250 °F… That is the maximum internal temperature needed to lift a giant, nylon hot air balloon off the ground. And, it takes about 65,000 cubic feet of hot air to lift 1,000 pounds. A typical balloon system – envelope, gondola, fuel tanks, and 40 gallons of fuel – weighs in around 600 pounds, before inflation. Once airborne, however, the complete package, including the weight of the air inside the envelope, is about two and a half tons.
Two other brothers, Joseph Michel and Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier, were the first to develop a practical hot-air balloon in 1783. They used a linen envelope lined with paper and a simple fire made of wood and straw.
Today, there are an estimated 10,000 hot air balloon pilots worldwide, from the U.S. to Kenya, Egypt to Myanmar. A hot air balloon ride offers travelers an opportunity to drift above landscapes and gain a perspective that no ancient king, pharaoh or mystic could have imagined.
One such experience is found at Bagan, Myanmar where travelers gain a bird’s eye view of plains dotted with 800-year-old temple ruins. You savor unrivalled views in the early morning in comfort, style and safety, beginning pre-flight coffee tea and refreshments while the balloon is being inflated. In the air, you drift above a stunning landscape over the ruins of some of the more than 2,200 temples and pagodas that remain of the more than 10,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries that once inhabited the Bagan plains between the 11th and 13th centuries.
After your extraordinary flight, you are welcomed back to earth with a light Champagne breakfast, fruits and pastries.
To enjoy this magical experience, and many others, including a bike ride among these ruins, consider our 22-day President’s Pick: Vietnam, Laos & Myanmar.