How to Enjoy the Hot Air Balloon when Traveling Myanmar (Burma)?
Myanmar, former Burma, is a Southeast Asian destination visited by many travelers. Ancient sites, rich culture, and marvelous scenery are the nation's biggest lure. Because of Myanmar's extraordinary beauty, most first-time visitors opt for a hot air ballooning during their visit to this friendly country.
Where to Enjoy the Hot Air Balloon in Myanmar?
Comprising high mountains, hills, lowlands, and plains, Myanmar features a varied relief you can have a great pleasure while admiring from above. However, natural formations are far from everything you would experience while making birds company.
There are numerous Buddhist places of worship countrywide whose spires, gleaming in the sun, rise skyward. While ballooning over cities, you will see modern quarters introduced recently alongside buildings featuring colonial architecture.
Also, the beauty of floating settlements and symmetrically arranged Buddhist structures outlining religious complexes will make you reluctant to blink. Speaking of the best sites and places to experience from a hot air balloon in Myanmar, there are a few of them.
Hot air balloon over temple
Bagan, an ancient seat of power of the Pagan Empire, is the number one destination. Flanked by the Irrawaddy River and hills, Bagan features a myriad of temples commissioned by various Pagan emperors.
Mandalay is a more recent royal residence, with various religious structures and palaces brimming within the city walls. Also, have your camera at the ready while ballooning over the nearby hills teeming with the lost cities and pagodas.
Inle is a scenic lake whose floating settlements, plantations, and markets make it one of the top destinations in Myanmar (Burma). Besides residential areas, you will notice pagodas and stupas dotting the lakeside.
Ngapali Beach is another top ballooning destination in Myanmar, whose sands flanked by palms access the Bay of Bengal.
The Best Time to Fly the Hot Air Balloon in Myanmar
Regarding the best time in Myanmar (Burma) for a ballooning experience, we will have an overview of two criteria.
Considering the best time of year for enjoying a Myanmar balloon tour, it begins in October/November and ends in March/April. Both weather and organizational factors define when hot air balloons can rise.
The monsoon season, which lasts from the end of May to October, is the chief variable. During this period, abundant rainfall renders any ballooning over Myanmar sites virtually impossible. Even during the dry season, the organizers cancel balloon tours in case of compromised safety.
As you have probably noticed, there is a lot of time remaining between March/April, the official end of the ballooning season in Myanmar, and the end of May. Regarding this, you should know that the bulk of pilots is from the UK, where the flight season kicks off in April.
Prepare for hot air balloon
Also, in some regions of Burma, hot air balloon flights begin later and end earlier from other destinations. Due to weather conditions, the ballooning season over Inle Lake and Ngapali Beach lasts from November to March.
Best Time of Day to Experience Hot Air Balloon
If you aren't an early riser, you would wish to change that while enjoying a vacation in Myanmar, ex Burma. For the most part, the balloons powered by hot air take travelers on tour early in the morning. To allow you to have the best possible experience, you will usually float in the air even before sunrise.
Typically, balloon flights occur in the morning and evening because of safety reasons. Furthermore, cool temperatures during these times of the day allow pilots to navigate the balloon close to points of interest. Therefore, you will be able to examine a temple spire, or anything else, in greater detail.
What you Can Do during the Hot Air Balloon tour?
When the crew completes the flight preparations, you will be free to enter the balloon for a rise to the sky. Upon receiving the safety briefing, take a look at the pilot while he fires the burners up.
Little by little, you will gain in elevation and make out the silhouettes of distant hills and mountains. Depending on your flight destination, it won't be long before you catch a glimpse of a Buddhist temple, pagoda, stupa, vast forests, and waterways.
If you are a person of average height, the distance between you and the horizon is about 5km/3mi away while you stand on the ground. But, when you find yourself at the 30-meter (nearly 100-foot) altitude, you will see almost 20km/over 12mi in every direction. Given that Myanmar balloon tours take you up to 2km/1.25mi altitude, the views of the surrounding area will amaze you, to put it mildly.
So, as you rise over treetops, your hair will rise in accordance when you start feeling excitement unlike any other. As the sun introduces itself, you will admire the warm sunlight sweeping through forested expanses, hills, and mountains.
While flying over Myanmar settlements, wave back to the friendly locals in response to their waving. As you approach the top of a temple, relish the views of the monumental structure that no other perspective can offer. Along the way, listen to the narrative of the pilot, who has substantial knowledge of the local attractions, customs, and culture. Once in a while, remind yourself to observe how the pilot maneuvers to catch favorable winds.
Hot air balloon in Bagan
Hot Air Balloon Experience in Bagan
While flying over Bagan, you will experience spires of seemingly endless temples dominating a wooded expanse. Some of them will be higher or larger than others. As you float in a hot air balloon over them, one by one will emerge from the morning mist in front of you.
Hot Air Balloon Experience in Inle Lake
With distant hills and pagodas defining the background, focus on colorful, floating houses of Inle Lake as the locals do everyday work among them. As the morning mist rises, glimpse at the fishermen running daily errands in their boats. Along the way, make out floating gardens in which the villagers cultivate fruits and vegetables.
Take hot air balloon in Inle Lake
Hot Air Balloon Experience in Mandalay
Mandalay features countless gilded, white, and colorful spires of Buddhist religious structures emerging from lush forests. If you fly over the former royal city at dawn or dusk, you will notice a couple of illuminated temples located on the surrounding hills. While flying over the Irrawaddy River, relish the reflection of the sun on the water surface.
Hot Air Balloon Experience in Yangon
While ballooning over Yangon, your gaze will constantly shift from the golden stupa of Shwedagon Pagoda to emerald Kandawgyi Lake to the city skyscrapers. The Yangon River and green areas fit into the scenery incredibly.
Tips for Enjoying the Hot Air Balloon in Myanmar
-Most providers offer transfers from hotels to hot air balloon launch sites. These tend to change from one day to another based on wind patterns.
-Most balloons used for Myanmar tours accommodate up to eight or 16 people. In general, those suitable for a larger number of visitors are more affordable.
-The total weight of the tour participants has a big influence on the flow of the ballooning. Therefore, you have to specify your weight for the sake of the best balance and fuel consumption. If you are more than 125kg/275lbs heavy, you may need to pay two tickets to board the balloon.
-Most of the time, ballooning over Myanmar destinations lasts anywhere between 40 minutes and one hour. With related activities before (coffee and tea) and after the balloon flight (light meal and wine), the experience tends to last a few hours.
-Depending on the tour, the price typically varies from US$300 to US$450 per person. Because of high demand, make sure to book a balloon flight over Myanmar (Burma) in advance.
Myanmar abounds with must-do activities. And, ballooning is far ahead of the rest. Of the destinations we mentioned in this article, Bagan is the most popular by far. Providers that offer hot air balloon flights over the former capital of the Pagan Empire offer tours of Inle Lake, as well.
Many travelers asserted that balloon flights over the attractions of Myanmar are among the top experiences in their lives. They also underline that impeccable service, friendliness of the crew, and high security are paramount of every hot air balloon tour in Myanmar. So, if you are up for experiencing an adrenaline rush, fairy-tale landscapes, and superb service, start planning a trip to Myanmar, ex Burma.