Soaring high above the temples of Myanmar

One morning during our Myanmar Overland we awoke especially early in preparation for a much anticipated balloon ride over the temples of Myanmar. The morning’s clear skies were especially welcomed after the previous days of bad weather.
As we approached the staging area, inside the archeological park, we were immediately struck  by the impressive operation of the Oriental Ballooning company. There were tables and chairs set up close to the deflated balloons where we were served coffee, tea and an assortment of warm breads before answering the “roll call” and being assigned a balloon. We met with our individual pilots and had a briefing about the flight and then watched as the fans were turned on and burners ignited to fill the huge balloons.

Once the balloons were filled and the baskets were turned up we clambered aboard using the footholds in the straw basket. There were 8 of us, four on each side and two to a little compartment. As we slowly rose above the earth things were very quiet, except when the gas burners were turned on. A combination of smoke and perhaps ground fog made the scene very ethereal as we floated over the temples lit by the rising sun. The pictures will hopefully tell the story better than I can.

We flew for about 45 minutes and came down very gently in a field. Once the balloon was deflated we climbed out and a few minutes later the champagne cork popped and we were toasting a wonderful flight. While Captain Mike filled out our certificates we munched on fresh fruit and did a little shopping from vendors who magically appeared with colorful cotton skirts and sand paintings. Soon we were back in the van and on our way to the hotel for breakfast on the waterfront deck.

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