A hot air balloon flight in Luxor is worth every cent. It is also worth waking up (very) early. We were skeptical, even a bit scared, before arriving at the balloon flight center. However, as soon as we started being lifted into the air, it was awesome.
This post gives you all the details about the Luxor Balloon Flight experience. This post is entirely based on our adventures as we visited Luxor in November 2022. We walk you through the experience and give you some essential tips, dos and don’ts. If you want to pay a fair price, and don’t get hustled, book it yourself online! More about that later.
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Booking a hot air balloon flight in Luxor
Booking a hot air balloon flight is easy. You can basically book it anywhere at any time. Our hotel, cruise boat, bar staff, and basically any guide or taxi driver offered us the hot air balloon flight. The price was different every single time. That is why we recommend booking your trips and excursions in advance and online. We can recommend booking your trip either through Viator, owned by Tripadvisor or the fast growing booking company GetYourGuide.com
We recommend booking the hot air balloon flight with your hotel, cruise boat, or online. Book it through an organization you can hold accountable if something goes wrong. With something going wrong, we mean you don’t get conned, not the safety of the very safe air balloons.
Egypt is the land of hustle, deals, and earning commissions. That makes booking the right hot air balloon experience for the right price a challenge. Prices vary heavily; whoever you book it with will earn a nice commission.
How much is a Luxor hot air balloon flight?
Everybody we asked offered a different price for the hot air balloon ride. The price varied between USD 80, which we found online, and USD 130, which one of our guides swore was the regular and cheapest price on the market. The online price of 80 USD will be the more regular price. You can find some cheaper experiences online, but some of those come with not-so-great ratings8
How does a Luxor hot air balloon ride work?
There are a few simple parts of your Luxor hot air balloon experience. After you book your dates, expect to wake up early and get ready to be transferred to the departure site / Luxor hot air balloon center. From there, you take your flight.
- Hotel transfer to Nile West Bank (4 AM)
- Boat to Nile West Bank, including coffee, tea, and a small snack
- Transfer to Hot Air Balloon Flight center
- Take off: Hot Air Balloon Flight departure from the flight center (5:30 AM)
- Hot Air Balloon Landing in a nearby field (06:15 AM)
- Transfer back to the Nile West Bank
- Boat to Nile East Bank
- Transfer back to your hotel or cruise ship (06:40 AM)
Alternatively, you can also start a day tour of Luxor after landing. If you choose to do so, the hot air balloon personnel will hand you over to your guide in one of the nearby restaurants.
The start of your hot air balloon ride in Luxor
You start your hot air balloon experience by waking up very early. All balloon rides take place just before sunrise. That means that before the sun rises, you need to wake up, be transferred by car and boat to the hot air balloon flight center, and be in the air before the sun comes up. Expect your alarm clock to be set from 3 AM to 3:30 AM.
Your guide will pick you up and accompany you to and from the hot air balloon. You will be picked up in a minivan and brought to a ship waiting for you on the east side of the river. You will not be alone. Expect dozens of buses and boats with about 10-15 people on them each. It will feel like a mass tourism experience until you get into your balloon.
On the boat, you will get safety instructions while you (can) enjoy basic coffee, tea, and a small snack. In our case, the small snack was Twinkies. The safety instructions are all about landing in case something goes wrong. Although it is very unlikely you will need these instructions, we have seen multiple videos of ‘hard landings’ on social media. So, listen carefully to how to take your landing position and hope not having to use it. According to our pilot, the vast majority of flights (95% is what he said) won’t need the landing position. But of course, they prepare you for the worst and hope for the best.
After a short river crossing, things will start to give you a ‘mass tourism vibe.’ On the other side of the river, countless minivans will be waiting to rush you to the hot air balloon center.
Things get magical quickly
Once you arrive at the hot air balloon center, you need to closely follow your guide. There is lots of activity at the site: dozens of large hot air balloon crews getting balloons ready to go. It is hectic; people are trying to sell you souvenirs, and a film crew is documenting your experience. It will be loud and colorful. But while it can be a bit chaotic, it is a magical experience.
The flames of the burners will light up the balloons against a sky that is still dark. The colors of the balloons will amaze you, and after some awkward filming activities, you will now enter your balloon. Entering your balloon means climbing into the basket. Although there are some steps, flying a hot air balloon will be a challenging experience for non-mobile people. We have seen many older people being helped into the basket, which seemed to go smoothly.
Taking off in your hot air balloon
The basket underneath the hot air balloon is made of comportments. Each compartment will have a capacity of three or four people. As a couple, we shared our box with another couple. You will have enough space to make two rows. One front row with clear views down and one behind, which is a bit better for those who are afraid of heights.
