Hot air ballooning in Nepal is something that many travelers have written home about. In the five years since its flight, the sports has been very popular with tourists, for it affords the most spectacular view of the Kathmandu Valley and the Himalayan ranges towering in the background. On a clear day, it is a superb way to view the Himalayas (from over 6000m up), and the view of the valley is equally breathtaking.
The huge balloon comes to life in the morning light, "a sleeping giant decorated with the all - seeing eyes of the Buddha", as it ripples, stretches, expands and readies itself for its load of passengers. The departure is gentle and one hardly feels the ascent. The advantage of this ancient and romantic form of flight is that there is no whirring or whining of engines, nor any airplane wings to obscure the most magnificent of vies. Like the agency puts it, "Even if you do not climb Mt. Everest, from the perfect safety and comfort of a wicker basket, you will feel that you have reached the top of the world in effortless security." Cool!
The best months of a hot air balloon flight are October - November and March, although the season extends from October to April. The flights take place daily during the season, and are dependent on the wind for its direction (eastward or westward across the valley). The landing could be anyplace - mostly in the terraced paddies that stretch out across the fringes of the valley, usually attracting a large impromptu gathering of villagers checking to see what has fallen out of the sky!
The balloon takes off from Thimi, near the historic town of Bhaktapur, one of the three erstwhile principalities of the Kathmandu Valley and in many ways the most medieval. from there, depending on which way the wind blows, it takes you on a trip that gives you a bird's eye view of Kathmandu and the valley.