One of Myanmar’s most iconic and recognizable
tours, Balloons Over Bagan, set sail for new horizons this month
with the launch of a new hot-air balloon flight in the remote
ethnic region of Kayah State.
Balloon Over Loikaw becomes the fourth option in
the arsenal of this enterprising adventure tour operator,
following successes in Bagan, Inle Lake and a two-day “balloon
safari” in Shan State.
Somewhat off the beaten track for most
visitors, Loikaw is situated on a 3,000-foot plateau in eastern
Myanmar and is surrounded by mountains and rice paddies. It is
home to no less than 10 ethnic groups including the Kayan, whose
“long-necked” women are famed for the brass coils around their
necks and colorful traditional costumes.
Loikaw’s hot-air balloon rides will take off at
sunrise on a daily basis throughout the year and can carry six to
eight passengers per flight, which lasts one to two hours. Powered
by liquid petroleum gas, the balloons soar to maximum altitudes of
Most of the pilots and technicians are
UK-trained while the remainder are Australian, Canadian, and
Spanish license holders.
“With its pagoda-topped hills, mountain ranges
and beautiful valleys dotted with farms and villages, Loikaw was a
natural choice for our next venture,” said general manager, Tun
Thura. “You can imagine the astonished faces of farmers working in
their fields when our balloons come gliding by. Everyone comes out
to see. The children run after us, laughing and waving. It’s
heartwarming; it’s exciting; it’s a once in a lifetime
In addition to daily flights from Yangon to
Loikaw on national carrier MNA and Air Kanbawza, Air Kanbawza
operates thrice weekly flights between Loikaw and Heho Airport (close to popular tourist destination Inle
Flights cost US$300 per person. Private charters
for groups up to eight persons are also available on request.