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For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni
For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni 

Things to do in India

The hot air balloon ride with a red-carpet arrival

People in their hundreds rush out to greet you as if you’re a celebrity…

By Samit Garg
CEO and Co-founder of E-Factor Experiences

Did you know that a hot air balloon is the second most photographed image after a celebrity? Who wouldn’t want to hop in? It’s a bucket-list dream because it’s a rare activity yet everyone’s heard so much about it – the awesome landscapes, the monuments, the world’s greatest feats seen at their best away from crowds. 

The most memorable balloon safaris are judged on three criteria. The first and most important is health and safety – companies like ours take the time to make sure everything is ship shape and safe to a T. What people don’t know is that even before the stunning vistas, a lot of work goes on behind the scenes from assembly to inflation.

The second is location. It’s hard to beat hot air balloon rides in Turkey, over the African Serengeti and at eye level with Egypt’s pyramids but Jaipur offers something entirely unique. When you take off, the first 15 minutes is the most exhilarating. You see great heritage monuments such as the Hawa Mahal, Samode Palace and Amber Fort become smaller and smaller amid the sea of pink buildings until you become ‘part’ of the atmosphere. We then sail over ridges, valleys, hills and farmland watching the landscape transform into rural countryside. No two balloon flights are the same since we fly where the wind takes us. The angle, photographic scenes – it’s quite therapeutic – as you just sit in the basket 2,000 ft above the ground in serene silence. 

As you approach your landing spot, the balloon flies low over the villages so close that you can chat to residents in passing as they wave excitedly from their roofs, inviting you for tea. This is where the third defining moment comes in – what makes ballooning in Jaipur stand out from the rest. For us, it’s when you land and the three to five hundred local people greet you enthusiastically, making you feel like somewhat of a celebrity. There are all these smiling faces around you with so much positive energy, it’s like nothing you’ve experienced before. The balloon ride lasts about an hour, but the memories will stay with you forever.


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Alfred & Samit Garg

With Skywaltz Balloon Safari, Samit brought commercial hot air ballooning to India which until 2008 seemed like an impossible feat to achieve. Skywaltz today is the largest ballooning brand in the country. He has since developed events from the Pushkar Fair, Rajasthan to the Champions Boat League in Kerala to name but a few of the heritage experiences he has thrust into the limelight. He is passionate about bringing India’s cultural traditions to the forefront of modern tourism.

Plan your holiday withAlfred&

Your journey will start with one of our UK team – someone like Malcolm, who's travelled extensively in India. They’ll shape your ideas into the trip of a lifetime. But they won't do it alone. They'll draw on the expertise of our contacts on the ground, connecting you to the people who'll make your holiday one you'll always remember.

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