YANGON, 30 September 2019: The newly announced UNESCO World Heritage town of Bagan is preparing for the upcoming ballooning season, Myanmar Tourism Marketing reported at the weekend.
This year, the town’s famous hot-air balloons that soar over the ancient pagodas offering visitors panoramic views will start flying from 1 October until 10 April 2020.
It marks the longest season ever for the balloons that offer early morning flights over the World Heritage site. Apart from the astonishing temple ruins of Bagan visitors join the flights for an Instagram worthy spectacle of more than 20 hot air balloons passing over the ancient temples shortly after dawn.
“Myanmar is one of the best places in the world to enjoy hot-air ballooning,” says Edwin Briels, who is a former GM with one of the balloon companies operating in Myanmar.
“The weather is generally very stable, so there are few chances on cancelling the flight, and the scenery looks like it came out of a fairy tale.”
He continues: “Since you travel with the speed of the wind the whole experience is a very quiet one as there is no wind buzzing in your ears”.
There are currently four ballooning companies operating in Myanmar. In addition to the famous flights over Bagan, there re balloon expeditions over Inle Lake, Mandalay, Loikaw and Ngapali beach.
Since the first launch of a hot air balloon in Bagan almost 20 years ago there has never been any serious safety incident while ballooning in Myanmar.
In July 2019 Bagan was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status. While it is possible to visit the ancient temples year-round due to the monsoon season that brings heavy rain and swift changes in wind conditions the balloons are grounded from May to September.
Myanmar is no stranger to balloons; one of the first balloonists in the country lived till 1939 in Dawei in southern Myanmar and flew at several locations in what was then called Burma with his self-made balloons.
Annual balloon festival
Every year a huge festival in Taunggyi and in Pyin Oo Lwin is organised during the Tazaungdaing festival (3 to 12 November).
Huge paper-mâché hot air balloons (in different shapes) are launched from the festival field. Once the balloon reaches a height of about 20 metres, the fireworks attached to the balloons are launched in all directions.
Myanmar Tourism Marketing is part of the Myanmar Tourism Federation and is mainly privately funded by key members of the tourism industry in Myanmar.