You are standing in a corner of a big basket along with 2 more people. The other three corners are also occupied in a similar way. There is a big balloon tied up to the ends of basket which has been filled with air and thus covering it from all directions. In the center there is gas cylinder and a big flame of fire is blown above at regular intervals.  Pilot of your balloon is standing in center talking on walkie-talkie with his crew. Few moments later he is giving you general instructions for the ride. After assessing the wind direction pilot asks the crew to untie the ropes that have kept basket on the ground. The balloon starts to ascend gradually and in few moments you are hundreds of feet above the ground. Everything at the ground is looking very small now. The beautiful rock formation of Cappadocia region is looking more beautiful form the top. The sun is about to rise far away from behind the hills. The early morning cold wind is making you feel fresh and you are lost in the surroundings. Are you enjoying the Hot Air Balloon Ride so far ?

Cappadocia region of Turkey is known as one of the world’s best place for Hot Air Balloon Ride.  In addition to technical reasons of favorable wind direction and speed of wind, the beauty of region doubles the experience.  Hundreds of balloons take a ride every morning above the volcanic eruption formations It’s an experience of a lifetime and even if you don’t take a ride, you must visit the valleys where ride take place. The view of hundreds of balloons floating in air is a must-see view for any visitor to Cappadocia.

I took a flight with Butterfly Balloons and the overall experience was very nice. The tour starts early in the morning and you are picked from your hotel at around 4:30 in the morning.  After having breakfast all registered people are divided into groups based on your pilot and you are taken by a minibus (called Dolmus in Turkey) to the starting point of flight. Exact starting point depends on the wind direction on that day and is decided by the pilot.

Once you reach the spot you can see the balloon being filled with air. It is a good learning to see how balloons are filled with air with the help of big fans.

Balloon Being Setup
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Once the balloon is ready we were put into basket attached to the balloon and depending on the capacity people are advised to stand in four corners of basket with the pilot in the middle.  After final instruction from pilot, balloon was untied and it slowly started to ascend and within a short time we were flying hundreds of feet above the ground.

View From Top

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The balloon flew over the valleys and the pilot started explaining the functioning of balloons. He also described some of the places visible from the top and a history of the region. The sun rise could be seen from the balloon and view was very nice with sun rising at a distance among mountains.

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As stated earlier the region is considered one of the best for balloon ride also because of wonderful landscapes. The scenery in all direction was just fantastic with balloons flying around you. The caves inside the chimneys which are formed by volcanic eruption millions of years ago, were visible scattered in the entire region.

Our pilot was experienced and had full control over the balloon. He descended the balloon several times just above the chimneys and again moved upwards. He was managing the communication both with ground staff as well as the passengers very well.

Amazing Landscapes

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I didn’t realize how quickly one hour passed by. The pilot called the crew and they helped in landing of the balloon. The crew who accompanies the pilot is very important for ride to finish. Once the flight is over, balloon company gives a flight completion certificate. Finally I return to hotel with pleasant memory of the rides. Mission was accomplished successfully 🙂

Tips
1. Balloon ride will be undoubtedly most expensive part of your trip. But at the same time totally worth. So plan your budget in advance accordingly.
2. Since most probably you will be taking such ride once in a life time, its ok to spend some extra money and go with a reputed company.
3. Check with balloon company in advance that how many passengers are there per basket. You will enjoy the ride when you have sufficient place for you. In my basket there were 3 people in each corner so plenty of space for everyone to stand near the walls and enjoy views.
4. Unless you have acrophobia, this ride will not be thrilling rather a soothing experience. It is not at all scary.
5. If you have more number of days in Cappadocia, book your ride on first day to have a buffer day. Rides do get canceled sometimes when weather is not favorable. In such cases you can have the ride next day.

About the Author

I am a Travel Blogger from India. This blog is a collection of my travel experiences and learnings. I share my travel stories to introduce the wonderful places that I have visited and thus have virtual tours with readers:). If you liked reading my travel blog, please comment to share your thoughts. I would love to hear from you.

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9 Comments
 
  1. nalin patel 8 September, 2013 at 11:26 AM Reply

    hi,

    Thank you for the info, we 3 couples are planning to go to Turkey and Greece in may 2013.

    Any suggestions? Istanbul Athens Santorini Cappadocia Pamukkale Izmir and back to Istanbul

    I am from India and live in AHmedabad .

    • Makrand 10 September, 2013 at 6:59 PM Reply

      Hi Nalin,

      I think you meant May, 2014 as your planned travel time. I haven’t been to Greece so can’t comment on that.

      For Turkey your choices look good. Cappadocia is a must visit place and you should spend atleast 2 days there. Please refer to my other posts on Turkey which can provide you some more details. If you have time you can also have a look at Antalaya which is a popular beach town. I personally haven’t been there but heard good reviews from other travelers. Book domestic flights in advance as you can get very cheap rates. If you are planning to travel entirely on your own then learn some Turkish words or carry a phrase book. It might be handy in Izmir where sometimes you may have difficulty in finding english speaking people outside your hotel.

      Let me know if you have any specific questions and I would try to answer them.

  2. mili 17 December, 2013 at 12:37 PM Reply

    hey if i dont have a valid Schengen, UK, or US visa, is it still possible to get visa on arrival at turkey ??

  3. Makrand 17 December, 2013 at 1:21 PM Reply

    I am assuming you have an Indian passport. On arrival is not available in this case and you need to get it in advance.

    For details about Visa process for Indians please refer

    http://makrandtraveldiary.com/turkey-visa-requirements-for-indian-passport-holders/

  4. Pingback: Makrand Travel Diary » Planning a Trip to Ladakh This Year ?

  5. Soujannya 18 June, 2014 at 12:51 AM Reply

    Awesome..wonderfully written with gr8 pics..

  6. Makrand 20 June, 2014 at 9:42 AM Reply

    Thank you Soujannya 🙂

  7. ajay 3 June, 2015 at 1:45 PM Reply

    Hey!!! Great blog.
    Exactly how expensive this balloon ride was? how much did you pay?
    Second,I am unemployed at the moment(so won’t be able to show the job letter,salary receipts etc) ,will it cause hindrance in obtaining the visa? I know the rules for a u.k,u.s or shengen visa is tough,what about the turkish visa?
    please reply.

  8. Makrand 4 June, 2015 at 9:36 PM Reply

    Hi Ajay,

    It cost me around 10 k in INR. Though you may find cheaper flights but please go ahead with only reputed companies which have less number of people in each basket.

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