Balloons over Bagan

GOPR2411


IMG 6003

Our Christmas treat was to take a hot air balloon ride over Bagan, and it was a great experience. We were collected from our hotel at 5:30 am and taken to the launch site where we found about 20 balloons and lots of people. We were given a hot drink and a safety briefing, then watched as the balloons were inflated. I had not appreciated just how big these balloons are.

IMG 5993











Getting into the basket was a bit of a challenge, and then we were off! The silent flight was punctuated by the roar of the burners and the sound of our pilot communicating with the other balloons.

IMG 6025


Since the pilot cannot steer the balloon, your view is not under anyone’s control. Sometimes you are watching the sun rise, then the balloon turns around and you are watching a completely different scene. But always you are aware of the thousands of temples/pagodas below, and can appreciate the power of the Pagan Kingdom.

IMG 6063


IMG 6074


IMG 6105


As a landing site had been spotted (and claimed!), we got lower and lower and could hear the children below shouting up to us.

IMG 6113


IMG 6133


Then it was sadly time to land. We had a very gentle landing and the ground crew came to help prevent the balloon taking off again. They were well-trained and rapidly laid out a groundsheet for the balloon to fall onto. We found getting out of the basket even harder than getting in, but no time to waste as we supped champagne and acknowledged the whole experience.

IMG 6142


It took a while for the balloon to deflate ……….

IMG 6167


…. and then I spotted a bullock cart wandering past; a strange conjunction between different technologies.

IMG 6171


When we were driving to the airport to leave Bagan, we got to see the balloons from ground level, and they remained quite majestic.

IMG 6713


IMG 6728


Click here to return to Bagan home page.

Click here to return to Myanmar home page.

© Helen Gray 2020