For two weeks, I travelled to the Goa region in India to learn all about its people, culture, food and adventure options and I’ll be sharing my experiences with you in several blogs here this month. One of my absolute favourite things to do (by far!) was riding a hot air balloon in Goa, so that will be the first thing I’ll write about.
If there is one thing that you can find on people’s travel bucket lists, I’m sure it’s the hot air balloon ride. Being the first ever method of flight created by man (in 1783, can you believe that?), it never ceases to impress, right?
Up until now, I never actively planned on doing a hot air balloon ride, but now that we got the opportunity to step onboard during our #Escape2Goa trip, of course I couldn’t say no. Even though I suffer from a severe lack of enthusiasm for heights (and getting up early, for that matter), this was a chance I wouldn’t get anytime soon -so I did it.
Are you ready to find out what it was like? Here we go:
HOT AIR BALLOON IN GOA, INDIA
We arrived in the middle of the night (4AM) at the balloon site and were literally standing in the pitch black in the middle of a freezing cold open field with a dozen of men pulling on a massive piece of plastic.
Everyone scratched their heads and was wondering if we should really do this, but then the sun started to rise and we could see what was really going on…
Such a magical moment to see the balloon fill with light and go up in the air! Worth the waiting in the cold for sure!
Three people fit in each corner of the basket (it’s much bigger than you would think)… Or probably 24 bloggers with cameras and selfie-sticks trying to get the best shots, I’m sure :D
This part of the flight was -by far- my favourite moment of the flight. Surreal!
Happy we made it back safely. While our ride wasn’t an hour (more around 15 minutes), it was still an amazing experience!
Oh my gosh, you guys, this was so much fun to do! Agreed, getting up at 4 AM wasn’t too exciting (we decided to be there early, as Indian traffic just cannot be predicted), but it was so worth it afterwards. Definitely a Bucket List experience and definitely not the last time that I want to do this. Seeing the sun rise was amazing and because we only flew for a short time, we went pretty low over the houses and everyone came running out to wave at us, that was so much fun. I can totally recommend this to anyone!
Fun for: Anyone, really. I almost dare to say that even if you have serious fear of heights, you’ll love this, but of course I cannot judge that for you. I was definitely uncomfortable while standing in the field watching the balloon be inflated, but as soon as I saw Rita, I knew that she was a Pro (she’s been doing this for 16 years, she told me) and everything would be ok. The ride is so smooth, you won’t be shaken about -even our landing was super soft, you barely even noticed it. If you are anything like my mum (REALLY not happy with heights), go into the balloon first, so you’ll be slightly more in the middle of the basket and let two other people stand in front of you, I think that might help. You can then even turn your back to the edge then and just look at Rita work. But I really believe you will be fine and would love the views!
Less fun for: Kids under 5 are not allowed to fly and any pets are also prohibited. A child under the age of 14 years will only be flown if accompanied by a responsible adult.
Think about: Bring along warm clothing for the very(!) chilly mornings. In the balloon itself, you’ll be warm enough from the burners. I’m always cold, but took the jacket off as soon as we went into the air.
BOOK YOUR OWN HOT AIR BALLOON RIDE IN INDIA!
Company: In Goa, the government of Goa has collaborated with Tiger Balloon Safaris to provide tourists with the optimum ballooning experience. (website Tiger Balloon Safaris)
Tour: 2H Balloon Experience (book directly on the website Goa Tourism)
Duration: Balloons take between 15-30 minutes to inflate, depending on their size. You’ll be in the sky for about 1 hour. Please note that hot air balloon flights are completely dependent upon weather and are regulated by the Indian Aircraft Rules & Civil Aviation Requirements. A decision to delay or cancel a flight will only be made around 6 AM each morning and Tiger Balloon Safaris will give guests with confirmed bookings as much warning as operational procedures allow.
Start of Tour: Asolda, Chandor, South Goa at 6AM and 5PM. Arrive 45 minutes before this time to see the whole process!
End of Tour: Asolda, Chandor, South Goa
Costs: 9900 Rupee Per Person (Around £115, $145, €135)
Included: Briefing, Invitation to help with balloon inflation, Presentation of certificate (on request) – the classic drinking of champagne afterwards (that you might find on most balloon rides in other countries) is not done in India, as drinking is not custom here. You could, of course, bring your own.
Disclaimer: I got to take this balloon ride as part of the #Escape2Goa campaign organised by Leave UR Mark and the Goa Tourism Board. All photos and opinions are 100% my own.