A quick search of Bagan and what it has to offer yields pictures and images of the exquisite sunrise with colorful hot-air balloons dotting the horizon, gliding over pagodas that have stood tall for millennia.
Are you having trouble with making up your mind as to whom to book? Worry not, we will help you decide whether or not it is worth it.
Is Ballooning over Bagan Everything that it is cracked up to be?
These days it is next to impossible to get an aerial view of Bagan as climbing the temples is not allowed anymore. Moreover, the drone laws are ambiguous at best as to whether or not operating drones are allowed. It is, however, best not to take any chances as it is generally frowned upon and their numerous signs prohibiting it. That leaves you with two choices, either to take in the view on the watchtower that is crowded on the best of days or to experience the heady magic that only gently gliding over the city in a hot-air balloon will allow you to enjoy. Not only will you get a bird’s eye of the city, but you will also have the unmatchable experience of floating over the temples and witnessing the glorious sunrise at dawn. The only thing that might discourage you from opting for this one-of-a-kind experience is the price. The 45-minute-long flights costs approximately $350 per head. Then again, you can’t really put a price on an experience such this one; it is priceless.
Primarily, there are 3 companies that offer hot-air balloon rides over the city of Bagan. These are Golden Eagle, Oriental Ballooning and Balloons over Bagan. While all of them have glowing reviews and recommendations, and the ride and everything that is part of the experience is priced roughly the same, it is important to note that Balloons over Bagan’s hot-air balloons are almost always the last ones to take off. Another thing to keep in mind is that they only operate from early October to early April, which is the dry season. Also, make sure to book your hot-air balloon ride in advance, as it is an experience that is much sought after and tends to get booked out way before the last date mentioned.
The Hot-air Balloon Experience and What it Entails:
The hot-air balloon tour includes a pick-up at your hotel a little before dawn, around 5 a.m., and hot coffee or tea with cookies to nibble on, before take-off. Depending on whether you have chosen the cheaper option or the more expensive option, you will either be traveling with 11 people, excluding yourself or sharing the basket space with 7 other people. The duration of the ride is around 45 minutes and take-off occur just as the sun begins to appear on the horizon.
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