aboutWe are Akila and Patrick. Our minds (and waistlines) expand as we travel, cook, and eat our way around the world with our two dogs.
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hot air ballooning in cappadocia

Hot air ballooning in Cappadocia

Hot air ballooning in Cappadocia

Cappadocia is an amazing place.  I've heard it described as a lunar or Martian landscape and, I agree, it's not too far from that.  But, for us, we both felt as if we had stepped into a fantasy novel --- perhaps Frank Herbert's Dune or the Aiel Waste in Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series --- because it didn't feel possible.  The rocks grew in strange shapes, caverns undulated and rippled, and houses and churches peeked out in arches and entryways in the yellow rocks.

There's no better way to see this landscape than on a hot air balloon.  We floated into the air, gently and smoothly, rising higher and higher as the sun rose over Cappadocia.  Within twenty minutes, there were eighty or more hot air balloons swimming through the air, rising and dipping across the blue skies and into the rocky crevices of the earth.  The ten of us on the balloon spoke softly in whispers, as if afraid to disturb the peace of the morning (though the honeymooning couple next to me carried on a furious argument in low whispers for the first half of the flight which cannot bode well for their marriage because all fears, worries, and anger disappeared for me as soon as we got into the air.)

We wanted to stay, forever, in that way, floating above beauty.

Hot air ballooning in Cappadocia
 Hot air ballooning in Cappadocia  Hot air balloons in Cappadocia
 Hot air balloon silhouettes
 Hot air balooning Cappadocia  Hot air ballooning in Cappadocia
Hot air balloon with moon
 Shadow of hot air balloon in Cappadocia  Hot air balooning Cappadocia
 Hot air ballooning Cappadocia  Hot air ballooning Cappadocia
Hot air balloons over Rose Valley Cappadocia
 Hot air ballooning Cappadocia  Hot air ballooning Cappadocia
 Hot air ballooning Cappadocia  Hot air ballooning Cappadocia
Cappadocia hot air ballooning
Hot air ballooning Cappadocia Hot air ballooning Cappadocia
Hot air ballooning Cappadocia
Hot air ballooning Cappadocia Hot air balooning Cappadocia
Hot air ballooning Cappadocia Hot air balloon with horses in Cappadocia
Hot air ballooning Cappadocia Hot air ballooning Capppadocia
Hot air ballooning Cappadocia
Hot air ballooning Cappadocia Hot air ballooning Cappadocia
Hot air ballooning Cappadocia




Hot air ballooning

We used Kapadokya Balloons for our hot air balloon experience.  We took the 90 minute deluxe flight, that cost 230 Euros per person, rather than the 45-minute flight for 165 Euros.  The deluxe flight also put us in a smaller 10 person balloon rather than the huge 24 person balloons.  Our pilot was fantastic --- he navigated us right above the Goreme Open Air Museum and very close to some of the painted churches and took us very high up.  We thought long and hard about shelling out so much money for only a few hours' experience, but, ultimately, it's the most amazing thing we did in Turkey and one of the best things we've done in the entire world.  The cost is high but it is well worth doing.

The balloon company picked us up at 4:00 a.m., drove us 20 minutes to a big hotel where they gave us a very mediocre breakfast, and then we were piled into individual vans to go to our various hot air balloons.  Kapadokya Balloons is a huge company and I think if we had to do it over again, we would have opted for a smaller company that has breakfast right in front of the balloons because it would have been nice to see more of the set up.  Then, we drove to the balloon point and watched them inflate the balloon and were off.  

When it's all said and done, all the balloon companies offer pretty much the same services and go up at the same time, so if you see a deal for something better, take it.  We arrived at 4:00 a.m. and took the 90-minute experience.  Though I don't think that the company matters much, I do recommend taking the longer hot air balloon ride for 90 minutes rather than 45 minutes because we were able to go much higher and further than the shorter rides, and I think that the incremental cost is worth the expense.  (Note, it's more expensive to pay via credit card than cash so we would recommend paying by cash.)

07/13/2012 05:30
Chetan Sankar
Looks like you both had tons of fun!!!

