One of my top bucket list items is no doubt hot air ballooning Cappadocia. So, when I found myself there I knew I couldn’t miss this opportunity. Full of fairy chimneys, unusual caves and deep valleys, the landscape of Cappadocia is unlike no other. Add to this the hundreds of balloons which cover the sky and you have a combination of a photographers paradise.
Being invited on board by Royal Balloons just made this experience even better. They are one of the most reputable companies and we had an excellent experience from start to finish.
Why Choose Royal Balloons
Royal Balloons are actually the highest rated ballooning company on TripAdvisor within Cappadocia. They often exceed their customers experiences and provide a quality once in a lifetime experience. As per their name, they strive for a luxury trip, fit for a queen or a king, on each flight.
Royal Balloons operate two different types of hot air ballooning Cappadocia flights. The first is the Royal King Flight which is about 90 minutes in duration and with up to 12 people per basket. The second is the Royal Queen Flight which is about 60 minutes in duration, has up to 16 passengers and is a bit cheaper on the wallet.
No matter which package you choose, each includes transport to and from your hotel in their luxury minivans, a massive open buffet in the Royal Balloons headquarters, an after flight celebration involving champagne and a commemorative medal souvenir.
How Safe Are Royal Balloons?
Royal Balloons take safety into uttermost importance. They are actually the only company in Cappadocia which have a 100% fleet of British produced balloons. These are only one of few balloons in Turkey which are New Generation Balloons and have a Hyperlife Silver Coating, ultimately ensuring the highest rated safety.
Royal Balloons have an excellent safety record with extremely experienced and passionate pilots operating the balloons.
What To Wear Hot Air Ballooning?
Oftentimes the mornings in Cappadocia can be a bit chilly, at least it was when I visited in June. We would find ourselves pulling out our only jackets and bundling up. Though, on a hot air balloon flight it can get quite toasty.
Rather than wearing a large jacket you should wear layers, this way you can take off or put on clothing depending on how hot you are feeling. As the hot air balloon uses fire the temperature around the basket will be considerably more than the surrounding air. Flat soled shoes are also a must when hot air ballooning. Heels may look cute, but it makes for an awkward experience climbing in and out of the basket.
Hot Air Ballooning Cappadocia With Royal Balloons- My Experience
Early Morning Pick Up & Breakfast
Under the darkness of our hotel we wait to begin our hot air ballooning Cappadocia experience with Royal Balloons, one of the best things to do in Cappadocia. It is early being just 3.55am. Soon a van pulls up and we jump in. A few more stops to pick up other passengers and we find ourselves at the Royal Balloon headquarters.
A large informational board is placed out front with everyone’s names, where to have breakfast and which vans to jump in for our balloon. We head to one of the many breakfast areas and dig in for a 4am eat. There is an excellent spread of hot and cold dishes, it a beautifully done traditional Turkish breakfast. Though, this early in the morning my appetite is fairly non existent.
A few cups of tea later and a trip to the bathroom brought on by nerves it is finally time to load up the vans. We jump in with the 6 other people who will be joining our hot air ballooning Cappadocia tour. Driving through the landscapes the morning is still covered under darkness. Soon we head along a dirt path and begin noticing large balloons being lit up by the fire which produces the heat. Heading further off road these balloons become more and more present until they surround us.
Arriving On Site
Pulling up to a half inflated red and white checkered balloon we jump out of the luxury van and take in the gorgeous landscape. Around us are numerous balloons getting ready for take off, absolutely covering the surrounding areas. More and more pop up making their way into the sky from the cracks within the nearby valleys.
We are given 15 minutes to take photos and appreciate everything around us. This time goes quickly and soon enough we are called over to our basket. After a introduction and briefing for safety, what to expect and questions it is time to get inside the basket.
Taking Off On Our Hot Air Balloon In Cappadocia
The ground crew indicate which compartment of the basket for everyone to get in. It is surprising how much room there actually is inside.
The pilot says is hellos mixed with the whirl of the fire producing more heat to lift the basket. Today our pilot is Suat, an extremely funny local Turkish man who has an immense passion for hot air ballooning and is actually the chief pilot for Royal Balloons.
While more and more hot air is released into the balloon the pilot takes us over the landing position. This is to keep the balloon balanced on landing and to prevent anyone falling out in case the balloon was to accidentally tip.
The hot air balloon soon starts to lift and scrape the ground. So, with one last hit of fire the hot air balloon is filled and we begin to raise into the sky.
Early Morning Fly Over Cappadocia
Flying fairly low in the valley we pass nearby fairy chimneys and other balloons. The valleys are incredible from up here and look like small crevasses in comparison.
