Taking a magical hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia

Taking a magical hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia

I am going to find it extremely challenging to describe Cappadocia’s awe-inspiring beauty in words, but I will try…

There are few places on Earth that come close to experiencing an ‘out-of-this-earth’ (almost alien) experience and Cappadocia is surely one of them. Travelling to the Moon or Mars is not usually on most people’s bucket lists, and so I believe, Cappadocia was made to make up for it!

It is a place of exceptional natural wonders. Cappadocia is most famous for its unique fairytale landscape comprising of cones, towers, valleys, pillars and chimneys that were formed years ago by eroded volcanic ash. It is also one of the world’s most striking and largest cave-dwelling regions of the world, with more than 200 underground villages and tunnel towns!

To be honest, Cappadocia was not on my travel list but as I was travelling to Istanbul, I decided to spend a few days here and am so glad I did.

Hot air balloon ride

Cappadocia is synonymous with hot air balloon rides. I had never been on a hot air balloon ride before and I thought this would be the perfect place to set on my first one.

After a flight from Istanbul to Kayseri Airport, we took a transfer to arrive at our very own cave hotel in a small town called Göreme! I was so excited as it was literally like going back to cave times (albeit with luxury). 

Göreme is the main part of the Cappadocia region and where you will find fairy chimney rock formations that has made this place so famous.

Hot air balloon rides run throughout the year in Cappadocia, but I would highly recommend you plan to stay here for a few extra days to avoid disappointment as the weather conditions highly dictate if the balloon will take off or not for obvious safety reasons. 

There are a number of companies that you can book either through your hotel or independently to go on a balloon ride. We used a local travel company that was highly recommended to us by our hotel and they did not disappoint. We went with the standard 1-hour flight that includes 20-24 people in the balloon basket. Balloon ride companies also offer deluxe flights, which hold smaller groups of 8-10 people for a longer time and double the price. Then there is also the private balloon ride that you can share with that special someone or for a special occasion but the cost for those are exorbitant as you can imagine. 

Getting ready for take-off 

The day started extremely early. If you are not an early bird like me, you will not be happy about waking up at 4.30am! But you will have absolutely no regrets about this. We were picked up by the balloon company at 5am and then taken for a light breakfast. After enjoying the delicious breakfast and strong coffee (I needed it after my early rise!), we were driven to a place overlooking the Love Valley and the point from which all the balloons take off.

It was still dark when we got to the launch point and we could spot a few stars twinkling in the sky against the cold morning. This made the experience even more dreamy. I was mesmerised seeing the balloon inflation and launch procedures when I got there. Balloon flights were being prepared against a beautiful backdrop with occasional blasts of flames flickering from the balloon burners. The burners are used to heat the air inside the balloons to make it lighter, which helps it float upwards.

The take-off!

After our balloon was pumped up with enough air, we were introduced to our pilot who reassured us that we were in safe hands. We were then asked to jump into our basket to get ready for take off! The balloon was divided into four passenger compartments with plenty of space to move around and enjoy the experience. The baskets also have foot-holes to help you easily get in and out of it.  

I am normally not frightened of heights but this was starting to daunt me a little, especially after our pilot was reading safety instructions and procedures to follow in case of a crash landing! Please be assured though, you are in completely safe hands as these are highly professional and qualified pilots.

All my fears floated away as we rose to the top. Suddenly you are engulfed in an atmosphere of utmost peace and tranquillity, spiritual almost. This moment of leaving behind all the noise and rising to a state of serenity has been etched in my heart forever.

As we were floating atop, we could see the sunrise slowly and it was pure magic. Soon, the plateau was filled with hundreds of colourful balloons floating seamlessly against the beautiful and unique landscape of Cappadocia. The view and experience were priceless. Just when I thought we couldn’t get any higher, our pilot flew the balloon further up which was scary but exciting at the same time!

The descent 

After reaching the highest point and floating there for a while, we started our descent back slowly and landed in a pasture. Even though I was 100% sure that we were going to crash in one of the narrow valleys while descending, the landing was extremely smooth and I was actually disappointed to come back to the ground. My disappointment, however quickly faded away because as soon as we landed, we had a little “post-flight” party where we were offered champagne and awarded a certificate of flight completion with our names on it as a keepsake!

Our ride couldn’t have ended on a higher note. 

Still riding high from the balloon ride, we started our way back to the hotel when we realised it was only 8am and we still had the entire day to enjoy this beautiful place that we just saw from a 1000 feet above.


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Orlene Pereira

2 Comments

  1. February 10, 2019 / 3:48 am

    A beautiful place indeed, explained eloquently wid awesome pics!! Very well written Orly! WISH YOU Keep wandering n penning down ur experiences u globe trotter! Cheers!!

    • Orlene Pereira
      Author
      January 3, 2020 / 9:37 am

      Thank you so much So 🙂

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