There’s nothing in the world quite like getting a birds eye view of the ancient temples of Bagan. The unique landscape, riddled with mystical pagodas makes the Bagan hot air balloon so iconic and a must do bucket list experience when visiting Myanmar. Below is a complete guide to help you decide if the Bagan hot air balloon experience is for you, and if you do decide to book make sure you take advantage of the amazing discounts I’ve included.

a red hot air balloon flies over a sunrise sky in bagan myanmar with green countryside and ancient buddhist temples below
Sunrise views over Bagan balloon tour

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What is Hot Air Ballooning in Bagan like?

The day started early at 5am, when I was picked up at my hotel.

After a short drive I arrived at the launch site and was greeted with a light breakfast. I was nervous, so didn’t eat, but chatted with the other first timers instead.

Soon I met our pilot who gave us a full safety briefing and instructions on what to do during takeoff and landing.

The briefing was clear and I then felt much more ready to board the wicker basket and get going.

First I had to wait for the hot air balloons to be inflated and prepared for the flight.

two men are inflating a yellow bagan hot air balloon before take off in myanmar
Waiting for the hot air balloon Bagan Myanmar

Once we boarded (which involved climbing up and over the basket edge), I got a corner position in the basket so I could adjust my view if needed.

We were told to bring a windbreaker but there was so much heat radiating from the balloon that I took mine off immediately.

group of people are in wicker basket of bagan hot air balloon before it sets off waiting to rise into the sky. girl in the corner of the basket smiles as she has the best position for photos
Grab a corner in the Myanmar balloon if you can so you get views from two sides!

We took off a few minutes after sunrise, and began drifting through the air, slowly and gently.

I expected it to be more like a plane taking off but I actually hadn’t even noticed we were off the ground it was that smooth!

As soon as we rose higher and higher into the sky I knew how incredible the next hour would be and I suspected I may have triggered a new obsession. We had panoramic views of the temples of Bagan.

We passed local villages and waved to those on their morning commute, whilst getting a view we would never otherwise be able to experience.

As we floated over the trees and temples our pilot taught us about the history of Bagan and explained some of the background of ballooning to us too.

I learnt that the pilots don’t know exactly where the balloon will end up as this largely depends on the wind, but every morning calculations are made and the balloon crew drive out to the area they think we will land and then follow the balloons in the car if this changes.

This means every day the flight route is different resulting in a unique experience for everyone.

At around 7.30am we prepared to land by holding onto the ropes and for safety reasons, getting into a seated position in the basket. We landed gently and I wasn’t even sure if we had hit the ground yet.

We disembarked one by one and were greeted with a glass of champagne, in true aeronautical tradition.

With a smile on my face, I tucked into the continental breakfast provided and treasured the personal flight certificate I received. The balloon was deflated and packed up by the crew.

At around 8.15am we were driven back to our hotels and arrived at around 9am, with plenty of time to enjoy the rest of the day in Bagan.

If you’re convinced to book then the same hot air balloon ride is $25 off if you book via this link!

several hot air balloons are close to the ground and about the land on green grass with crew waiting to help in bagan myanmar
Crew are on hand to help land the Bagan air balloon

When can you Ride a Hot Air Balloon in Bagan?

Bagan hot air balloon season 2020/2021 runs from the beginning of October 2020 to the middle of April 2021.

Bagan hot air balloon rides last 45 minutes to an hour and occur at sunrise, as the cooler morning temperatures allow balloons to float closer to the ancient stupas for a more detailed glimpse.

Daybreak also tends to bring with it more dramatic layers of haze, dreamily blanketing the landscape for perfect photo opportunities.

During ballooning season sunrise changes and is around 6.15am in October and November, 6.30am in December, 6.45am in January, 6.30am in February, 6.15am in March and 6.00am in April.

Note that during the below peak periods, prices may increase by $20 and Bagan hot air balloon rides need to booked further in advance to ensure availability:

  • 23 December 2020 to 5 January 2021 (Christmas and New Year)
  • 23 January 2021 to 27 January 2021 (Chinese New Year)
  • 12 February 2021 to 16 February 2021 (Valentines Day)

girl with camera is photographing hot air balloons in the sky over bagan in myanmar whilst she is in a bagan hot air balloon herself
Capturing the hot air balloon Bagan

What is Included in the Bagan Hot Air Balloon Ride?

The Bagan balloon ride includes hotel transfers, hot drinks, snacks and fruit before take off, insurance, a branded cap and a commemorative flight certificate.

Premium options also exist which include less passengers in the basket, full breakfast after the Myanmar balloon ride and inflight photos.

close up view of people in hot air balloon wicker basket floating over lush green jungle like landscape in myanmar in a bagan hot air balloon
Close up of the journey over Bagan in a hot air balloon

Which Bagan Balloon Company Should You Choose?

In London I had researched the three companies offering hot air balloon rides in Bagan, I hadn’t noticed until I reached Yangon but each company had balloons in three different colours (yellow, green, and red) representing the Myanmar flag!

Here is some info on each of the Bagan hot air balloon companies:

Golden Eagle Ballooning

The bright yellow balloons flying over Bagan belong to Golden Eagle Ballooning.

They have been organising hot air balloon rides in Myanmar since 1999, and donate 5% of ticket sales to community projects.

As my trip to Myanmar was so last minute there was only one company with Bagan hot air balloon availability, Golden Eagle Ballooning.

