Balloons Over Bagan
Imagine . . . floating over thousand year old pagodas and the mighty Ayeyarwaddy River, as the sun sinks slowly behind distant mountains.
The magic of Bagan has inspired visitors to Myanmar for centuries. One of the most remarkable sights in Asia, ancient temples dot the landscape as far as the eye can see. Now, Balloons over Bagan affords visitors a unique opportunity to see this ancient kingdom, as it never has been seen before. The sunrise and sunset champagne flights take off daily from October through to the end of March.
The balloon is guided by gentle winds not exceeding 15 mph, allowing passengers a serene and peaceful bird's-eye view of ancient temples drifting by. Using his skill the pilot is able to guide the balloon to a gentle landing where our friendly crew and celebratory glass of champagne will be on hand. Commercial passenger ballooning has the best safety record of all forms of air transport. "Balloons over Bagan's" pilots and technicians are qualified and registered in the UK. Our balloons, which are built to the highest standards of the British aerospace industry, are provided by Cameron Balloons Limited, the world's largest manufacturer of high quality balloons. Each balloon is insured for three millions dollars, third party, and passenger liability. "Balloons over Bagan" is a private Myanmar Company that is committed to the preservation of Bagan and its environment. A small contribution from each flight will be donated to community programs that directly benefit the local population.
FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
How long is the flight?
Our flights normally last 45 minutes to one hour, or longer depending on the wind. The whole experience including hotel pick ups and light champagne breakfast lasts between 2 ½ to 3 hours. Ballooning is also about watching the set up of the balloon, and being rescued at the end too, not just the flight itself. Not knowing where you are going to land is always exciting and part of the adventure!
What do we see?
The exciting thing about ballooning is that you just don’t know. You will see Bagan waking up in the morning. You will see many temples in the distance and get a spectacular aerial view of Bagan. Sometimes you may fly over villages and see people on their early morning rounds, feeding their animals; or going to market. It is an amazing and interactive experience.
Can we go to …… by balloon?
The balloon can only go where the wind takes it. So we unfortunately cannot pre-plan where it will land.
Is it safe?
Commercial passenger ballooning is the safest form of all air transport.
In Bagan we are always very careful. We only fly when there are light surface winds less than 8 knots.
Our pilots and technicians are European Nationals qualified and registered in the UK.
Our balloons are built to the highest standards of the British aerospace industry by Cameron Balloons Ltd, the world’s largest manufacturer of hot air balloons.
All our crew are trained to the highest international standards and have all been trained in first aid by UK Public Transport Inspectors.
I’m scared of heights.
Ballooning does not usually affect those people who are scared of heights. Because the balloon travels with the wind, the basket is very stable and does not sway or rock during flight. There is no sense of vertigo or motion.
Do we see this pagoda?
You will see lots of pagodas! Exactly which pagoda you will see depends on the wind direction.
How many people can fit in one balloon?
We currently have six balloons in service and we will offer 7 balloons in 2012 – 2013 season. Two balloons have room for 8 passengers in four separate compartments plus a pilot. Two balloons have room for 12 passengers in four separate compartments. Two balloons have room for 16 passengers in four separate compartments. Our newest balloon can accommodate 16 passengers also in four compartments.
What do we get for the price?
A memory that we hope will last forever; transport to and from your hotel to launch and landing site, flight, ‘rescue’, celebratory glass of champagne and light breakfast.
Where do we take off?
The take off site changes with the wind and is decided by the pilot in command on the day of the flight.
Where do we land?
Wherever the wind takes you! This could be next to a Pagoda, a field by a village, on a sandbank, or even across the river, which will involve a rescue by boat.
What time will we be picked up?
For the morning flight, passengers are usually picked up at their hotels by our Balloons over Bagan bus between 05h30 and 06h00 in the morning depending on the location of your hotel and the hotels of other passengers. The exact time will be given to you the evening before when you come to our sales desk at the Thiripyitsaya Sanctuary Hotel to re-confirm your flight.
What time do we get back to the hotel?
In the morning flight, passengers are usually back at their hotels by 8.30 am.
Can we fly at sunset?
We can sometimes put on evening flights on a standby basis only. Unfortunately because of the tropical location in Bagan, evening weather conditions tend to be less favourable and less reliable than in our scheduled morning flights. We believe therefore that a morning flight affords a more enjoyable and superior experience. Bagan is normally at its most beautiful early in the morning, and temperatures are pleasant and cool.
Can our children fly?
For safety reasons there are age and height restrictions. We set a minimum age of 8 years old, but as a general rule, all passengers must be able to see over the basket.
How can we pay for a pre-booking?
You can book with our retail agent 'Expeditions Myanmar Ltd.
Can I get my money back if the balloon flight is cancelled?
Yes of course! Balloons over Bagan only operates when the chief pilot decides that the weather is suitable and it is safe to fly. Therefore it might be possible that we have to cancel the balloon flight at the launch site for safety reasons. In that case we will refund 100% of your payment. All direct payments to Balloons over Bagan will be refunded in cash either in Bagan or in Yangon. If you have made payment through your travel agent, we will advise them immediately so that they can make arrangements for your refund on your return to Yangon.
Can I decide later in Bagan whether I want to fly or not?
It is possible to buy a last minute stand by ticket at our sales desk at the Thiripyitsaya Sanctuary Hotel but this is only possible if we have spaces left for the next day. In previous years at certain times during the season we unfortunately have had to turn people away who wanted to book at short notice, but couldn’t because the day they were in Bagan the balloons were already fully booked by package tours. Therefore, to avoid disappointment, we strongly suggest you make your booking in advance. However if you are planning to stay in Bagan for 3-4 days there is a much better chance to book a standby space on one of the flights. If you are in any doubt, please feel free to contact us directly by phone or email, and we can give you an indication of our current booking status. Please note that this is an indication only, and may not remain accurate for very long.
Why do I have to give my weight?
It is important that we receive the correct weight of each passenger as soon as possible. The chief pilot needs this figure to calculate the total ballast of the basket, so that he can determine the total amount of lift available on that day.
Who owns Balloons over Bagan?
Balloons over Bagan is a 100% private Myanmar company, which was set up and is run by husband and wife team Brett Melzer and Khin Omar Win.
What is the premium service?
Our new premium service offers a more personalised and spacious experience for a maximum of just 8 passengers per day. In addition to this, clients will receive a free CD including an inflight photo of their flight, as well as a short promotional video of the Balloons over Bagan experience.