Balloons over Bagan - frequently asked questions
1. 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
2. What do we see?
Bagan as you’ve never seen it before! Like a bird
would see and wherever the wind takes you! The exciting thing about
ballooning is that you just don’t know. You may see Bagan waking up
in the morning. You will see many temples in the distance and get an
aerial view of Bagan. Sometimes you may fly over villages and see
people getting up in the morning and feeding their animals; or fly
over fields and see people going to market. It is an amazing
3. Can we go to …… by balloon?
The balloon can only go where the wind takes it. So
you can not pre-plan where it will land.
4. Is it safe?
• Very. Commercial passenger ballooning is the
safest form of all air transport.
• In Bagan we are always very careful. We only fly when there are
• Our pilots and technicians are 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.
5. 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.
6. Do we see this pagoda?
You will see lots of pagodas! Exactly which pagoda
you will see depends on the wind direction.
7. How many people can fit in one balloon?
The balloon has room for 8 passengers in four
separate compartments plus a pilot. Our largest balloon can
accommodate 12 passengers also in four compartments
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. Where do we land?
Wherever the wind takes you! This could be a field
by a village, a field in the middle of nowhere, on a sandbank, or
even across the river, which will involve a rescue by boat –
11. 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 after you come to our sales desk at
Thiripyitsaya Sakura Hotel to re-confirm your flight.
12. What time do we get back to the hotel?
In the morning flight, passengers are usually back
at their hotels by 8.30 am.
13. 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
14. Oh, it’s too early, I can’t get up.
Bagan is normally at its most beautiful early in the
morning, and temperatures are pleasant and cool. In addition, apart
from the views of thousands of temples, you will experience Bagan
coming to life. At this time in the morning it is common to see from
above children going to school or monks walking in long lines
collecting alms for the day.
15. 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.
16. How can we pay for a pre-booking?
For pre-bookings, full payment must be made in
Yangon, before your departure to Bagan. Please inform us where you
are staying in Yangon and what day and what time we can visit you to
deliver your flight tickets and to collect cash payment.
17. Can we pay by credit card?
Please be aware that at present credit cards cannot,
or seldom be used in Myanmar. In the near future we may be able to
accept Visa and MasterCard, but we strongly advise you to bring
either cash USD or Euro with you. Additionally, we are unable to
accept traveller’s cheques either.
18. Can I get my money back if the balloon flight
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 could be possible that we have to cancel
the balloon flight at the last moment for safety reasons. In that
case we will refund 100% of your payment. If you have made payment
through your travel agent, we will advise them immediately so that
they can make arrangements for your refund when you return to
19. 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 Sakura 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 had to turn
people away who wanted to join the balloons 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.
20. Why do I have to give my weight?
It is important that we receive the weight of each
passenger as soon as possible. The chief pilot needs this figure to
calculate the total ballast of the basket, so he can determine the
total amount of lift available on that day.
21. Who owns Balloons over Bagan?
Balloons over Bagan is a 100% private Myanmar
company, which was set up and run by husband and wife team Brett
Melzer and Khin Omar Win.
22. What is the price?
Our prices are:
Pre-booking: USD 295 per person (Xmas USD 310)
Stand-by: USD 275 per person (Xmas USD 290)
These prices are valid from 1st October 2009 until
31st March 2010.
There will be no general increase in rates, but from
the 24th December through until the 4th January we will introduce a
USD 15 per person increase during the peak Christmas and New Year
Period to reflect the very heavy demand at this time.
This price includes transfers from your hotel,
balloon flight and a light champagne breakfast.
Please note that “stand-by tickets” (which are
unsold tickets for the following morning's flight) are only
available 24 hours before flight, at our sales desk in Bagan.
23. It’s very expensive.
No! For a balloon flight this is not expensive! In
Africa flights per person cost US$ 400 on average. In the UK flights
are typically GBP 150 – 175 per person. Flying in a balloon is very
special and is the best way to see Bagan. It is a once in a lifetime
and unique experience that you will never forget.
Balloons over Bagan employs highly qualified UK
pilots and public transport Inspectors, and each custom made balloon
is built in the UK. Each balloon is insured for US$ 3,000,000 third
party and passenger liability, through Lloyds of London. All our
staff are trained to the highest international standard.
24. It’s cheaper in Europe.
Some operations in Europe are cheaper because
regulations for pilots and manufacturing specifications for the
balloon are not as strict as the UK. However all EU ballooning
legislation is now being harmonised in line with UK legislation to
ensure operators meet stricter operating standards. Pricing in
established commercial operations with full international insurance
cover in Europe now exceeds 200 Euros per person.