Hot air balloon rides offer the most amazing views over some of the world’s greatest places. There’s something simply special about balloon trips - gliding over a stunning landscape with only the sound of soft winds and birds on the wing. The best balloon rides are special experiences, usually taken during holidays of a lifetime. Here are 9 Simply Fabulous Hot Air Balloon Rides:
Luxor is one of the great travel destinations of the world. Straddling the Nile, the East and West banks are packed with stunning and massive temples that still hold wonder for us, particularly because their magnificence has been standing as a test to man’s ingenuity for thousands of years. Balloon trips over Luxor offer the opportunity to view the site of the ancient city of Thebes from the air, and to realize just how massive a site it really is.
Some of the best balloon rides in the world are to be found in South East Asia, and among the premier destinations is Bagan in Myanmar. Bagan is an ancient city in the Mandalay region of Myanmar (Burma). At the height of its importance there were over 10,000 pagodas, monasteries and temples built in the city and the plains around it. Today over 2,000 of these beautiful constructions remain to make a spectacular landscape, and are at their best at sunrise and sunset, when most balloon trips take place.
The wide open skies of Monument Valley on the Arizona/Utah State border are simply made for hot air balloon rides. The gigantic mesas and monoliths that rise majestically from the Colorado Plateau are an awesome sight from the air. The colors are incredible – the red of the mesas and buttes created by the iron oxide content of the rocks and the green or scorched earth can only have been painted by Mother Nature.
One of the best balloon rides to take in winter is over the snow covered slopes of the European Alps, near the very swanky city of Gstaad. Dark pine trees poke through the snowfields that are dotted with skiers and snowboarders enjoying their favorite activity, and the mountains and valleys of the Bernese Oberland stretch as far as you can see. In the last week of January, the skies are filled with balloons from all over the world attending the Chateau d’Oex International Balloon Festival.
It cannot be argued that the Land of the Long White Cloud (New Zealand) has landscapes and scenery that oft defy superlatives. It’s easy to see why the area around Queenstown inspired Peter Jackson to choose to shoot Lord of the Rings here. This region is also one of the world’s adventure sports capitals but balloon trips are the more serene way to enjoy the spectacle.
One of the best balloon rides in Europe is over the Istrian Peninsula in Croatia. Jutting out in the Adriatic Sea, this is a gorgeously green landscape of rolling hills, deep valleys and streaming rivers, lush vineyards, olive groves and golden wheat fields. Although the Istrian Peninsula is shared by three countries (Croatia, Slovenia and Italy), the islands in the bays in the south belong to Croatia, and the best balloon trips take in this area, making something very special. With the blue skies above, the blue ocean below, the green mountains and emerald islands, the sight is truly one to behold.
Close your eyes. Now imagine golden red sands stretching as far as the horizon, shimmering dunes that seem to move in the breeze, and camels casually wandering around. In the distance there’s an amazing cityscape with buildings so tall they appear to be kissing the sky. Well, obviously, you are above the desert in Dubai. Balloon rides usually set out from Al Ain, about an hour’s drive from Dubai city but it’s worth the journey.
Considered by many to be top of the list of the world’s best balloon rides is the Serengeti. The vast plains cover such a huge area and although a beautiful sight, it is the wildlife that makes balloon rides here an unforgettable experience. Spend the flight trying to spot Africa’s big 5 safari animals or book your trip to coincide with the bi-annual wildebeest migration. Nothing can prepare you for the sight of thousands upon thousands of these beasts as the move en masse between feeding grounds according to the rainy season.
This most extraordinary of balloon trips is unique. Apart from being the only one offered in the North Pole, it only happens once a year. It is actually a tethered balloon trip which you can only reach if you join the exclusive annual polar expedition. There are only 250 places on the boat which navigates through pack ice to just south of the North Pole. You can then soar high above the ice in a balloon to survey the world of white, knowing you are almost on the top of the world.
Have you ever been in a hot air balloon? These best balloon rides really do count as some of the best experiences travelers can have.
Top Image Source: flickr.com
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