To balloon is to feel freedom. The first successful balloon ride took place on November 21, 1783 in Paris. Since that success, ballooning has become a thrilling and spectacular way to see the world from another perspective. Whether you’re a thrill seeker, a hopeless romantic or an Eco warrior, there is a balloon ride and luxe destination out there for every occasion.
Thrill Seekers: A Hot Air Balloon over Mount Everest, Nepal
There are very few destination as mentally and physically challenging whilst being utterly rewarding, as Mount Everest, Nepal. Its a destination that has drawn people from all around the world, of all ages to its harsh and majestic mountains. Mount Everest has seen a great many people walk its path. For those who have already made it to base camp or the peak, for the time poor or for those simply wanting to try something a little more unique, then a hot air balloon over Mount Everest is just the ticket. And a very pricy ticket at that… coming in a a cool, non-refundable $2.6 million per person – making this and opportunity for the select few.
Any true adventurer knows there are no guarantees and ballooning Everest is no exception. Weather in the Everest region can be temperamental which means safety is of the utmost importance. So, if mother nature gets mad and starts huffing and puffing your guide will make the best decision regarding everyones safety. Who will guide you on this once in a lifetime adventure? None other than the most thrilling of all thrill seekers, Chris Dewhirst (and his team). In 1991, Dewhirst was the first to travel by hot air balloon over Mount Everest so you are in very capable hands.
Romantics: Glide over Lush Forests and Mount Agung, Bali
For those of us who are proud (or even secret) romantics, there is a new ballooning opportunity on the horizon. Balinese luxury resort The Chedi Club Tanah Gajah in Ubud has launched quite the romantic balloon ride. Whether it’s for a proposal or just to show your partner how much you love them, it will be a trip to remember.
Glide through the skies over some of the regions most scenic locations at either dawn, late afternoon or just after the moon has risen. Stunning views of rice paddies, lush forests and Mt Agung will make you sigh and gaze longingly below… although, you should also remember to gaze longingly at your partner too…
The flight is brief, lasting 5 to 7 minutes but well worth when it comes to views and of course, proposal locations. For the morning and afternoon flight the cost is $150 and the evening flight costs $200. The adventure includes breakfast, afternoon tea or dinner, depending on your departure time, either before or after your flight. Time to start practicing bending down on one knee in a floating wicker basket.
Spiritual Relaxation: Balloons over Bagan, Myanmar
With increasingly busy lives, people are searching more than ever before to feel zen and total relaxation. Whilst you will probably feel unbelievably relaxed having a massage, the only thing you are likely to see in that scenario is the back of your eyelids or the shoes of your masseuse as they move around the massage bed. A far better view for those seeking spiritual relaxation, is found in the skies of Bagan, Myanmar.
Float gently over the ancient temples of Bagan and the villages below, breathe in the fresh cool air and indulge your senses. Taking off on the brink of sunrise, you will experience a view of Buddhist temples found amongst the lush landscapes below, that is sure to tap into your inner zen. Upon landing, Balloons over Bagan offer a champagne breakfast with fruits and pastries – what better way to celebrate such an experience than with Champagne.
Wine Lovers: A Birds Eye View over the Yarra Valley, Australia
Australia may be a young country but it sure knows wine. The perfect location for wine lovers to experience a region full of vineyards, spectacular mountain views and most important of all, fantastic wines, is the Yarra Valley. A short drive from the culture hub that is Melbourne will take you to the Yarra Valley wine region. Ticking all the boxes, from great food and wine to stable weather, ballooning in the Yarra Valley is a dream.
Enjoy a birds eye view of perfect rows of grape vines, drift over the Yarra River and experience the stunning local flora and fauna the region has to offer. The balloon basket has been cushioned for optimal comfort along with rope handles to hold on to for landing. The flight on its own is AU $405, however, the flight with a Champagne breakfast is AU$435… with Champagne breakfast on offer, there really is no competition.
Eco Warriors: Soar over the Savanna
For the Eco Warrior within, there are two destinations that will take you back to nature without leaving a pesky footprint. The first, Massai Mara. Soar over the Savannah below and observe wildlife in their natural habitat. Ballooning over such an open and vast landscape will give you an insight into the lives of the giraffes, antelope and even the mighty lion, that simply cannot be experienced from land. At Luxury Eco Lodge Angama Mara, the balloon experience kicks off just before dawn – the best time to see wildlife. Just because the animals are awake doesn’t mean you will be, so Angama Mara has put a cunning plan in place, and that plan is called: coffee. Knock back a few cups of coffee while the balloon is inflating then away you go. After an hour in the air, you will be welcomed to a champagne breakfast once back on land.
For something a little more lush and green, head to the rain forests of Costa Rica. With views (at a safe distance of course) of the Arenal Volcano, the chance to fly low over the forest canopy, the fields and rivers and to play in to clouds above, Serendipity Adventures certainly knows how to entertain on a balloon adventure. Monkeys can be seen swinging through the tree tops and if your lucky you might even get a “song” or two out of them. The flight last around 1 hour 15 minutes and can be booked as a charter flight for up to five passengers at $1200. The perfect balloon ride to get in touch with nature.