Is a hot air balloon ride over Bagan a bucket list item for you? It was for us, and we were not disappointed. Another trip of a life-time! We were hooked after our first hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia Turkey.
Bagan in Myanmar, a landscape of thousands of temples and pagodas, is known as the heart of the Theravada Buddist faith. At one time there were over 13,000 temples, pagodas and religious structures, today there are only around 2000 well-preserved temples and pagodas dating back from 11-13th centuries. The best way to appreciate Bagan and its temples is a hot air balloon ride in Bagan at sunrise.
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How to visit the Temples in Bagan
There are a few ways to view the temples and pagodas, by horse and cart, by e-bicycle or by hot air balloon at sunrise. The day before our balloon flight, we toured the mystical temples by horse and cart, but there is nothing like floating serenely in the cool of the misty morning air looking down at the sleepy town of Bagan and its people waking up from a hot air balloon.
Our Bagan Hot Air Balloon Ride
For this adventure, we chose Balloons Over Bagan who had been operating in Bagan since 1999. They are a very professional and experienced hot air balloon company with pilots who are highly qualified. They have an excellent safety record as well.
Read our article on hot air ballooning in Cappadocia in Turkey
We were collected from our hotel Bagan Umbra Hotel at 5.15 am and driven to the other side of Bagan to an open field where hot coffee and tea awaited us. Our Pilot for the flight was David who had been with the company for 8 years.
The morning was cold and misty and the coffee hot and welcoming whilst we waited for the balloons to inflate.
After settling into our hot air balloon basket, David went through our emergency drill and brace procedure for landing. Then we were up! It is really hard to explain the feeling that you get as you float above the ground, with the sun peaking through the mist as you float effortlessly over the top of the many temples. Ox carts are out on the roads, horse and carts are delivering products to the many shops scattered around Bagan and people are going about their daily routines. They are so used to the hot air balloons by now they don’t even look up as we float above them, although young children on the way to school still look up and wave as we hover above them.
We can see the Irrawaddy River and the Mountain Range poking through the early mist.
Flying over Ananda Temple that was constructed in 1105AD, it is one of the largest well-preserved Temples in the area.
After 50 minutes, we landed safely and enjoyed chilled glasses of champagne, fruit, croissants and banana cake. To top it all off we were driven back to our hotel in the fun Balloons over Bagan buses.
Hot Air Balloon Costs as of 2021:
Classic Service: USD350.00 per person for a 45-minute flight.
Premium Service: USD450.00 per person. The Premium Service allows couples in their every compartment within the balloon with an interactive guided tour around the balloon during inflation. Maximum number 8. 45-minute flight.
To Travel To Tip: The season is short starting in October and finishing in March.
Ensure that you book in advance and give yourself a few days in case of bad weather.
Ensure that you have cold weather gear to wear as it can get chilly up there e.g. gloves, hat and a good jacket.
Hotels in Bagan
We stayed at the 57 room Bagan Umbra Hotel with spa, outdoor pool and massage services at Wet-Ky-In Nyaung U in Bagan. A very comfortable hotel in a good location. We can definitely recommend it.Check out the latest accommodation deals
For luxury accommodation the Heritage Bagan Resort is perfect. Located at Bagan-Byaung Oo Airport Road Nyaungu, it has a pool, gym, with free breakfast and free WiFi and just a 5 minutes drive from the monument area.Check out the latest accommodation deals
Blue Bird Hotel at Mya Hay Street Bagan MyothitEast Naratheinkha 10 offers a pool, free Wifi in New Bagan close to many restaurants.Check out the latest deals and availability here for the Blue Bird Hotel
More accommodation for where to stay in Bagan:Check out the latest accommodation deals
Articles To Inspire You To Travel Myanmar
- Our top 5 places to visit in Myanmar
- Temples of Bagan by Horse and Cart
- Reasons to visit the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon
- A day in Mandalay
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Getting in – Bagan
The small Nyaung-U Airport of Bagan is located a 10-minute drive from Old Bagan.
A 2nd option is to fly into the larger airport of Mandalay and take a bus or a riverboat to Bagan. The journey by road will take nearly 4 hours for the 180 km drive. By boat it takes around 12 hours.
Cheap Flight Deals to Myanmar
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