I have never done a Balloon ride in my life ever. When I went to Turkey after university, I was too poor to afford a balloon ride in Cappadocia. So when I knew there is a balloon ride in Luxor, I fit in balloon ride in our already packed itinerary.
There are many Balloon operators in Luxor. I didn’t pick the operator myself and organised it thru Waleed which partner with Dream Hot Air Balloon.
What does it like? We are picked up 5.30 am in our Hotel by a van which took us to the ferry crossing. We then hop on to a boat with other people within the same balloon company. We are served with hot drinks (coffee and tea) and we started to open our breakfast box from the hotel while waiting for the boat to sail and listening to the instructions. I actually felt slightly embarrassed that no one actually bringing breakfast box from their hotel. But I thought we don’t know how long the rides take and whether we will get back to hotel or not so may as well be prepared and ask for our breakfast prepared in a box. Turned out we do have sufficient time in a boat to eat out breakfast. After crossing we are taken again by another Van to the balloon area which takes about 15 minutes.
When we got to the field some ballons are already flying and some are still prepping. The sky looks so beautiful in early morning.
All of us in the group have to fill out our names and body weight in the form. There are 8 sections in the balloon. The Captain divide the group and call each one of us to fill in each section and make sure weight is equally distributed in all 8 sections.
There’s no steps to get into the basket, so be prepared to climb over or have those men lifted you to the basket. There were around twenty guys and a truck to keep the basket on the ground while we’re being loaded in. Once the captain is happy we finally take off and slowly start to ascend. Wohoo….
It felt magical as we float in the sky. Th flight is around 1 hour and we were flying 300-600 meter. I think there were 20+ people in our group but everyone have enough comfortable space in the basket. We got to see Hapshetsut temple from last night, the valley of the kings and the green areas of where the crops are.
When it is time to land, the Captain will find empty spot which is not on top of somebody’s crops while he locate the crew+the truck. When it is ready, the Captain gave instruction and we all did a half squad until it descends down to the land. The crew then catch the basket and put a rope and tight it to the truck. We were then asked to climb down from the basket quickly. The crew then quickly deflate the ballon once the fire is gone. It was roughly a twenty minutes process and we could see all the crew worked so hard on this.
What I think of the ballon ride. I loved the experience and we all had a great time. We are satisfied with Dream Hot Air Balloon and felt that the company’s Representative, the Captain and all the crews are professional. There was a camera man who was videoing the process and we were able to purchase the video at additional cost. Also, Balloon ride in Luxor is very cheap compared to other balloon rides I knew. For instance I paid $80/person VS in Cappadocia a balloon ride will cost me $260/person. On the safety part, yes I was a bit scared but I did my reading on these Balloon operation before took decision to go for it. I have also read that Egypt Government is taking tourism seriously especially after the huge dropped in tourism after the revolution. When I came, The balloon rides just started operating again after Local Authority suspended all the operations after an incident of a strong winds which took 11 tourists off the course the day before and forced them to land in the country’s southern desert. Egyptian officials say ballooning companies were being inspected for adherence to safety measures. So there you go 🙂