Oriental Ballooning – frequently asked questions
When can I fly with Oriental Ballooning?
The flying season in Myanmar is October to March. We are currently offering early morning flights throughout this period.
How long do I need to allow for a balloon flight?
From pick up at your hotel, to returning you there, takes approximately 3 to 4 hours.
I’m not very good at getting up in the morning. Is it possible to fly in the afternoon?
We do not offer afternoon flights. Morning flights are cooler and more likely to occur, as the weather conditions are more reliable and suitable in the morning.
At what time will I be collected from my Hotel?
Passenger pick-up time varies by location and throughout the flying season but is generally between 5.30am and 6.15am. We will inform you of the exact time when you confirm your flight, which is usually the evening prior to your flight.
Why do we need to go so early in the morning?
To take advantage of the best flying conditions and to capture that all-important early morning light as it illuminates the temples and stupas. Later in the day the atmosphere may become unstable making it unsuitable for ballooning.
Where can I go flying with Oriental Ballooning?
We currently offer flights over Bagan, Mandalay, Inle Lake, Pindaya and Ngapali. All destinations have their own particular charm. In Bagan you will marvel at the sight of so many temples and stupas in such a small area. In Mandalay, you will be enthralled by the lively atmosphere of this populous city and the beauty of its location beside the mighty Irrawaddy. Our flights in Pindaya is for private charter only and subject to availability and advanced booking.
How far and how high do we go?
Hot air balloons fly with the wind so the distance travelled depends on the wind speed. Typically you will travel between 5 and 10km. Your pilot will alter the height the balloon travels at throughout the flight to give you the best views. At times you will glide along at tree-top height and at others you will be given a panoramic view from 2000 ft/600m.
I’m afraid of heights, is this a problem in ballooning?
You needn’t be. In our experience, people who say they are afraid of heights invariably find that in a balloon basket their fears melt away immediately the balloon leaves the ground. There is a scientific explanation why this is so, but we won’t bore you with it here. Just try it and you’ll find out!
How many people will there be in the basket?
Balloon baskets, like balloons come in different sizes. Oriental Ballooning is proud to offer you compartmented baskets for your safety and comfort. There will only be one other passenger in the same compartment as you.
Can my child go ballooning?
Passengers aged 8 or older can be flown, as long as they are at least 137cm tall (4ft6in). Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied on the flight by a responsible adult. Sorry, we don’t offer reduced fares for children.
I’m not very physically fit. Is this a problem?
You need to be able to climb in and out of the basket and stand unaided for an hour or so. If you are unable to climb in and out, we have a basket available with a door to aid easy entry into the basket, which may be available for an extra charge.
What should I wear?
You should wear layered, comfortable outdoor clothing and sturdy flat shoes. Although it gets hot quickly when the sun rises, it can be quite cold and damp before sunrise, especially during December and January. It is best to wear layers of clothes, which you can take off as the morning warms up.
What about toilets?
Sorry, we don’t have any toilet facilities available on our launch or landing sites.
What can I bring along on the flight?
Handbags, cameras, binoculars and lots of questions; just as you would when out with a tour guide. You will want to capture those memories and our knowledgeable pilots will be happy to answer all of your questions. Valuables are carried in the basket at the owner’s risk. Make sure you have plenty of space on your memory card and your camera battery is fully charged.
Do flights get cancelled and if so, what happens?
Flights can be cancelled for safety or operational reasons. Although the weather in Myanmar during the flying season is very stable, there are occasions when we have to cancel a flight for the safety of our passengers, pilots and crew. If this happens, we may be able to offer you a later flight in the same location or one of our alternative locations. If you are unable to take advantage of this, don’t worry, you will receive a full refund.
How can I book a flight with Oriental Ballooning?
Booking a flight with us couldn’t be simpler. You can book through your agent, guide, hotel or boat. Or directly with Oriental Ballooning.
How can I pay for my flight?
You can pay your guide, hotel or agent, or if booking directly with Oriental Ballooning you can pay by cash (US$) or credit card. Oriental Ballooning accepts US$, EUR and Visa or Master card credit cards, credit card surcharge 4%. However if the internet connection is bad we cannot guarantee that the payment will be settled by credit card.
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.
How much does it cost?
Our flights (Private Charter Premium Service) cost US$ 380.00 per person for Bagan & Mandalay, US$ 420 per person for Inle, valid till 31 March 2015 which includes the following:
- Collection from and return to your hotel
- A light breakfast of tea, coffee, croissant and pastries
- Pre-flight safety briefing
- Balloon flight in one of our new, intimate balloons
- Post-flight fruit juice, fresh fruit and sparkling wine
- Written flight certificate signed by your pilot
Why should I choose Oriental Ballooning flights?
Simply because we believe we offer you the best service and the most spectacular experience, in our beautiful balloons. Our baskets are designed with your comfort in mind, allowing you plenty of room to move around, especially when you need to get that perfect photograph.