For more than two centuries, humans have used hot air balloons to launch themselves into the atmosphere and observe the world below from a unique perspective. The exhilarating experience of riding in a hot air balloon safely and comfortably, however, has never been more accessible than now.
Located in Turkey’s Anatolian Region, the high plateau of Cappadocia is dotted with rock formations formed by volcanic eruptions that were shaped by thousands of years of wind and rain. Known as “fairy chimneys,” some of the rocky limestone spires became homes for the region’s earliest human inhabitants.
California’s Napa Valley is known the world over for its picturesque vineyards, and a hot air balloon ride offers visitors the perfect way to take in the serene beauty of the countryside. Eco-conscious residents and vineyard owners are dedicated to preserving the natural environment in all of its glory so passengers can enjoy uninterrupted views of the landscape.
The most popular tourist destination in Myanmar, Bagan was the capital of the First Burmese Empire from the 9th to the 13th centuries. The site that Marco Polo once described as the “gilded city” was home to around Buddhist 13,000 temples in its 11th-century heyday. Today, visitors can float above the thousands of temples, stupas and pagodas that remain, including the famous Ananda temple with its sparkling gold spires.
Located on the east bank of the Nile opposite the site of the four-thousand-year-old ancient city of Thebes, Luxor is often referred to as the world’s greatest open air museum. Hot air balloon flights allow visitors to float over famous archeological sites like the great hypostyle hall of Luxor temple, with its grid of thick, carved columns, and the Colossi of Memnon,the two massive stone statues of Amenhotep III.
Angkor Archeological Park is most famous for the Angkor Wat temple complex, which is considered the largest religious monument on the planet. Built in the early 12th century, the temple is a prime example of classical Khmer architecture and is Cambodia’s most popular tourist attraction. It’s also the perfect location for visitors who may be timid about undertaking their first hot air balloon experience.
Home to the largest migration of mammals in the world, the Serengeti stretches from Tanzania into the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. A hot air balloon ride over theSerengeti guarantees numerous animal sightings in any season. In addition to the more than two million wildebeest, gazelle and zebra that pass through the region during the Great Migration, there are lions, hippos, giraffes, elephants and other big game animals in abundance as well.
Home to the largest gathering of hot air balloons and ballooning enthusiasts in the world, Albuquerque is the ideal location to witness the awe-inspiring beauty of hundreds of balloons floating in the clear Midwest air. Every October, New Mexico’s largest city hosts the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, which includes concerts and fireworks as well as mass balloon launches day and night.
Situated around 50 km (30 mile)s to the northeast of Mexico City, the Teotihuacan Pyramids are the astonishing archeological remains of what was once the greatest city in North America. A hot air balloon flight offers visitors a bird’s eye view of site known as the City of the Gods.
Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve
It’s no surprise that the hot air balloon rides offered outside the upscale city of Dubai are some of the most luxurious in the world. Passengers are picked up at hotels at dawn in nearby Burj Khalifa and transported to the lift-off site where they receive safety instructions before departing on an hour-long flight.
Located an hour’s drive away from Melbourne, the Yarra Valley is best known for it’s world-class wineries. A hot air balloon ride offer visitors a safe and serene flight over undulating hills and glens etched with a patchwork of orchards, vineyards and farms with the distant mountain peaks of the Great Divide framing the scene.