Witness history from above on a hot air balloon tour in Luxor. You have to wake up very early, around 3:30 in the morning, to enjoy the view from hundreds of meters high over the magical Valley of the Kings.

Balloon rides in Luxor have for decades been one of the most magical ways to soak in the incredible architectural and historical wonders of this city by the Nile. In addition, one of the great things about visiting Luxor by hot air balloon is that it is one of the few places that allow children to participate in the experience of going up in a hot air balloon.

How to book the balloon excursion?

The booking process for your balloon tour in Luxor is very simple, you can do it from the Destinia website. During the booking process, it is important to select your preferred take-off time. The options are 4:30 am, 5:00 am and 5:30 am.

The first hour of departure usually offers the best views of the sunrise, although the views are incredible throughout the experience.

The balloon experience in Luxor

A minibus will pick you up at your hotel or boat and take you to a nearby marina. To reach the excursion area, you will have to cross from the east bank of the Nile to the west bank. There is only one bridge crossing the Nile at Luxor, so many tours use boats to make the crossing, where you will be served a small coffee, tea and juice while the crew gives a safety presentation and briefs you on what to expect on your balloon ride over Luxor.

In a short time you will dock on the west side of the Nile to board another minibus that will head for the Valley of the Kings. The light of dawn will begin to give the sky a rich blue glow as the minibus brings you closer to the launch site, where you will see many flames heating the air inside the balloons, impressive image to photograph.

Luxor balloon launch

The balloons are designed to accommodate a total of 20 passengers. Each compartment can accommodate a maximum of five people and the captain who is located in the center along with the gas cylinders and flame control.

The ride is normally calm with little wind in the area, you won’t even feel the balloon lift off the ground.

The only sign of ascent will be the sight of the ground, which will slowly disappear under our feet.

The history of Luxor from above

As you continue to rise in the balloon, Luxor begins to spread out below you. The first thing you see is the spectacular Valley of the Kings illuminated by the morning sun, you can try to distinguish the location of the incredible tombs that lie just below the surface of the mountain.

Shortly after, you fly over the temple of Queen Hatsheput. Everything that unfolds below you is an absolute spectacle to behold.

When you reach cruising altitude, the balloon will begin to descend. Not abruptly, but fast enough to notice the ground approaching again. A few moments later you will find yourself flying closely over a sugar cane field.

Look down

After passing over the sugar cane plants, the balloon will rise back into the sky. Finally, you will fly over the huge Colossi of Memnon. Shortly after, the balloon convoy will head towards the outskirts of Luxor. The vegetation, fed by the Nile River, gives way again to the harsh desert, where you will begin the final descent.

As the balloon descends, you will see the chase teams on the ground following the balloons. The various ground teams will cover the harsh desert landscape. Their means are motorcycles, vans and even donkeys.

As the wind pushes you in different directions, the teams below adjust and make their way over the hills in order to be at the planned landing sites before your arrival.

Upon reaching the ground, the ground team will quickly take control of the balloon and bring it to a flat spot. Once you land, you will exit the basket so that the ground crew can safely pick up the balloons.

Are balloons safe in Egypt?

On paper, Egypt’s balloon safety record is not the best in the world with three major incidents in the last decades.

However, if you compare this to the thousands of Luxor hot air balloons that take off each week, the number of incidents is barely a fraction of a percentage of all flights (as they say, it’s much more dangerous to travel by car).

As always, the recommendation is to hire a reputable agency. Do your research beforehand and make sure the company you choose to fly with has a good track record, responds to feedback and has good reviews.

How much do balloon rides in Egypt cost?

Egypt is one of the most economical ballooning destinations in the world. Balloon rides range in price from 75 to 150 euros. You can also save money by combining your balloon ride in Luxor with a visit to the Luxor archaeological sites.

There are so many flight schedules, which one should I choose?

You will have to wake up between 3:30 and 4:00 in the morning. You may think it is too early, but you will not regret having chosen a sunrise excursion.

Excursions usually depart between 4:00 and 5:00 a.m., depending on the time of year. We recommend that you research the sunrise times on the date you visit Luxor.

Make sure that the departure time of the excursion is about 30 minutes earlier. In addition to the magical views of the temples and Valley of the Kings, sunrise balloon rides are more comfortable and also usually last longer. When the desert air warms, so does the wind. This can lead to shorter flights and rougher landings.

Is it possible to take photos on a Luxor balloon ride?

There are some interesting rules around photography on balloon rides over Luxor. The Egyptian military does not like people photographing military bases. The general rule is “do not take photos near military bases”. And if you land near the bases, hide your cameras. Better not to risk it. Normally the captain lets you know when it is safe to photograph and when it is not advisable. So don’t hesitate to ask.

What about tips?

Like everything else in Egypt, there are tips for the Luxor balloon experience. That said, there is no need to tip the captain.

Instead, the money normally collected before landing is for the hard-working ground crew. These people are as responsible for your safety as the captain, and when you land, you’ll see how hard they work. It is advisable to reserve a few Egyptian pounds for them.

What should I bring on my Luxor hot air balloon ride?

The temperature can drop a lot during the nights, and even more when it rises into the sky. Be sure to bring warm clothes for the balloon ride.

Pictures of the balloon ride over Luxor

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