minute. Remind me again, who didn't want to go on the balloon ride? 

Champagne Breakfast! 

A little over an hour from our launch we were slowly descending back to earth. Now here comes the tricky part. According to our pilot, he has to find a suitable landing site that his ground crew can easily get into. We didn't want to end up in a fenced off area, would we? 

In a short while Piers calls out to brace for landing. Landing position everyone! After a couple of bumps and a shower of dust we were on solid ground once again. Perfect landing! 

Cheers everyone!

After a champagne celebration and our certificates on hand, we were brought back to our hotel. Just in time for second breakfast! 

Okay, now back to pedal power!

More photos in our Facebook page.

Experience hot air ballooning in Myanmar with Oriental Ballooning.

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