Hot Air Ballooning in Vang Vieng, Laos

Hot air ballooning over Vang Vieng was one of my bucket list adventures in Laos, but about 30 minutes before take-off I hesitated. My fear of heights took over as I watched other balloons soar high above the city. Just seconds before the balloon left I changed my mind, and I jumped in the basket. The heat from the flame was powerful, and it took us high above Vang Vieng. I soon forgot my fear of heights and was in awe of the beautiful landscapes.

Here is my experience hot air ballooning over Vang Vieng in Laos, and accomplishing one of my bucket list adventures.

Hot Air Ballooning Over Vang ViengPin
Take Off!

The Decision

When I arrived in Vang Vieng I quickly reserved my place for hot air ballooning over Vang Vieng. There was a two-day wait, and I wanted to secure my place. I had researched the company before arriving, and it looked safe, so I did not hesitate. It was also dirt cheap, 80 USD was a small price tag compared to other hot air balloon rides in southeast Asia and around the world.

I enjoy testing my limits, overcoming fears, and stepping out of my comfort zone. I know I can, at times, be scared of heights, so this would be a test. I also knew this was once in a lifetime experience, and hot air ballooning over Vang Vieng was on my bucket list.

The two days leading up to the event, I had not thought about it. I was excited, but there were other activities I wanted to do in Vang Vieng.

Filling the Hot Air Balloon while Hot Air Ballooning Over Vang ViengPin
Filling the Hot Air Balloon

Take-Off

The van arrived, filled with my fellow adventurer seekers, and we drove to the lot where we would take off. I looked on, watching one hot air balloon take off after another. Butterflies started to form in my stomach. It looked more frightening than I had imagined, little wicker baskets attached to massive balloons and a huge flame above the heads of its riders. I thought maybe I had made the wrong decision…maybe this was too adventurous. I had thousands of questions racing through my mind. “Maybe I will just skip it, and try something else?” I asked myself.

Then, the moment came. The driver looked at me and said, “In or out?” “Yeah I’m in,” I said and I jumped in the basket. I told myself that life is too short, and I have to face my fear of heights. Once, we took off  I had an incredible feeling of freedom. There was not this sense of fear or vertigo that sometimes plagues me…I was calm. The surrounding area was magnificent, and I could see all of Vang Vieng.

View of Vang Vieng while Hot Air Ballooning Over Vang ViengPin
View of Vang Vieng

Air Travel by Balloon

We floated in the air above Vang Vieng for about 30 minutes. As we bobbed along, I found the silence calming. We were about 8 people in the wicker basket, and it was evident that the experience was exhilarating for everyone.

Hot air ballooning, actually, was the first form of flight, and the first hot air balloon flight was performed in Paris, France back in 1783. Of course, being a scientist myself, I am always interested in how things work.

In this case, the technology is rather simple, even though powerful.

The pilot heats the air inside the nylon balloon using tanks of liquid propane attached to a burner. As the balloon fills with hot air it begins to rise because hot air is lighter than cool air. The pilot can, then, control the ascent and the altitude via a parachute valve at the top of the balloon that lets hot air escape. The lateral movement, is, however, controlled by the direction of the wind.

Landing

In our case, not all the balloons landed in the same location. The pilots had walkie-talkies to relay our location to a group of men that would help us land.

As we began the descent, it became apparent that landing is more challenging than take-off. We bobbed up and down while a team tried to secure our landing. The pilot asked us to bend down to force the weight to the bottom of the basket. A team of three men came and jumped on the sides to help pull it down. One by one they asked us to jump out. Success! At this moment, I had a sense of relief, knowing that I completed a buck list adventure and that I stepped outside my comfort zone.

A Hot-Air Balloon just before Lift-Off while Hot Air Ballooning Over Vang ViengPin
Lift-Off!
Landing while Hot Air Ballooning Over Vang ViengPin
Landing

Summary of Hot Air Ballooning Over Vang Vieng

While I did not hesitate to book my place for the hot air balloon ride, I did panic before lift-off. In the end, I am really glad I followed through. It was an awesome adventure that I could recommend to anyone looking for fun activities to do in Vang Vieng. Hot air ballooning over Vang Vieng in Laos is a lasting memory that I use as a benchmark when comparing my adventures.


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Read About My Other Adventures

Hope you enjoyed my post on hot air ballooning over Vang Vieng in Laos. Here are some of my other adventures that you might find interesting.


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