After a day of oohing and aahing, I decided to bite the bullet and book the balloon flight over Bagan.

The experience was seamless from start to finish, Golden Eagle Ballooning made the day special beyond belief and I have no hesitations in recommending them to anyone who is considering a hot air balloon in Bagan. (If you want a 15% discount click here).

Golden Eagle Ballooning, Bagan Umbra Hotel (Wet Kyi Inn), +95 9 25208 4232 or +95 9 25208 4242

Balloons over Bagan

The biggest hot air balloon ride company is Balloons over Bagan.

They have twelve dark red coloured balloons, that you often see in the photos of Bagan.

They have been running for over 20 years and also offer hot air balloon rides in Inle Lake.

Balloons over Bagan, Thiripyitsaya Block No. (5), Nyaung U (Bagan), Myanmar, +95 9 424 313 404

Oriental Ballooning

The dark green balloons in Bagan are run by Oriental Ballooning.

Oriental balloon Bagan have been around since 2013 and also offer hot air balloon rides in Mandalay, Inle Lake and Ngapali.

They have pilots who speak several languages such as English, French, German, Spanish, Chinese and Japanese.

They also offer free English lessons to the 100 local staff they employ.

Oriental Ballooning, No. 76 A, Lanmadaw Road, Sone Kone Quarter, Nyaung U, +95 9 250 505 383

red yellow and green bagan hot air balloons are in the sunrise sky over green countryside in bagan
The different colour balloons represent the Myanmar flag

Comparisons of Hot Air Balloons in Bagan

The Bagan Myanmar hot air balloon prices are extremely high, especially by Asian standards (hot air balloon rides in Laos are 1/3 of the price).

I thought about the decision a lot before I decided to splurge so much on a 45 minute trip floating in the sky but as soon as we rose, I had butterflies in my stomach and knew it was 100% worth it to me for the magical experience.

Here are the three hot air balloon companies in Bagan compared to each other and some bonus discount offers if you book via the links provided!

Company

Type

Basket Size

Includes

Book It Now

Golden Eagle Ballooning

Classic

12

    • Transport

    • Light Breakfast

    Golden Eagle Ballooning

    Premium

    8

    • Transport

    • Light Breakfast

    • Inflight photos

    Balloons over Bagan

    Classic

    14-16

    • Transport

    • Light Breakfast

    • Inflight photos

    Balloons over Bagan

    Premium


    8

    • Transport

    • Full Breakfast

    • Inflight photos

    Oriental Ballooning

    Premium

    12

    • Transport

    • Light Breakfast

    • Inflight photos

    6 hot air balloons float over the temples and greenery of bagan in myanmar at sunrise
    Floating over the temples at sunrise

    Missed out on a Bagan Hot Air Balloon Ride?

    If you miss out on reserving a hot air balloon in Bagan, don’t give up just yet.

    Contact each of the three companies detailed above and ask them to add you to their reserve list for ALL the dates you are in Bagan.

    It’s a long shot but I know a couple who managed to secure a hot air balloon ride in Bagan the night before by using this method.

    If you don’t want to play it by ear, and prefer to have your balloon ride booked in advance, check out some alternative locations for hot air balloon rides in Myanmar.

    silhouettes of two Bagan hot air balloons at sunrise over a green lush countryside and with the sun just behind one of the balloons it is about to eclipse it in bagan
    A truly mesmerising landscape to experience by hot air balloon

    Alternative Myanmar Hot Air Balloon Locations (2020/2021 Season)

    The Bagan hot air balloon is the most iconic ride and features in countless photos aimed to inspire you to visit Myanmar.

    However, other areas offer rides on hot air balloon in Myanmar.

    They still need to be booked in advance but will be easier to secure a spot and they provide a more exclusive and intimate experience as the balloons only hold 8 passengers for these destinations in Myanmar.

    Destination

    Company

    Book It Now

    Mandalay

    Oriental Ballooning

    Inle Lake

    Balloons over Inle

    Inle Lake

    Oriental Ballooning

    Ngapali

    Oriental Ballooning

    silhouettes of people crossing wooden bridge at sunset in mandalay in myanmar
    U leg Bridge in Mandalay, Myanmar

    Alternative Sunrise Viewpoints in Bagan

    If the price of ballooning over Bagan doesn’t fit your travel budget this time around, or if soaring over the temples seems too daunting, there’s still a chance to marvel at the Bagan hot air balloons by heading to the temples themselves and watching the balloons fly over.

    Sunrise Temple

    For some of the best shots head to Sunrise temple to take in a panoramic view of nearby temples and Bagan’s iconic skyline dotted with balloons in the distance.

    Be warned this location gets busy, but the view is worth it.

    sunrise views of temples in the distance and green countryside with the yellow sky filled with the silhouette of 12 bagan hot air balloon
    Sunrise temple has beautiful views of the Bagan hot air balloons in the distance

    I visited Sunrise temple on my first morning in Bagan after arriving at 2.30am on the night bus from Yangon.

    Climbing the pagoda (barefoot) up to this viewpoint was the wake up call I needed and was definitely the best way to start my next few days in the region, and get me excited for my Bagan hot air balloon ride the next day.

    Save this Complete Guide to Bagan Hot Air Balloon Ride to Pinterest for Later

    Bagan Hot Air Balloon Ride 2020/2021 - Everything You Need To Know 1

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