Hot air ballooning in Cappadocia was my first ever balloon flight and honestly, would be a very hard one to beat. It’s expensive at 120 euros, but a journey through the skies below Cappadocia’s unique and breathtaking rock formations is simply priceless. No wonder hot air ballooning is on top of the things to do in Cappadocia.
Before the flight
Because a hot air balloon rises with the sun, we have to wake up early before the hot air balloon operator picks us up at the hotel at 4:30 AM. Coming from a 28-hour travel (including lay-overs) from Manila to Cappadocia the day before, then waking up early on our first morning in Cappadocia for the hot air balloon flight, I must say…the struggle is real.
We booked our flight at Kapadokya Balloons through our hotel. From the hotel, we were dropped at their office where we had a free buffet breakfast. A van then took us to the take-off site.
While waiting for our balloon to get inflated, I busied myself with watching this whole process, and I realized that the preparations entail a lot of work. In fact, it is a show in itself. Seeing a few balloons rise before ours added to my sheer anticipation of standing on a basket to marvel at the sights below.
Uchisar Castle in the backdrop
Air is blown into the enormous envelope through a fan
The ground crews are happy to finally bid us farewell…for now
Note: Hundreds of hot air balloons fly over Cappadocia in a day. As for the environmental impacts of hot air ballooning, the hot air is supplied by propane, which is fossil-fuel based but relatively a “clean” gas. Propane is blasted a few times before and during the flight. Other potential impacts are bent grass/foliage from laying the baskets and tracks of vehicle.
During the flight – the best part, of course!
We finally got inside the basket, and when we lifted, that’s the time I realized we were just next to the Love Valley (more on this on my next posts), as our pilot, Recep, announced. The air was chilly but this unique journey, driven by the wind, combined by the pilot’s skills, has soaked me with awe. The view from above is spectacular, God’s work of art is truly amazing.
I can’t say anything more. Though far from the real experience, I’ll the let the pictures do the talking.
Ascending from Love Valley
Our pilot, Recep
Cappadocia is a wine growing area and those are some of their vast grape plantations
Sea of rock formations
Sunrise over Cappadocia
I don’t want to be called a pervert but I find that rock formation funny
One last shot while in position in preparation for landing
We slowly descended and landed at Ortahisar. Our hot air balloon flight lasted for 1 hour 15 minutes. The 15 minutes was an extra because as we were supposed to land, the pilot decided to slightly ascend once more and look for a better landing spot.
After a smooth landing, the crew who were following us during descent joined us and prepared for the traditional champagne toast to celebrate our successful hot air balloon flight. It was, indeed, something to be celebrated for because each flight is not just magical but also a privilege. The day we arrived Cappadocia (the day before our balloon ride), our hotel host told us that the flight on that day was cancelled. It was also cancelled the day after our ride. So, it was really a lucky day for us!
The work isn’t over yet for this guys
Our landing site
Team Recep: March 21, 2016 (Photo from my friend’s phone)
If you’ve decided to try hot air ballooning in Cappadocia but don’t know which companies to choose, you may want to check out this link, which has a helpful comparison of balloon operators in Cappadocia.