Up, Up, and Away....Hot Air Ballooning in Vang Vieng, Laos

Vang Vieng is a small town in Laos, about a 3 hour minibus ride away from the capital, Vientiane.  As we rounded the corner into this beautiful town, one of the first things the boys noticed was the huge hot air balloon floating over the small town, nuzzling up against an amazing backdrop of limestone mountains.  Wait, did I say one, I meant to say two!  One yellow and one red, the boys and I were intrigued immediately.

Once we were settled in town, another thing intrigued us..motor scooters!  Boys are boys, and like most, they love motorcycles, scooters, mopeds, anything terrifyingly dangerous to a loving mother.  As a nurse this was always one subject that I steered them away from, knowing full well the dangers involved.

BUT I digress, and fast forward to a small town full of scooters and few cars.  The sparkle in the kids eyes at the thought of renting a scooter just won over and we decided to go for it.  I mean what is the worst that can happen?  A horrible injury? And in a country that has a healthcare policy of "if you get hurt, the best option is to get to Thailand as quick as possible"!  But I push those thoughts aside as I watch my oldest drive off smiling with a giddy joy!

In his glory!

Two days later and I had my own scooter after watching how much fun the boys are having.  We traveled all around this town and up into the hills.  We went caving and did things that just would not have been the same without the scooters.  The freedom it gives us is amazing!  All that is for another post though I guess.  Ok where was I??  Oh yes.....

What about the hot air balloons???

The hot air balloons.  That was what this post is supposed to be about.  Sorry for the scooter hijacking there but we used those scooters to get up close and personal with the balloon launch.  Quite a scene to behold really.  All the local kids go down to the old airstrip (Built by the US during the Vietnam war and no longer used for planes) and watch the Chinese company set up the balloons and ready then for launch.  It takes many men to hold it in just the right position but clearly they have done this many times before and it all happens quickly and without incidents.

The riders are dropped off and just at the right moment as the balloon fills and it about to take off, they jump in and get comfortable.  The cost is $70 per ride and depending on the wind the ride will last between 20 mins and 1 hour.  Most hotels in the area can assist you in booking your ride.  They leave both morning and evening, which time you choose is up to you.  The photographic opportunities at either time are amazing!

So how was the ride you ask??  How the heck should I know, we didn't go on that thing.  We watched it fill up, take off, and sail above our heads, perfectly happy that we didn't pay money for the ride!  For those of you with a bigger wallet, the need for thrill seeking and amazing photos -- then this is for you.  For us, we were just as happy watching in awe with the local children, feet firmly planted on the ground.

See our great budget hotel in Vang Vieng Laos


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  1. Looks like it was an amazing adventure.

  2. It’s so beautiful; I have a dream to go to Paris. I hope it will come true & I can enjoy the journey of Paris.

  3. We went hot air ballooing over the vineyards in Australia, it was magical. We watched the sunrise and breathed the cool fresh air. I would do it again.