Floating over a 1000 years of history
Trip Start Oct 13, 2009
50Trip End Dec 01, 2009
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Where I stayed
Golden VIlla Guesthouse
The company have 3 beautifully restored WWII vintage buses that come and collect people to take them out to the launch site. After some Tea, Coffee and Shortbread the Balloons were inflated and ready to go.
The first thing that I noticed was how hot one get's in a Hot Air balloon, I guess the name makes sense! Under the careful guide of Ian our British pilot we slowly lifted off and waved goodbye to the 50+ local crew that the company employs.
For the first 20 minutes or so we glided at about 50 Ft and at a speed of 2 knots over the central plain of the Bagan temples passing my favourite from sunset the night before, Pyathada
The view all the way up there was nothing short of amazing with the day starting to heat already and men starting to guide their ox driven plows around fields. After coming back down to earth we glided in for a precision landing in an empty field, the other balloon being piloted by another brit didn't have quite as successful a landing and had to be pulled out of a crop by the crew.
A very very nice champagne breakfast soon followed and the vendors started to close in, one major difference I've noted with Bagan vendors over Angkor vendors is that if you don't want their stuff they'll generally stop pushing you and just want to chat or practice their English.
I feel like Balloons over Bagan are doing quite a bit for the local community in terms of employment and helping locals out with medical needs.
After the bus had whisked us back to Nyaung U we had a quick nap before setting off to have some lunch at Pyi Wa again, on the way we saw our 'Oscar' driver and made a deal for him to come and pick us up at 1630 so we could check out another sunset at the temples, this time choosing Buledi
The Oscar arrived on time and it was only a 30 minute ride out to Buledi, unlike any of the others we had visited at sunset this one was near empty with only 6 other travellers and 2-3 vendors hanging around. The vendors here didn't even try the hard sell and were more keen to chat about life in general and about ear piercings, bling bling earrings seem to be all the rage here.
The sunset was once again amazing and a quiet night was to be had afterwards as we will be flying off to Yangon via Mandalay and Heho the next morning.
We had dinner back at A Little Bit of Bagan, said good bye to our friends there and had Becs foot nearly taken off by a scorpion before retiring for the night.