Day 2 in Bagan! I set myself two alarm clocks to make sure I would wake up for my pick-up in the early morning hours. 4:45am was the time I had to be ready according to my confirmation email I had received 4 months earlier when booking the balloon ride over Bagan. However, I was told the night before that my pickup time would be 5:15am. Of course I could not sleep longer and was waiting in the lobby of my hotel from 5am onwards. Several vans arrived and their drivers kept looking for other passengers while my pick-up came last. We drove to the north of Old Bagan in the dark and met with lots of other people who all had a balloon ride booked. We were greeted with tea and coffee and croissants in the cold air of the Bagan plains, got a brief security instruction and then got ready to climb into the basket of the balloon. Ours held 12 people. Six on each side and our pilot at the end of both baskets. We lifted off in the dawn and within minutes we were able to see the sun rise over the horizon! What an awesome sight! The temples in the mist and morning light and the dozen or so balloons from various companies as a silhouette in front of the rising sun.
We flew slightly south-east that morning. A bit too far from the temples and pagodas. I had hoped we would fly right over the pagodas, but I guess that is not really the case and very much dependent on the wind. Luckily I had a very good zoom. Still a wonderful experience, specially since we also saw fields and villages and village people waving at us. I loved every second of that 1 hour and 17 minute flight. After touchdown we got champagne and cake and, most importantly, our flight certificate!