Home to the extreme adventure activities, Pokhara in Nepal, is on the list is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Asia. Surrounded by two of the highest mountain in the world – Annapurna and Dhaulagiri, the Pokhara city, is also the gateway to the most beautiful multi-day trekking trails in the world. The town itself is surrounded by beautiful landscapes such as a dozen snowcapped mountains, green hill terraces, and a beautiful lake in the middle of the city. This beautiful city of Pokhara is often compared to Zurich in Switzerland. Not to mention, Pokhara city is the number #1 cheapest city in the world according to Forbes Magazine. Not to mention that according to the Travel’s Asia Backpacker Index for 2019, Pokhara ranks cheapest at number 6 out of 31. Newly added to the list of hot tourism activities, is Hot Air Ballooning in Pokhara, Nepal.
Pokhara is unique in that it offers multiple adventure activities: such as paragliding, ultralight flights, skydiving, bungee jump, zip line, rafting, hiking, mountain biking, etc. Very few places on this earth will have the combination Pokhara has of perfect nature and such extreme adventure activities to make your holiday perfect.
In this article, I am keen to offer the best knowledge I have about Pokhara, especially everything you should know about hot air ballooning in Pokhara. I hope to answer all of the fundamental questions you may have about hot air balloons in Nepal. Stay with me until the end of this article. If you enjoy reading this article, don’t forget to click our rating box in the right-hand corner. Or if you have any questions please leave a comment below. Before discussing further information, let me quickly bring you through this 2 minutes video of Balloon Nepal.
- A single hot air balloon flight takes you closer to two of the highest mountain in the world – Annapurna (8,091m) and Dhaulagiri (8,168m)
- Stunning view of the Himalayas: including Nepal’s five major mountains: Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, Fishtail, Mardi Himal, Hinchuli and several other small peaks.
- Soar 500m above the ground and fly up to 2,650m above the take-off point.
How does hot air ballooning in Nepal work?
As of now, there are two hot air balloon flights every day out of Pokhara, with a passenger capacity of 8 at a time. The first flight will depart early in the morning for sunrise and the second flight will take off at 9:00 am for sightseeing. The company will pick you up from your hotel and drive you to the take-off point at Dhampus (1,650m), a small mountain village 32km northeast of Pokhara. After 30 minutes, the flight will land on the banks of the Mardi River and you will be driven back to the hotel.
Types of balloon flight
There are mainly two types of flight: one is called Tether Flight and the other is Free Flight. The latter covers a longer distance and spends more time in the air. The difference between the two flights is flight time, budget and landing point. Both flights take off from Dhumpus/ Laurukh (depending on the weather). The Tether Flight is only for 15-20 minutes, takes off from Dhampus and lands back at the same point. The Free Flight is about 1 hour and lands at the base of the Dhampus by on the Mardi riverbank.
The flight will take you 500m above the ground, and offers splendid views of Mt.Annapurna (8,093m) and other mountains such as Dhaulagiri (8,168m)Mount Fishtail, Hiunchuli, Lamjung Himal, etc.
Cost of ballooning in Pokhara
The price is USD 90 for the 20 minutes flight and USD 160 for the 1 hour trip for foreigners. Local tourists pay NPR 6,000 for 20 minutes flight and NPR 11,000 for the 1-hour flight. This price includes pick up and drop off to your hotel and complimentary tea/ coffee on board. For families and small groups, the company also has a six-passenger capacity balloon package of a 20-minute flight. To reserve the whole basket for your group will cost USD 450 for foreigners and NPR 33,000 for locals.
Reservations for Balloon Nepal
As of now, online booking is not available through the company’s website. The company, Balloon Nepal, only offers walk-in reservations from their contact office located in Kathmandu and Pokhara. Or at the same price, any travel agency in Kathmandu can offer a Pokhara tour package including a Balloon Nepal flight as well. If you are looking for last-minute booking options, you may want to check with your Nepal travel agency or contact us. We are happy to check the availability of your desired date and let you know the possibilities.
Best Time to go Ballooning in Nepal
In order to get the best possible view, time and season are crucial. It is also true that flights may be delayed or even canceled if the weather is considered not safe for ballooning. Especially if there is high-speed wind or the sky is foggy or cloudy. The balloon can fly any time of the year depending on the weather, but during the autumn (September- December) and spring (March-May) is the best. During monsoon, it frequently rains in Nepal at night leaving the morning sky nice and clear. Monsoon is still a perfect time to enjoy the dramatic mountain views with white clouds and green hill terraces. Just bearing in mind your flight could be canceled due to rain.
What to bring on your balloon flight
The temperature in Pokhara (827m) regularly changed every three months. On average it is around 29°C (84°F) throughout the year. Hotter in the pre-monsoon season (May and June) and cooler in the winter (mid-December to mid-February).However, the balloon take-off point at Dhampus (1,650m) is colder than Pokhara. You should also remember the higher you fly, the colder it becomes. I am sure it depends on the person how they would like to pack. But just a simple reminder here is a list of things you might want to take during your balloon flight over the Himalayas:-
- A windproof jacket/ for winter consider a down jacket
- Warm and comfortable pants
- Socks and shoes
- Warm hat/ head covering
- Day backpack
- Lip guard
- Sun cream
- Windproof gloves (during winter)
- Water bottle
- Camera accessory and extra batteries
Cancellation policies due to bad weather conditions
Balloon flights are not often canceled… but in case the weather is terrible, or visibility is low, your money will be 100% refunded or your flight scheduled for the next day.
Can I bring infants and children on the balloon trip?
Yes, a child under two years can travel on Balloon Nepal free of cost and children above two years are required to pay the full amount the same as an adult. And it is entirely safe. However, parents may need to watch kids and are responsible for them to avoid a possible accident. It is a good idea to hold them on your lap during the flight so the infant also can enjoy the view.
Should I worry about altitude sickness?
Not at all! Let me tell you why. The hot air balloon can only fly up to 2,600m for a maximum of an hour. Altitude sickness is not something that appears instantly when you rise in elevation. It takes time for your body to realize it is at altitude and for it to change and say ‘nope, don’t like this.” Short trips at altitudes are not long enough for this to happen. The elevation and duration of the hot air balloon in Pokhara does not pose any altitude sickness threat.
Operators experience and safety
Balloon Nepal is the first operator of hot air ballooning in Nepal. The company has hired an experienced team including a pilot from outside of the country. Most of the team have more than ten years of flying experience in the sky. Obviously there are always some risks with adventure activities but overall, ballooning is safe.
Can someone with hyponatremia, asthma or physical disabilities take this trip?
The answer is YES! Someone with hyponatremia or asthma can still do this tour without extra oxygen. Those with physical disabilities can also take the trip depending on the severity of their disability. Please discuss this with the balloon company. In general, hot air ballooning is an experience of a lifetime for anyone. So if you would like to take your elderly relatives or friends there is no restriction for older people of relatively good health.
While visiting Pokhara, Nepal most tourists go trekking. A balloon ride through the Himalayas can be easily added on to any trek. Or for those who cannot/ or don’t want to trek, a balloon ride will give them a front-row seat of the mountains! If you enjoyed reading this article, don’t forget to rate us below. Or if you have any questions, please leave a comment below.