Riding A Hot Air Balloon In Bagan – Things You Should Know

February 4, 2019


If you are headed over to Myanmar, then you should definitely make sure that your itinerary includes a Bagan hot air balloon ride. The hot air balloon prices can be daunting, especially for budget travelers. The good news is that there are few options for a Myanmar hot air balloon experience if you are looking to spend less. 

However, the Bagan balloon flights over the ancient temples offer a truly unique and extraordinary experience that should not be missed if at all possible. Riding in a balloon over Bagan is absolutely unforgettable and worth the big ticket price, so make sure to consider it in your budget somehow!  

Hot Air Balloon Over Bagan 

Bagan hot air balloon

Before we booked our hot air balloon ride in Bagan, we had a lot of questions and didn't know exactly what to expect. We had read a lot of information on how fun and exciting it is to do this activity but there was very little information on how to prepare for it and what to do to make the most of your time on the balloon.

We put this guide together to try to answer some of the questions we think most people have and to share our knowledge of the hot air balloon ride we went on. These are things we wish we knew in advance, so hopefully, they will help out those that are thinking about going on a hot air balloon in Bagan and make them feel more prepared to do it. 

If you're thinking of putting hot air balloon ride on your list of things to do in Bagan, you'll find the information in this guide very useful!

Burma hot air balloon

How in advance should you book a hot air balloon in Bagan?

  • While travel to Myanmar may not be as popular to some other locations in southeast Asia like Thailand and Vietnam, you should not underestimate the popularity of the hot air balloon season in Bagan. Keep in mind that the number of hot air balloons going up daily is limited and the season that they operate is not year-round. The hot air balloons in here have really gotten famous in the last couple of years so tourists travel to Bagan for this experience at a high rate. Having said that, we suggest you book 2 months advance. We made our booking a month out and almost didn't get a chance to do it!
Balloons Over Bagan

Which balloon company and package should you book?

  • Oriental Ballooning, Golden Eagle, and Balloons Over Bagan are the three major companies that run the balloon rides in Bagan. There's really no wrong choice, in our opinion. They are all run very professionally by extremely skilled pilots and crew. We booked with Balloons Over Bagan simply because it was the only ticket available at the time. They have the most number of balloons flying in Bagan, so the chance of getting a reservation through them may be more.  
hot air balloon prices
  • Get the premium package - whichever company you decide to go with, get the ticket that includes the breakfast (They usually just include champaign and tea/coffee either way). The breakfast spread is really delicious and the way they set it up is pretty awesome after the ride. More importantly, get on the balloon that takes the least amount of people. Most of the balloons can fit up to 12 people. We booked one with a limit of 8 and loved the extra space we had. Each duo gets a corner of the basket that is sectioned off, so it was nice having our own little "cubicle" and we didn't even really notice the others much! The space and comfort you get is definitely worth the extra bit in price.
Bagan balloon

What to expect on the day of your hot air balloon ride:

  • Typically the balloon ticket price includes transportation. They will pick you up from your hotel around 5am. The shuttle bus ride about might take up to 20 minutes and you may be riding along with other passengers.
  • Upon arrival at the take-off location you'll get a chance to have some tea while they go over some of the instructions and procedures with you.
  • As the sun starts to brighten up the dark skies, you can watch the balloons get filled up and start to rise. The basket will be flipped on its side and then straightened out as the balloon gets inflated.
Myanmar hot air balloon
  • Once the basket is right side up, you'll be instructed to get inside. They will tell you to sit for the first couple of minutes as the basket gets lifted up (for safety).
  • Your ride route will depend on wind direction. Obviously, the region where the temples are spread over is a vast area so you really won't miss anything regardless of which direction you fly.
  • I felt that the ride was very smooth. Being prone to motion/air sickness I had no sissues the entire ride! 
Bagan hot air balloon - view on ride
  • You don't have to worry about which part of the basket you get to stand in as the baskets turn so everyone gets a great view throughout the ride.
  • The pilots may point out some pagodas and give some explanations of notable sights of the region.
  • It is a 45 minute flight time. Door to door, total time was about 3 hours round trip.
  • The breakfast at the end was amazing with Champagne and croissants, ham, jam, juice, fruit, cheese, eggs all prepared very professionally. Such a luxurious experience!
Burma hot air balloon breakfast
  • There will be an opportunity at the end to purchase souvenirs. The vendors are all very polite and have great items. I highly recommend getting one of the lacquerware products as a gift or for yourself, especially if you don't have time to go check out the workshops during your trip.
  • We were informed by our pilot that some of the money from ticket sales goes back into community. For instance some of the electricity in the area was provided in part by Balloons Over Bagan.
  • Make sure to tip the crew. They work really hard in providing a memorable time for everyone and it is well-deserved!
hot air balloon Bagan

Some tips for your first hot air balloon ride:

  • Some pilots don't allow selfie sticks (we were lucky that ours was ok with us having one on board).
  • Bring a small backpack to contain small items if basket tips.
  • If you have long hair, be sure to tie it back.
  • Temperatures can be a bit cool, so a shall is good in November but jacket is probably best in other months. It does get warmer when sun comes out, so bring something you can put away later.
  • Since you get up super early to do this, we recommend a nap before going to see temples for the rest of the day.
  • Don't worry if you forget your camera. The photos take by their camera onboard get published on their website so you can upload them later.
Bagan hot air balloon - after the ride

We hope that after reading this article, you believe us when we say that the hot air balloon in Bagan is worth it! There are few places around the world that offer such an exquisite experience and travelers to Bagan should really take advantage of this offer. 

We tried our best to cover any of the mystery and confusion that others may have when it comes to the Burma hot air balloons in Bagan, but if you think we missed anything, please let us know if the comments below. We are happy to try to answer any question you might have about this amazing and fun activity!

Take a look at the below map if you are in search of places to stay in Bagan and if you want to find the best prices for flights, we recommend comparing prices with Skyscanner.

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Taiss Nowrouzi

About the Author

Taiss Nowrouzi

Hi! I'm just a California girl addicted to travel and adventure with a passion for art and dance on the side. Born in Iran, but I consider myself a citizen of Earth, adhering to the belief that "The world is but one country and mankind its citizen." I strive to make a positive impact on everyone I meet and learn as much as possible from them. My degree out of college is in Marketing. However, I entered the hospitality business at an early age and worked my way up to hotel management. After about 13 years in that industry (5 of which I was a hotel assistant manager), I made the decision to move to Thailand and leave the 9 to 5 grind behind. My husband and I set off for a life of living abroad and hopes to continue traveling the world, just 3 months after our wedding. It all started with the two of us, along with our cat, together in Thailand. Can't wait to see where life takes us next!

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