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Hot Air Balloon Ride Over Luxor, Egypt -
A Bucket List Experience
One of the must-do experiences you should not miss while in Luxor is a hot air balloon ride.
Hands down, it is a bucket list experience!
Read about it, check out these pictures and see why I loved it!
Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Ride Over Luxor
Honestly, there is nothing more spectacular like watching the sunrise while taking in the majestic views of the Valley of the Kings, the Temple of Hatshepsut, and floating above the glittering river Nile and splendid Karnak Temple Complex.
Trust me, you will love it! You will drift peacefully through the sky, while the sun is gradually revealing the panoramic views of the world’s most important archaeological site.
To start off, whatever balloon company you select make sure you sign up for a sunrise hot air balloon ride over Luxor. Usually, the balloons take off in two waves. The first group is before sunrise and the second group around 7 am.
The only negative is that you will have to wake up practically in the middle of the night. I got up at 3:30 am and I was promptly picked up at 4:30 am. Needless to say, whatever time of the year it is, make sure to layer on some clothing, because it is cold at that hour.
The journey to the sunrise hot air balloon launching pad takes time. No matter where you are staying in Luxor, it will be a few hours before you take off in a balloon flight over the largest open-air museum.
First, I was picked up from my cruise boat docked on the eastern side of the River Nile and then taken to a small boat. Once on the boat, I waited for the other passengers to gradually arrive. There was coffee, water and some snacks for everyone.
After about 30-minute boat ride to the west bank of the River Nile, we disembarked and walked over to a parking lot where a multitude of minibuses waited to take us to the launching pad. It took about another 30 minutes to reach the launching pad.
Hot Air Balloon Launching Pad
Being on the hot air launching pad is exciting!
First, you get to see so many balloons spread out all around on the ground. All of them serenely waiting to be raised into the sky.
Soon, every single balloon was at some stage of being set up.
Hot, bright gusts of air were thrust into the canopies.
And, soon, one by one, the balloons gently started to raise.
When our balloon was ready, we were motioned to approach it and instructed to start climbing into the basket.
The basket has a step holes on each side. So you have to get yourself up and, then sit on the edge of the basket, and, then swing yourself inside.
By the way, our captain was great. He kept a watchful eye on all of us the entire time.
Hot Air Balloon Lift-off
Before you know it, you are airborne.
But, first, your attention is completely drawn to all the activity going on the launching pad. You cannot stop watching all these balloons mushrooming out of the earth and gently floating into the air one by one.
Eventually, we gently gained height and drifted in the morning breeze. I noticed how quiet it was once we were up in the air. Not only the earthly sounds faded away, but all the fellow passengers quieted down as well. All I noticed were occasional bursts of hot air, as the captain regulated the blasts of flame.
The air felt different too. It was soft and almost silky.
I was worried that I will be freezing once we will be up in the air. However, I was toasty from the heat generated from the balloon burners.
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Watching Sunrise Over Luxor from Hot Air Balloon
I watched the sun gradually rise.
And, gradually bathe the Valley of the Kings in a soft rose gold color.
And, as the sun got brighter, the magnificent landscape unfolded right before me. What a sight it was!
I don’t know, but at that moment, I kind of felt still and at peace with the world.
In the morning sun, the River Nile looked like a glittering ribbon carving its way through the land.
All around the river lay a multitude of deep green fields.
Further up, you could see the dwellings of the farmers. Sometimes, you could distinguish some movement, as they were ready to start their day.
And finally, in the distance, you could see the Karnak Temple Complex and the desert highlighted in warm golden colors.
Hot Air Balloon over Luxor Landing
I have to be honest and say that the captain missed the first landing spot. He tried to communicate with the ground crew, but it did not work. So off we went to another landing spot, however, the breeze was picking up and we did not make it again.
Finally, we landed in a sugar cane field
It is not easy to make the hot air balloon stop. The captain regulated the hot air and tried to release it as much a possible. However, the balloon kept floating on and dragging the basket through the field.
Eventually, most of the air was out and the balloon gently laid to rest and the bumping basket with all of us inside finally settled down before reaching another field.
However, I have to say that it is very important to listen to the captain and follow his instructions. You will be asked to get into a landing position. You will have to grab a handle and lower yourself into the basket and position yourself in the opposite way of landing. Needless to say, the captain will remind you of this landing configuration several times.
Eventually, we got out of the basket and walked through the fields to the closest road.
Soon enough, we were surrounded by numerous kids who came running to see the balloon and to see us.
And, finally, the owner of the sugar cane field came in. He was evidently upset about his damaged crop. I do hope that the balloon company compensates him.
The bottom line, there are always the risks that we take. However, if you want an epic adventure of a lifetime, then take this trip! I loved it!
In no time, the minibuses came to pick us up and I was back on the cruise boat in about 30 minutes.
By the way, when I was sharing my landing experience with my tour guide, he said that the balloons rarely make it to the landing pad and always end up landing in the fields. I admit, it was a bit scary landing. But, it was a 10 out of 10 kind of experience.
How to Select the Hot Air Balloon Company in Luxor?
I selected Royal Air Balloons Company in Luxor. They were recommended by my Egypt tour company.
Check them out on Tripadvisor. In addition, check out their Facebook page.
I paid $90 and I stressed several times that I want to see the sunrise. They were prompt picking me up. The flight was superb. The landing was bumpy and adventerous.
By the way, I am not getting compensated for mentioning them here.
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