My favourite experience from my Turkey trip?
It would have to be the hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia.
I have a list of places/countries that I want to visit and Turkey was actually not even on my list. Then one day, I saw a picture of the hot air balloons in Cappadocia and ever since I saw that picture, I added the hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia to my bucket list and started planning a trip to Turkey.
Booking the hot air balloon tour:
There are many balloon companies that operate the hot air balloon tours in Cappadocia.
I booked my hot air balloon tour in advance through a travel agency. The travel agency I booked with was affiliated with a local hot air balloon tour company called Urgup Balloons. You can also book directly with Urgup Balloons here.
My experience with them was great overall and would recommend this company.
Your hotel will also be able to book hot air balloon tours for you, so you could reach out to your hotel to book the tour as well. I recommend booking ahead of time as the tours can get filled up during the peak seasons. I would also avoid booking hot air balloon tours that are below average price for the tour as there have been a few hot air balloon accidents in Cappadocia and the less known/less reputable tour companies could be less safe.
Standard vs. Deluxe flight:
- Duration: standard flight is 60 minutes vs. deluxe flight is 90 minutes.
- # of people on the hot air balloon ride: standard flight takes up to 26 people vs. deluxe flight takes upto 16 people
- Cost: standard flight is 105 euros vs. deluxe flight is 135 euros (price may vary depending on the tour company)
What happens on the hot air balloon tour:
- The hot air balloon tours include: pick-up from your hotel, breakfast/light refreshments, 60 or 90 minute hot air balloon ride (depending on which type of flight you book), champagne celebration after the flight, and drop-off at your hotel
- The hot air ballon tour takes place during sunrise. This means.. waking up early! The hotel pick-ups are usually between 4 – 4:30am.
- After the tour company picks you up from the hotel, they will take you to the tour company’s flight centre where they serve you with breakfast/light refreshments. This is where they gather everyone from different hotels. So when you arrive at the flight centre, they will ask you to check-in with them and they will give you a sticker, which will indicate which balloon you will be on.
- You should use the washroom here before you leave since you won’t be able to go to the washroom for the next few hours :p
- Once everyone has checked-in, you will get into a shuttle/van with people with the same colour sticker to go to the base where the hot air balloon takes off.
- And are UP on the hot air balloon ride! The ride lasts 60 or 90 minutes (depending on whether you are on the standard or the deluxe ride). People often ask me whether it was scary – it was actually not scary at all, because the hot air balloon rises up and goes back down very slowly. Also, because the scene of the Cappadocia valley and the hot air balloons is so beautiful that you won’t even have time to think about whether it is scary or not.
- After the ride, there is a champagne celebration where they serve you with a glass of champagne :)
- They also provide you with a flight certificate saying you’ve completed the hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia
- After the tour, the tour company will drop you off back at your hotel (it will be around 7am by the time you are back at your hotel).
- Try to visit Cappadocia during the summer time – The hot air balloon ride is very weather dependent. Your flight will be cancelled if it rains, snows, or if it is too windy. So in the rainy season or during the winter, there is a higher chance that your flight might be cancelled. It does rain during the summer time in Cappadocia too, but the chances of rain are lower.
- Choose the deluxe flight over the standard flight – The deluxe flight is more expensive (it’s 30 euros more). However, for the ultimate hot air balloon experience, I recommend going with the deluxe flight (especially if you want to take good photos during the flight) as the standard flight with 26 people will be very cramped.
- Wear layers/dress warm – I went to Cappadocia at the end of June. Although it was during the summer time (with the weather going up to 25+ degrees celsius during the day), because the hot air balloon ride starts early in the morning and the hot air balloon goes up to high altitudes, it gets a bit chilly during the ride.
Photos from my hot air balloon ride experience in Cappadocia:
Breakfast/refreshments before leaving for the flight
Will the balloons fly? (Since the hot air balloon ride is very weather dependent, the green/yellow/red flag status gets updated every 20 minutes and the hot air balloon ride could be cancelled if the flag is red that day.)
Hot air balloons getting ready to take off
Hot air balloon being pushed to lift off
And we are up, up, and away!
The hot air balloon ride felt like a dream… such an unreal experience!
My favourite photos from the hot air balloon ride (need to insert emoji with heart eyes here)
Seeing the sunrise from the hot air balloon with best friend made the experience extra special :)
Ever since the hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia, this has been the lock screen wallpaper on my iphone
Can you tell how excited we were during the hot air balloon ride?
Sunrise from the hot air balloon
View of the valley from the top (the hot air balloon goes up to 900m)
Champagne toast after the hot air balloon flight
Can you tell I took enough photos during the hot air balloon ride?! (This is actually maybe 1/3 of all the photos my friend and I took during the 90 minute ride)
It was such an unreal experience (I was experiencing the picture that inspired me to go to Turkey), so I wanted to capture every moment of it!
I hope you enjoyed these photos :)