Taking a Hot Air Balloon Tour/ride in Sri Lanka can be a magical and truly bucket list experience! Floating majestically across Sri Lankas vast of spectrum of terrain is astounding from glittery Lakes to jagged Mountains, scenic beaches and a vibrant wilderness, there is no better way to experience the magic except via the air.
With a series of National Parks in Sri Lanka such as Yala National Park, offering a plethora of wildlife, you can take your very own unique Hot Air Balloon Safari!
Many people choose to go on a hot air balloon tour in Sri Lanka as a birthday celebration, a place to propose or of course just to tick it of their bucket list and capture some amazing instagrammable memories.
With such a beautiful land there are many Hot Air Balloon tour companies, offering a variety of expeditions, so it can be challenging to find who to book with. Who can you trust? Who is reputable? Who provides a safe experience? Who provides a wonderful experience? and who is the best value for money? In this article, I aim to answer these questions & more.
After taking multiple hot air balloon tours in Sri Lanka and interviewing many who have taken part in the ballooning experience. You can be ensured the information I’m telling you is independent & verified. So with that said get ready to feel inflated with excitement!
Best time of year to take a Hot Air Balloon Ride in Sri Lanka?
The best time of year to sign up for a surreal Hot Air Balloon tour in Sri Lanka is during Hot Air Balloon Season, which runs between November and May. At this time of year the winds are calm and the sky is a brilliant clear blue. March and April offer the best ballooning weather in this period.
It is possible, to take a Hot Air Balloon Tour, at other periods throughout the year. However, expect stronger winds coming from the east which can take you further out past the mountains.
Hot Air Balloon Tours in Sri Lanka Tips.
As Hot Air Balloon rides/tours are very dependent upon weather conditions. Flights can be cancelled or postponed on the day for safety reasons. Many operators give you a refund or raincheck voucher if you wish to come back the next day. Thus, to avoid missing out I suggest booking your Hot Air Balloon Ride, early in your vacation!
Do not book it on your last day before your flight home, as you risk the chance of missing out on the experience if the weather is bad. Luckily, cancellations are not common if you book during Hot air Balloon season I outlined above.
What to Wear for a Hot Air Balloon Ride?
As heat rises and the basket is open it can be warm high up and you face direct sunlight. So dress casually, with light cotton clothes, bring a hat, sunglasses and sunblock.
Due to limited floor space in the wicker basket, only bring a small bag if needed and wear comfortable, functional shoes. No flip flops or heels!
Hot Air Balloon Flights in Sri Lanka:
The average hot air balloon flight lasts approximately one hour, with the entire tour from hotel pickup to drop of can take around 3 hours. Remember, with hot air balloon rides each one is unique as they fly with the speed/direction of the wind.
For example, if the wind is 3mph you may travel 3 miles, but if it’s 10 mph you could travel 10 miles!
A chase car follows so when you pilot finds a suitable spot to land. Their job is to fold up the massive balloon and then ride you back to your hotel or sometimes the Hot Air Balloon tour site where a champagne celebration is waiting, reminiscent of the french tradition after a balloon flight.
Hot Air Balloon Tour Operators in Sri Lanka:
There are many Hot Air Balloon Tour operators in Sri Lanka, with many operating from Dambulla, located just north of the centre of Sri Lanka. This is an ideal location surrounded by many National Parks towards the east. Including: Wasgamuwa National Park (best for Elephants/big game), Knuckles Forest Reserve, Somawathiya National Park, Madura Oya National Park.
Other Balloon operators offer Hot Air Balloon Safaris of the very popular & breath taking Yala National Park, located on the south east, coast.
Otherwise known as land of the leopard this park has one of the highest leopard population densities in the world. Udawalawa National Park also in the south is a haven for Elephants.
Hot Air Balloon Ride Prices in Sri Lanka:
Is Sri Lanka Cheap for Hot Air Balloon Rides?
Hot Air Balloon Rides in Sri Lanka, cost around $210 for an adult, there may be slightly cheaper ones around. However, there is no guaranteeing their safety & reputation.
Lanka Ballooning Ltd – Dambulla
Based in Dambulla, Sri Lanka, Lanka Ballooning Ltd is a fully licensed and approved Hot Air Balloon Rides operator in Sri Lanka. They own 2 hot air balloons which they use for Hot Air balloon tours piloted by well trained Turkish pilots, who hold commercial ballooning pilots licenses.
Their balloon flights usually run between Dambulla, nearby Kandalama and the eastern national parks.
Unlike, some balloon operators Lanka Ballooning offers their guests a small breakfast/coffee in the morning which is great for sunrise flights. As most of the time, your hotel will not be serving breakfast until later. After the ride, champagne & cake are offered.
When I went on a flight with these, we saw the sunrise over lake Kandalama before landed in a nearby paddy field, where the villagers came over excited & awe struck! Young children can be held by parents during the ride.
One negative review of these did speak of lack of information regarding insurance during a rough landing. However, apart from that most reviews are positive.
How much does a Hot Air Balloon Ride Cost?
US$200 – $210
+94 77 472 7700
Sun Rise Ballooning – Dambulla
With a 5 star rating & Certificate of excellence on trip advisor Sun Rise Ballooning was established in 2003. A ballooning family who have UK certified commercial pilots, which are legally valid to fly by the Sri Lanka Civil Aviation Authority.
Their crew are all fluent in English and very helpful during the entire process. Another name for this operator is Sri Lanka Ballooning. They operator during the hot air balloon season between November to April .
They run hot air balloon tours all over Sri Lanka with a popular one at Sunrise (clues in the name!) over the glistening Kandalama lake, the largest natural lake in Sri Lanka.
Families with Children:
Families with children are permitted to fly however, as the Gondola is 4 feet high a child any shorter will not get to see the views and may get annoyed. Parents are not permitted to hold the child or carry them during the flight, for safety reasons.
The rule of thumb is children below 7 are not usually permitted. Some young children can also be frightened by the sound of the burner.
Fun Fact: Their Chief Pilot Justin Moore has over 5070 commercial hours. Approximately 16 years of flying so you know you are in safe hands.
Champagne upon Landing!
Reminiscent of the French tradition, a champagne toast occurs upon landing. Hotel Pickups/Drop off are standard.
How much does a Hot Air Balloon Ride Cost?
Flights cost $210 USD/adults and $160 per child.
Contact No: +94 77 352 2013
There are other operators in the area, but most don’t have great reviews or are tour companies which offer packages.
Sri Lankas Hot Air Balloon Festival:
The Sri Lanka Balloon Festival runs annually in March, between Sigiriya, Hambanthota and Colombo. Over 40 ballooners participate in the festival which is organised by Ceylon Air ship and Balloon Club.
The Balloonists trace a path from south Sri Lanka o the Northern plains. Afterwards a celebration is held in Independence square in Colombo.
Want help booking an adventure to Sri Lanka?
Email us at: Mail(at)townandtourist.com with number of people traveling & preferred dates and one of our travel experts will get back to you. We can answer any questions you have, and create a custom package which includes everything you desire, including all hotels, Flights and even bucket list activities.
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