Balloon ride over the temples of Bagan at sunrise.
Bagan is known worldwide as one of the most spectacular locations for a balloon flight. No wonder a Bagan balloon ride is on many people’s bucket list. From October to April each year balloons rise at sunrise to float over the 2000+ temples of this 40km2 area.
These days there are 4 balloon companies, charging $250-350 for a flight. It’s quite a bit of money, but an experience you’ll never forget. Now that all temples are closed and you can’t enjoy sunrise or sunset from any of those magnificent views, it’s even more appealing.
There’s a lot more balloons these days. During my visit in 2012 when there was only 1 balloon company, there were 7 balloons. Now, depending on how busy it is, there are sometimes over 30.
A free Bagan balloon ride
As much as I wanted to do a Bagan balloon ride, I’m a budget backpacker who doesn’t spend on things like that. Especially since I’ve already done several balloon flights and I had my drone with me, which gave me similar views.
For my most recent visit to Myanmar, I had returned mainly to do something back for the kind locals who treated me so well. I raised €6000, which let me do several projects to help kids, the poorest people in a village and other people. I’ll be posting about this project soon.
One day I went to a village where I gave money to the very poorest old people in the village (with the help of my local friend). I saw some true poverty that day. These old ladies would each grab my hand and start speaking all these things to me. That my dreams and wishes may come true and stuff.
At the end of the day I met 2 balloon pilots from Balloons over Bagan (www.balloonsoverbagan.com) at Weather Spoons restaurant. Long story short, they loved my work and offered me a free Bagan balloon ride the next day! Isn’t that interesting? Guess the old ladies made a wish come true.
The flight was incredible, but what was very unfortunate is that our balloon kinda ‘got stuck’ above the rest, so we were just up too high to get the best views and photos.
When there are balloons under you, you can’t go down. With over 30 balloons, it was kinda busy that day and everyone wants to get as low as possible. That was the only thing that was a bit unfortunate, but hey, I’m not complaining on this free ride! I would have been bummed though if I had paid hundreds of buck for this as a photo opportunity…
Booking a Bagan balloon ride
If you plan doing a balloon ride, you better book ahead. Depending on the time you plan on being there it might be fully booked. If you haven’t booked, but are interested, you might be able to get a promo, if you’re lucky. With 4 companies these days there’s more competition going on.
The company I’d recommend is Balloons over Bagan, this is the first company that does a lot of good work for locals in need. Visit at www.balloonsoverbagan.com
Nikon D850 with Nikkor 28-300/3.5-5.6