We woke up drowsy and bleary eyed, but so excited to be bringing in 2016 with the only thing we had booked in advance for our Southeast Asia stint – a hot air balloon ride over the 2,200 plus temples of Bagan in Myanmar. A 20 minute bumpy bus ride at 5:30am and we were well and truly awake, and ready to watch the sunrise on the first day of the new year in this ancient city. We were welcomed with steaming hot cups of tea and coffee (and a sneaky shortbread cookie or two), before the safety briefing with our pilot and his team. Standing whilst the sun slowly crept over the horizon, we watched the process of our balloon getting inflated and then eagerly climbed into the basket ready for take off. Softly lifting from the ground, we waved goodbye to the Balloons Over Bagan crew and began our flight.
It was a surreal feeling, floating so smoothly high above pagodas and fields and villages, spending over an hour watching the locals begin their day, and spotting the thousands of temples amongst farmland and housing, marvelling at the view from so high up. We scored an amazing pilot, Javier from Spain, who took us higher than any of the other 20 balloons! Our morning was topped off with a champagne breakfast to celebrate our flight and the new year. It’s certainly going to be a hard one to top (but we’ll do our very best!).
30 Photos to Fuel Your Wanderlust: Myanmar
Choosing Your Transport in Myanmar
The Essential Myanmar Travel Guide
21 Things You’ll Miss When You Leave Southeast Asia
10 Quick Tips for Eating Like a Local in Southeast Asia