Hot Air Ballooning in Vang Vieng, Laos

Hot Air Ballooning in Vang Vieng, Laos

It was 5:30 in the morning and I could barely open my eyes. I had avoided tubing in Vang Vieng so I could wake up early enough to catch a sunrise hot air balloon ride over the hills of Vang Vieng.

Yes, believe it or not, I went to Vang Vieng and didn’t partake in the average party-goer debauchery of drinking in inner-tubes.

Firing it up!

Firing it up!

My muscles hadn’t quite started working yet, but I jumped in the bed of a pick-up truck and, before it even pulled out onto the field, I could hear a deep whoosh from around the corner. I had never heard the sound before, but I already knew what it was. It sounded exactly like I thought it would. Two flamethrowers exploded in thunder as they shot fire into a giant red balloon which billowed in the air. A man sat inside a flimsy little basket, reached out to us, and ushered us inside.

I was about to fly through the air while confined to a straw hamper.

View from the basket

View from the basket

Two dutch boys, a Chinese couple, a Japanese girl and myself squeezed into the wickerwork. It was crisp outside and the sky was illuminated, but shadows still rested upon everything below it. The sun was nowhere to be seen.

And then, without even realizing it, our basket was off the ground. The treetops scraped the bottom of our pannier. Just like that, I was floating through the air.

Floating over the Nam Song River in Vang Vieng, Laos

Floating over the Nam Song River in Vang Vieng, Laos

The fire-shooters went quiet and we hung in the air with perfect buoyancy. It felt like we were dangling from a piece of string, suspended above the deep green earth. A layer of cotton hugged the curvature of the earth.The mountains poked their little green hats out from the silky cotton expanse and we dangled more than a kilometer above them.

A layer of clouds cuts through the mountains

A layer of clouds cuts through the mountains

The sun rose and cast its shiny orange glow on the mountains and rivers below. With one flick of our driver’s finger on the trigger, flames shot upward and the balloon abruptly rose with far greater speed than I would have expected. In 20 seconds we went from 15 feet in the air to 1.2km. I popped my ears.

Cloudy and mountainous

Cloudy and mountainous

I couldn’t believe what I was actually seeing. What it must be like to be a bird!

Sunrise hot air balloon in Vang Vieng, Loas

Sunrise hot air balloon in Vang Vieng, Loas

And so, you see, this is why I travel–for the unexpected delights that unexpectedly fill my senses with joy in a way that resounds through the timeline of my life. I’ll never forget the day I went hot air ballooning over Vang Vieng. It was truly something special.

More Information:

Location: Vang Vieng, Laos, Southeast Asia
Price: $75
Details: Any travel agent in Vang Vieng will be able to sell you this tour. There is only one company who runs the hot air balloons in town so no need to compare. They offer sunrise rides, morning rides and afternoon/sunset rides.

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12 Responses to Hot Air Ballooning in Vang Vieng, Laos

  1. Frank January 30, 2014 at 3:41 pm #

    Wow! Gorgeous photos. What an experience!
    Frank (bbqboy)

    • Jeremy Foster January 31, 2014 at 11:45 am #

      It certainly was! I hope you can experience it someday!

  2. Paula Through the Looking Glass November 19, 2014 at 12:45 pm #

    ah man I so wish I’d done this! And it was only $50 when I was there during low season

    • Jeremy Foster November 21, 2014 at 1:03 pm #

      It was incredible! There’s always next time 😉

  3. Lara // the passage January 26, 2015 at 1:39 am #

    Great photos! The clouds nestled amongst the green hills…magical…

    • Jeremy Foster January 30, 2015 at 4:19 pm #

      It was a seriously magical experience! I’ve still never done anything quite like it!

  4. Prasanthi Purusothaman May 14, 2015 at 2:15 am #

    Hi Jeremy,

    Loving your articles. So great! My boyfriend is there in Laos at the moment travelling to Vang Vieng. I wanted to surprise him with this as a gift, do you know what the company is and the best way to go about booking from Aus. Cheers!

  5. Eric November 6, 2015 at 1:47 am #

    Vangvieng is the best place to relax

  6. Lord January 29, 2016 at 9:22 pm #

    Thanks for this! We’re flying there this Chinese New Year. Would you know if they’re open? Also, how do we get tickets? Do we need to book in advance?

    Greetings from SG. 🙂

  7. Emily March 7, 2016 at 9:08 am #

    I am planning a trip to Laos! I am adding this to my list. How incredible!!

  8. Joseph September 14, 2016 at 11:04 am #

    Woww very nice !! could you please tell me the company name ?

  9. Jo Ann February 5, 2017 at 2:59 am #

    Hi, we will be travelling to Laos this end of Feb. is the price quoted per pax? Thanks in advance 🙂

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