07/17/2012 15:32
We did!
07/13/2012 06:28
What a perfect place to go ballooning!
Ryan at Travel and Graphs's recent blog post: A Guide to Asking Someone To Travel With You
07/17/2012 15:31
Thanks Ryan! It was!
07/13/2012 11:58
I LOVED Cappadocia. LOVED IT!! Our hot air balloon ride was probably the highlight of our trip to Turkey. We flew with Royal Balloons, the company that took Martha Stewart. I kinda felt sorta kinda cool (ok, fine not really, but it made for a good story back home). If it's good enough for Martha... :) It was really cold while we were in Cappadocia, but I'd love to go back during a warmer time of year. It didn't really matter because it was all so stunning to me. Thanks for bringing back memories!
07/17/2012 15:30
Terri, I heard really good things about Royal Balloons, too, but I didn't know that Martha used them. :) It was surprisingly warm on the day we went. I had worn two fleece jackets in case I was freezing up there but I didn't need either of them!
07/13/2012 15:25
This looks breathtaking! I would love to get to Cappadocia one day -- it's at the top of the bucket list (and I take my bucket list very seriously). Thanks for the info!
Edna's recent blog post: An Expat Confession
07/17/2012 15:23
Edna, it's definitely a bucket list destination! It was on my bucket list as well so I'm so glad that we were able to cross this one off and it lived up to all our expectations and more.
07/13/2012 17:22
I have goosebumps, these are just the most amazing pics! This is at the top of my Bucket List!!!!
Andi of My Beautiful Adventures's recent blog post: Hong Kong: NOBU InterContinental Hong Kong
07/17/2012 15:22
Thanks Andi! It's definitely a must-do.
07/15/2012 08:23
Beautiful photos - I can't imagine what this experience would be like - stunning!
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07/17/2012 14:45
Thanks Adam!
07/15/2012 19:34
These are the most wonderful photos. The best I have seen of the balloons over Cappadocia. Seeing 80 or more up at the same time would be amazing. How do they not run into each other?
07/17/2012 14:36
Jan, thank you so much! I have NO idea how the balloon operators manage it but they were amazing. Our hot air balloon operator was so good that he even managed a perfect landing directly onto the bed of the truck. It was incredible! We never even got close enough to another balloon that we could yell to each other.
07/15/2012 22:23
I love that first shot: the symmetry of the balloons in the air and the rocks on the ground. Pretty! Though that balloon looks a bit tight--I feel like I might get claustrophobic being trapped in such a small space with several people hundreds of feet above the ground!
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07/17/2012 14:34
Thanks Kristin! It actually wasn't that crowded, at all. The basket is set up so that there is a barrier between every two people and there is a barrier at your back so it was very comfortable. Patrick and I had a two person spot to ourselves and there was enough room for us to turn our bodies and move around. You can't walk between the barrier while you're up in the air so the barrier also helped us feel much more secure. Patrick even had enough room to switch out lenses and such while we were up there!
07/17/2012 22:12
Now see, what you described right there is exactly my definition of "claustrophobic!" I'm so bad, I can't be in a tight space like that with no way down--or out.
Camels & Chocolate's recent blog post: Lonesome George: Gone to Tortoise Heaven
07/16/2012 09:05
Wow!! Amazing pictures and what an adventure. The landscape looks just perfect too for such a trip. Breathtaking :)
Hmm, this is possibly an idea of something to do for a next birthday, my mum took me hot air ballooning when I was 11, maybe I could do it for her next birthday (obviously I'm a lot older than 11 now! Something to add to the bucket list I reckon.
07/17/2012 14:05
It was breathtaking! It's definitely a bucket list item and one that we were really happy to cross off ours.
07/18/2012 03:16
Definitely taking my mum :) What time of year did you go?
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07/20/2012 05:07
Cemanthe, We went in early May and I think that was the perfect time to go. It wasn't too cold at all but it wasn't too hot either in the middle of the day. I think the winter time would be brutal in Cappadocia and our hot air ballooner was telling us that they even go up when it's snowing!
07/20/2012 05:09
Ahhh perfect, my mum's birthday is in April :) Excellent advice thank you!
Although, must be amazing to see the snow over a landscape like that. Thanks for your help :)
07/17/2012 06:54
Gorgeous photos and looks like an amazing experience! Tim and I were actually married in a hot air balloon...on the ground. The weather was bad that day and so we couldn't take our flight. It's been 10 1/2 years and we still haven't taken that flight together.
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07/17/2012 14:03
Awww . . . that's too bad that you guys weren't able to get up in the air for your wedding but what an amazing idea for a wedding! Well, I think that 10 years is long enough. On your next trip out of the country, head to Cappadocia and go ballooning. I'm certain that you'll love it!
07/18/2012 11:33
Awesome place and awesome photos. Looks like this is THE place for hot air ballooning. :)
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07/19/2012 13:45
Wow very nice pictures! I remembering going as a kid but the loud sound of flame scared me haha. I think I would love to go now!
07/20/2012 12:07
I seriously dream of taking a hot air balloon ride over cappadocia! Seems purely magical! Really hope we get to do this when we are traveling! Your photos capture it perfectly!
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07/22/2012 04:06
Thanks so much Vicky! It's an amazing experience - one of those most serene and wonderful things we've ever done.
07/21/2012 12:37
These photos are absolutely breathtaking! They look like something out of a children's book or a Pixar movie--simply amazing! I've always wanted to try a hot air balloon ride somewhere, and Cappadocia looks like just the place. Did you feel any motion sickness or vertigo? I hesitate to try only for those reasons.
07/22/2012 03:49
Thanks Ruth! I didn't feel ANY motion sickness, actually, and I was really surprised because I normally have pretty bad motion sickness on planes. The only time I felt a little bit of vertigo was when we were really really high up and I stupidly held my camera over the ledge to look down. That made me feel a bit queasy so I just pulled my hands back in and looked straight ahead!
07/25/2012 12:05
OMG ..this is UNREAL. Looks like a scene crossbred from Jurassic Park and Dr. P's Imagintorium.
08/05/2012 04:17
:) It was very unreal being there. Every time we turned around, we wanted to take a picture!
08/08/2012 00:36
The place looks weird indeed but it's fantastic! It feels like in the movies. Your pictures are amazing too! :)
02/21/2013 11:07
thanks for sharing these photos! that is beautiful country in the background and it looks like you had a blast!
02/25/2013 15:38
We did! It is a simply incredible place.
02/25/2014 00:36
Cappadocia Hot air balloon tour perfect. Number one company Göreme Balloons.
10/11/2014 04:50
230 EUROS - not too shabby. I mean... look at those stunning landscapes!!!!

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