Balloon Over Bagan – frequently asked questions
How long is the flight?
Balloon Over Bagan flights on average last 45 minutes to one hour depending on the wind. Flights over 25 minutes are deemed completed. The whole experience including hotel pick-ups and light champagne breakfast lasts between 2 ½ to 3 hours. Ballooning is also about watching the setup 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 since we launched in 1999 and have never recorded any accident or incident however minor.
- 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 and Lindstrand Balloons.
- All our crew are trained to the highest international standards for the past 15 years and have all been trained in first aid by UK Public Transport Inspectors.
- Our Senior crew have been trained in the UK at the manufactures, and form part of a permanent in house maintenance organisation.
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?
Balloon Over Bagan currently have 12 balloons in service. Three balloons have room for 8 passengers in four separate compartments plus a pilot. One balloon has room for 12 passengers in four separate compartments. Eight balloons have room for 16 passengers in four separate compartments, offering a range of flexibility across our entire fleet for small or larger groups.
What is the premium service?
Balloon Over Bagan’s successful premium service offers a more personalised and spacious experience for a maximum of just 24 passengers per day in our three smallest 8 passenger balloons. Designed to hold just 4 couples in their own individual compartments with more personal space, the premium service offers a more intimate and private experience. A highlight of the experience is a guided interactive tour around the balloon during inflation from your pilot just prior to take off. In addition to this, clients will receive a free CD or memory stick including an in-flight photo of their flight.
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. We have exclusive use of the Shwezigone sports ground which affords a spectacular view of the Shwezigone pagoda at first light.
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 or your guide come to our sales office in Bagan to reconfirm your flight.
What time do we get back to the hotel?
In the morning flight, passengers are usually back at their hotels by 8.00 – 8.30 am. Some passengers like to stay longer after landing to drink an extra glass of champagne or chat with villagers who come to witness the landing. The post flight celebrations are an important part of ballooning in this special area and not to be rushed!
Can we fly at sunset?
Balloon Over Bagan 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?
For a pre-booking, full payment must be made preferably by bank transfer at least 30 days in advance of the flight date. All payment must be paid in US dollar.
Note for passengers booking via Myanmar City Star Travel & Tours Co. Ltd.:
Myanmar City Star Travel & Tours Co. Ltd. only accepts secure online payment (for balloon flight bookings made less than 45 days before the flight date) or bank transfers (for the bookings made 45 days or more before the flight). We accept all major debit and credit cards via paypal payments or bank transfers. Card payments and paypal transfer incur a charge of 2%. In case of payments by bank transfers, clients need to ensure that the net amount is transferred and all transfer charges their bank may apply are debited from their account.
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 unfortunately 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 you return to Yangon.
Note for passengers booked via Myanmar City Star Travel & Tours Co. Ltd:
Myanmar City Star Travel & Tours Co. Ltd will make a full refund in net amount via paypal or bank transfer to all passengers booked through us, this exclude the 2% online payment fees or the bank charges when you made the payment.
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 Balloon Over Bagan sales office in Bagan but this is only possible if there are spaces left for the next day. In recent 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 price?
Classic Service Flight USD 320 per person
(Xmas & New Year’s surcharge – USD 330)
Premium Service Flight USD 380 per person
(Xmas & New Year’s surcharge – USD 390)
Prices include transfers from your hotel, balloon flight and a light champagne breakfast. These prices are valid from 20th October 2015 until 20th March 2016.
Premium service will operate from the 20th October through to the 20th March only.
From the 20th December through until the 5th January there is an additional charge of USD 10 per person during the peak Christmas and New Year Period to reflect the very heavy demand at this time.
Standby tickets can only be purchased 48 hours or two full days in advance at Balloon Over Bagan Sales office in Bagan. Their Bagan sales office is open from 8am to 11am and again from 5pm to 8pm. The contact phone numbers are (+95) 061 60347 and (+95) 09 448045716.