With the sun beginning to rise behind a nearby mountain the shade of the sky turns from a dim blue to golden hues of pinks and yellows. Our pilot Suat gives a little history lesson on the geological formations of the surrounding areas
What I surprises me the most about the hot air ballooning Cappadocia experience is how the pilots actually fly the balloon. They only have control over whether it goes up or down and which way to basket faces. They cannot effect the direction which the balloon flies as it is all up to the winds currents on the day.
Sunrise While Hot Air Ballooning In Cappadocia
Heading further into the sky above the incredible Cappadocia landscapes the peak of the sun pops over the nearby mountain. At this stage the skies seem to performing some kind of magical color show, making the experience so much more memorable.
During the ride all I feel is pure serenity. The entire ride is so smooth and I can barely feel any of the breeze which is taking us over the many valleys in Cappadocia. For some reason it is a surprise how quiet it is up here. I am not sure what exactly I expected, but apart from the camera clicks, the whirl of the fire and the chatter within the basket, it feels like the whole world has some to a stand still.
With the balloon starting to gain quite a bit of height we all now have an excellent view over Cappadocia. The sun hits our balloon and warms the valley floor below. It highlights the hundreds of balloons floating in front of us making for quite a spectacular sight.
Flying Over Çavuşin Village
Heading towards the final portion of our hot air ballooning Cappadocia experience with Royal Balloons we slowly begin to decent over the nearby village of Çavuşin. Having explored this village of bicycle and quad bike the previous to days it was completely different witnessing it from above, with interesting depressions in the valley landscapes and the stone colored buildings lit up in pink and orange hues.
Our pilot Suat tells us a funny story of a flight he did where he went a bit to low into the Çavuşin Village and accidentally provided a view of a local Turkish man waking up through his window. Problem was he was naked. Since that moment Suat says he is always careful not to go too close to houses as he tries to provide good value for money, but views like that are not what the customers signed up for.
Throughout our entire flight the ground crew of Royal Balloons are following us and communicating to the pilot. This is to keep an eye out on changing surroundings, warning of nearby balloons which may become problematic and to be there straight away when the balloon lands to prevent it tipping over or taking back off.
With the sun now fully in the sky and our hour in the sky over it is time to land. Heading over grassy fields of live stock and plants our pilot lowers the balloon over a recently harvested paddock. A ute with a trailer quickly pulls down beneath us and Suat does an incredible job landing perfectly on top, well and truly earning a round of applause.
After Flight Celebrations With Royal Balloons
Disembarking the basket is honestly the scariest part for me of the entire experience. Having to awkwardly climb out with the help of one of the ground staff and land onto the side of the trailer. I am sure it was not a graceful experience, but I will pretend that it was.
The ground staff pour the bubbles as everyone celebrates an excellent flight. On offer is champagne or orange juice, as well as strawberries and chocolate. This is certainly the ultimate way to end our flight with Royal Balloons.
Around us are other balloons coming in for landing. We watch as the incredible sky show comes to an end and deflated balloons soon cover the surrounding paddocks.
Suat comes around handing us each a souvenir gold medal to remember our adventures by, as well as posing for an obligatory photo. Once everyone receives their parting gift it is time to jump back into the luxury minivans.
Final Thoughts: Hot Air Ballooning Cappadocia With Royal Balloons
Overall we honestly had such an amazing experience hot air ballooning Cappadocia with Royal Balloons. The entire morning was perfect and ran seamlessly without any issues. It was obvious that Royal Balloons are a professional company who take safety and customer satisfaction importantly.
Our pilot Suat also made the hot air balloon ride that much better. Happily sharing plenty of stories with us and his experiences flying it made us feel more connected to the experience and appreciative of our surroundings.
Tips For Booking Your Own Hot Air Ballooning Cappadocia Experience
- There are over 24 different companies operating hot air ballooning Cappadocia experiences. Each of them have different safety standards, may or may not include breakfast or post landing ceremony and the pilots might not speak much English. It is best to check reviews before booking.
- Make sure to book your hot air balloon tour on the first morning as opposed to the last morning. This way if it is cancelled due to weather they can rebook you. The morning before our experience was cancelled, but we got lucky and had perfect weather.
- If you are unsure which company to book with I recommend Royal Balloons. They have an excellent safety rating, an ISO 9001:2008 Certification, use experienced pilots and have the best reviews on TripAdvisor
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Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. So, if you click on it and purchase something, I get a small percentage at no extra cost to you. As always all opinions are my own and your support is much appreciated.
Backpackers Wanderlust was a guest with Royal Balloons on their Royal Queen Flight, however, as always, all opinions are my own.