A hot balloon rides in Luxor will take off early morning as the pink and orange hues of the Egyptian sunrise would begin to light up the sky. You would be soaking in the view from hundreds of feet above the magical Valley of the Kings. It has always been one of the most magical ways to soak in the incredible architectural and historical wonders of the west bank.
None of us have ever ridden a hot balloon ride before so this will be our first. We woke up at 3am, teary eyes after watching opera last night but edgy with excitement. We were picked up at 4.30 am in our Hotel by van which took us to the ferry crossing. We then hopped on to a boat with other people within the same balloon company. We were 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 felt slightly embarrassed that no one actually bringing breakfast box from their hotel lol. But I thought we don’t know how long the rides would take and whether we would get back to hotel or not. Hence we may as well be prepared and ask for our breakfast prepared in a box. Turned out we did have sufficient time in a boat to eat out breakfast. After crossing we were taken again by another Van to the balloon area which took about 15 minutes.
When we got to the field some balloons were already flying and some were still prepping. The sky looked so enchanting in early morning and it felt magical.
All of us in the group had to fill out our names and body weight in the form (Whaaaat!) 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 was no step 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…. so excited!!!
It felt magical as we floated in the sky. The flight was around 1 hour and we were flying 300-600 meter. I think there were 20+ people in our group but everyone had 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 was time to land, the Captain would find empty spot which was not on top of somebody’s crops while he located the crew+the truck. When it was ready, the Captain gave instruction and we all did a half squad until it descended down to the land. The crew would catch the basket and put a rope and tight it to the truck. We were then asked to climb down from the basket quickly. Once done the crew quickly deflated the ballon after the fire was gone. It was roughly a twenty minutes process and we could see all the crews worked so hard on this.
What I think of the Ballon Ride.
I loved the experience and we all had a great time. We were satisfied with Dream Hot Air Balloon and felt that the company’s Representative, the Captain and all the crews were all 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 taking decision to go for it. I have read that Egypt Government is taking tourism seriously especially after the huge dropped in tourism since the revolution.
When we came, The balloon rides have 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 said that they have finished inspection of all the ballooning companies for adherence to safety measures before opening the operation again for public. I hope this gives comfort for anyone who is considering to give this a try ☺️
There are various Balloon operators in Luxor and you can easily booked them once you are in Luxor. I booked thru Waleed who partnered with Dream Hot Air Balloon.