Taking a hot air balloon flight was a fantastic experience during my time in Myanmar in February 2018. Seeing the sunrise over the mountains and temples of Bagan, plus all the other balloons was something to never forget!
There are plenty of rules and regulations for hot air balloon flights over the Bagan temples. Generally speaking they do their best to fly at the designated distance from temples, not land amongst them etc. so as to protect this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Sometimes mother nature has other ideas but I can assure you my pilot, an Aussie, versed us well on the rules and did her best to follow them.
As the saying goes, what goes up, must come down, time was running out and sadly our hot air balloon had to prepare to land. As we descended the random trees seemed to be getting extremely close and the ground was rapidly approaching, I could see farmers, farm animals and even dogs immediately below us and none seem to even notice! Regardless we landed smoothly and safely in a field outside of the temple area.
The landing spot was full of waist high prickly weeds. I had encountered these buggers on previous exploring of the Bagan temples and no one, including the myself and even the pilot were too keen to get out there and trudge our way out in those!
I felt sorry for the landing crew, who ran out to meet us as the pilot decided to lift off again and we landed in the cleared field next door. Whilst the ground crew secured and deflated the balloon, we celebrated the flight with a light breakfast and champagne!
My first ever hot air balloon flight was a success and a great moment in my aviation related travels. I guess the entire event including pickup, transport, the pre-flight briefing, the actual flight and breakfast lasted about 3 hours in the end. Thanks Balloons Over Bagan. It was expensive but such a great experience!