Once the balloon has enough hot air inside, ground staff will let go of the balloon, and you will gently be lifted into the air. Taking off in a hot air balloon is very gentle and peaceful. If you would close your eyes, you wouldn’t even notice it; it is that smooth.
After take-off, the balloon starts ascending quickly. The other hot air balloons will be a joy for your eyes and make very Instagram-worthy images. By now, it will be around 05:30 AM, and the sun is slowly lightening up the lands around you.
Luxor Hot Air Balloon Flying experience
The entire flight is very smooth. We lifted off from the Luxor Hot Air Balloon Flying Center. We quickly flew east towards the Hatshepsut Temple. We had a beautiful view of the Hatshepsut temple and the Valley of the Queens from the air. We even got a glimpse of the Valley of the Kings on the other side of the mountain.
After flying considerable time (almost) over the Hatshepsut Temple, we went further up in the air. We flew towards the fields surrounding the area. We floated in the sky for about 15 to 20 minutes and had beautiful birds-eye views of the Nile, Luxor, and the other hot air balloons.
Landing the hot air balloon in the fields near Luxor
Unfortunately, the great experience had to come to an end. After a while, we could see the first hot air balloons landing in the fields. We could see ground crews being bused into the area where balloons landed, assisting the pilot during the landing process. Buses that would eventually carry the balloon’s passengers back to their hotels quickly followed the ground crew.
After seeing multiple balloons land, it was our time to set our feet on the ground again. The pilot slowly lowered the balloon and announced that we would need the landing position. The landing would be a smooth one. There was an empty field between sugar cane fields where our ground crew was already waiting for us.
The landing procedure was extremely smooth. The balloon was held by a crew of around ten people, and the local farmers seemed pleased that the pilot didn’t disturb any sugar cane. Meanwhile, local children, some of whom were on donkeys, were looking to do some business off the tourists arriving from the sky. They gathered around the balloon, asking for money or breakfast packages from cruise boats or hotels.
Transfer back to our cruise boat
After landing, things were smoothly organized. The minivan that brought us to the hot air balloon had now arrived at the landing site. We hopped on the bus and were quickly transported back to the banks of the river Nile. We hopped on a boat that dropped us off at our cruise boat.
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Overall experience: is a hot air balloon ride in Luxor worth it?
Yes! The hot air balloon ride in Luxor was worth it. It was worth the money and worth the early wake-up call. Although we were skeptical and a bit scared before we took off, we enjoyed every moment. It gave us an excellent new perspective of the area we visited the day before. The pictures we could take from the other balloons in this setting were breathtaking.
The experience wasn’t scary. The hot air balloons were safe, and the staff in Luxor was friendly and answered all possible questions. If we were to revisit Luxor, we would again book a hot air balloon experience.
Frequently asked questions about Luxor Hot Air Balloon Rides
Before we decided to take the hot air balloon ride in Luxor, we had many questions. Here we try to answer some of the questions we had before taking flight.
What should you wear on a Luxor hot air balloon ride?
The hot air balloon ride takes place in the early morning. We recommend checking the weather the evening before you go. We wore long loose trousers and a sweater which made the experience comfortable: not too hot or cold. We also recommend bringing sunglasses to your hot air balloon ride.
Can I take my camera on board the hot air balloon?
Professional cameras, including GoPro’s, aren’t allowed. Smaller cameras and smartphones can be taken on board your flight. Larger lenses or professional-looking equipment cannot be taken on board.
What does a Luxor Hot Air Balloon Ride Cost?
Costs vary heavily depending on where you book it. In our experience, you will find the best prices when you book online. We recommend booking your hot air balloon ride either through GetYourGuide or Viator. Prices may vary, but unless you book an extra expensive VIP package, the experience will be the same. Based on our experience, you should expect prices of around 70 USD.
What are the best Hot Air Balloon Rides in Luxor?
We recommend booking an hot air balloon ride that you can cancel up to 24 hours in advance. This is the best consumer protection you can get and is offered through GetYourGuide. The experience includes everything described in this post and currently costs around USD 80. You can find the best hot air ballon ride on GetYourGuide.com.
What is the capacity of a Luxor hot air balloon?
The standard hot air balloon fits 28 passengers. Passengers are divided into compartments that fit either three or four passengers. Every hot air balloon is operated by a single pilot.
At what time is the hot air balloon ride in Luxor?
The hot air balloon experience in Luxor will start around 4 AM. This will be the time that you will be picked up from your hotel, resort, or cruise boat. It will take some time to get into the air. The flight will start just before sunset at around 05:30 AM.
How long does the Hot Air Balloon Ride in Luxor Take?
The total excursion length will be around three hours. This will include transfers, boat rides, time spent at the departure and landing side, and time in the air. Actual flying time in the hot air balloon will be approximately 45 minutes.