Chiang Mai Hot Air Ballooning
The best way to get a breathtaking perspective of Chiang Mai’s landscape is from the basket of a hot air balloon. An early morning ride along the eastern plains of Chiang Mai Province reveals endless emerald-green rice paddies pockmarked by Buddhist temples and flanked by jungle-clad mountains.
Chiang Mai and the Ping River Valley is a verdant natural bowl, its micro-climate often conducive to graceful hot air ballooning. This wide open area sees early sunsets, such that balloonists can get up into the atmosphere before it becomes overpowering for sublime shots back over the city and mountains towards the west.
Flights with Balloon Adventure Thailand features expert balloon pilots, many of whom are Western and all of whom speak English and have a love for ballooning. Seeing the balloons inflated is a thrill in itself, knowing that you will soon be drifting into the air and following the wind.
Balloons go to around 1,000 feet, but passengers will never know exactly which way they’ll be travelling due to the changeability of the winds. Nonetheless, a chase crew follows the balloon and transports all passengers back to the base site after the flight.
These hot air balloon rides also come with a tea or coffee before the flight, along with a post-alfresco sparkling wine breakfast. Foodstuffs are typical Thai and Western foods and refreshments are included. Also included on a balloon flight is a hotel pickup and drop-off, together with a natty flight certificate of the adventure.
Balloon Adventure Thailand is the ballooning operator in Chiang Mai and usually tries to run from the stunning Horizon Village Resort to the east of the city. Horizon Village is an attraction in itself and is a beautiful place to visit, or stay. Featuring hundreds of rai of botanical gardens, Horizon Village is well established and has manicured gardens from regions around the world, including a massive palm garden.
There are also huge ponds that visitors can paddle on, as well as animal enclosures, horseback riding and a slew of other activities. The resort is first class and features classic Lanna architecture and a series of swimming pools. Staying here prior to or after a balloon flight is a popular option.
The ballooning flight season is between April and October. As with elsewhere in the world concerning ballooning, if the flight has to be cancelled due to bad weather, would-be passengers have the option of rescheduling.