I think I have a fear of heights.
When did I figure that out?
When I was shitting my pants in a hot air balloon flying 10,000 feet above ground. Actually I don’t know how high up we were, I just know it was fucking high.
Like how high?
Like above the mountains high.
That’s when my life zoomed before my eyes. This is what happens before death (or how I imagine it).
I was really scared.
But we still went ahead with this activity…because this was on life boss’ bucket list.
And what life boss wants, life boss gets.
But have you ever wondered how they work? Are they safe?
Well I am a bit curious, so let’s do some learning!
What is hot air ballooning?
But this shit held together. After 15 minutes of non stop pumping, the balloon was on its way to the skies (and not to the ground thank god!)
A hot air balloon is well, a balloon filled with hot air.
No shit Choi.
What happens is that there is a flame that provides the heat that goes into the balloon. This makes the balloon float because the air inside the balloon has a lower density than the colder air outside. The balloon itself is made of nylon fabric that is fire resistant (I should have read about this before going on the balloon).
But yeah, this makes sense. I saw these guys put a damn flame in the balloon and I was like damn, this shit is going to come apart.
Is it safe?
Yes. The biggest question that was running through my mind when I was on the balloon.
It didn’t help that I was in Laos, an the hot air balloon was operated by a Chinese Operator.
Shit. These guys are notorious for cutting corners and making sure they make the most profits. Add to the fact that we are in Laos, they probably can do whatever the fuck they want. We did not get any safety briefing beforehand, so yeah you know this is going to be some sketch ass experience. AND there was about 8 people squished into the cart so yeah….I was scared.
Sigh. Chinese Operator…why life boss why.
Doing a quick search on google, the risks of riding a hot air balloon is the same as going on a airplane, or going on a cruise. There are risks, but these risks are mitigated depending on the training of the person flying it (the Chinese operator……) and the quality of the balloon (owned by a Chinese operator…).
Regardless, it seems like hot air ballooning is safe (even in Laos).
What if you have a fear of heights?
Well just read the above. This thing is safe as fuck.
And as life boss tells me, “Man up you little girl!”.
But if you still have doubts…just read the next section.
Was it worth it?
Even though I was pissing my pants the entire time, I must say it was worth it. Not for the ride itself, but for the photos you will be able to take. So make sure you fucking go to a nice place, otherwise you pissed your pants for nothing.
We did this in Vang Vieng, and damn look at these photos:
Even though I did not enjoy the ride itself, looking back at these photos this was well worth it.
So maybe I should give more props to Vang Vieng instead.
In the end this was fun.
Apparently Hot Air Ballooning in Laos is one of the cheapest ones you can get in the world. But what you get for price you give in safety and comfort.
I think next time (if I do it again) I would go for a private hot air balloon ride, just so that I can relax and take in the scenery in peace.
Note – the fucking chinese company made us wait for 2 hours (1 hour late to pick us up, 1 hour to get the balloon ready). So prepare for this shit if you do it in Vang Vieng.
Written from Koh Samui, Nora Buri Resort on May 22, 2018