Cappadocia Balloon Rides in Turkey [Travel Destination]

By Lili Lengkana | 06, Mar, 2018
Cappadocia Balloon Rides in Turkey [Travel Destination]

Picture Credit - instagram.com/moonsilvershine

Cappadocia or Kappadokya is one of the most visited regions in Turkey. It is the only one place in the world where tourists can experience a breathtaking hot air balloon ride throughout the year; this attraction is only closed in the event of adverse weather conditions, which rarely happens. The year-long availability cannot be experienced in other balloon rides around the world, which gives tourists here flexibility and convenience for their travel schedule.


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To reach Cappadocia from Istanbul, you can take either land or air transportation. If you choose land transportation, you can either rent a car and drive there yourself, or you can go by tour bus, widely available from tour operators, or from Main Otogar (main bus terminal) in Istanbul. You can check these with your hotel or, by visiting tour operators' offices all over the city centre. However, if you choose land transportation to Cappadocia, be prepared for a long journey; the journey from Istanbul to Goreme in Cappadocia region takes somewhere between 7-9 hours via Ankara, the capital of Turkey. Furthermore, if you plan to rent a car to drive to Cappadocia from Istanbul, you have to be prepare for the fuel costs, as the petrol cost in Turkey is among the most expensive in the world.

The alternative is to travel by air. From Istanbul you can find local flights to Kayseri from Sabiha Gokcen Airport, then continue from Kayseri by taxi to Goreme, or if you book the flight from tour operators in Istanbul, they will offer a pick up service in Kayseri Airport. If you have booked your hotel in Goreme in advance, they will also provide an airport pick-up service from Kayseri Airport. By the way, this flight will take only one hour. Flying to Kayseri is not necessarily more expensive than land transport if you can find offers on local Turkish air carriers. Therefore, planning ahead of your journey is highly recommended.

Once you arrive in Kayseri Airport, or in Goreme, you can choose from many hot air balloon operators there, as hot air ballooning is available from Goreme. Alternatively, you can book it in advance from one of the travel operators in Istanbul, but the price difference will be much higher. You will find better deals if you book it directly yourself. This is also true for the other bookings in your travel, such as transportation (land and air), and hotels. Thus, the most efficient way is by booking everything with one of the halal tour agents, and they will get everything arranged for you ahead of your travel.

Why has Cappadocia become famous in the world for hot air balloon experiences? The main reason is the beautiful landscape of Cappadocia - it has a rocky landscape with the world-famous Fairy Chimney rock formations all over the large swathe it occupies. Cappadocia with its Mesa Verde mountain-mixed-with-a-valley resembles the scenery in a fairytale kingdom.

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The fairy chimney structures are formed by an ancient volcanic eruption approximately 9 to 3 million years ago, and then shaped by erosion that formed hundreds of magnificent chimneys, pillars and minaret-like forms. When you are up in the sky in your balloon basket, you will be mesmerised with the scenic view and also with the view of hundreds other balloons flying together into the blasting sunrise, prompting your heart to be filled with total amazement and gratitude to Allah, the Lord of the Universe, by this magnificent experience.

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Furthermore, the hot air balloon ride will also enable you to view beautiful small villages with, the towering minarets of their local Masjids at the centre of each village, river valleys and wondrous cliffs. It is indeed a wonderful and unique experience in comparison to other hot air balloon attractions in other parts of the world where you can only view the usual mountains, greenery, rivers or farms.

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There are several points to note if you want to experience hot air ballooning in Cappadocia. Firstly, you have to stay at least one night in Goreme since hot air balloons usually take off very early in the morning, at about 5:00-5:30 am just before dawn, depending on the season. This means that you must wake up, wash up, get dressed and be ready to be picked up by the hot air balloon operators from your place accommodation before dawn. This early start is a must, since the wind conditions are best around sunrise. Not to worry though, the hotel staff will assist you with a wake up call, and the balloon operators of your choice will pick you up at your hotel to go to their office, where you will be provided with refreshments, coffee and tea before you head down to the take-off site with other passengers. With regard to the length of your stay, since hot air balloon rides are weather-dependent, it would be better if you can spend a few days in Goreme in case the weather changes unfavourably and your balloon ride is cancelled. In case this happens, the balloon operators will offer you a full refund or a rescheduling, which is why spending a few days in Goreme will enable to you to reschedule to a different day.

Secondly, for the weather, you have to be prepared with suitable clothing. Wear a windproof jacket as the early morning temperature in the valley can be quite cold and windy. The balloon ride operators will brief you on the safety procedure, and the do's and don'ts of the balloon ride in their office and at the take-off site prior to take off. Be sure to also wear comfortable shoes, as you'll be on your feet for the duration of the ride.

Thirdly, in regard to flight duration, a balloon ride in Cappadocia can last anywhere between 45 minutes to 1.5 hours depending on the tour operators and the flight option that you choose, whether it's a standard or deluxe flight. A standard flight will take you up in the air for about 45-65 minutes, and with more passengers in the basket. On the other hand, a deluxe flight normally lasts about 1.5-2 hours, and with less passengers in the basket. Again, the exact duration and number of passengers will depend on each balloon operators, so you have to choose wisely. If you don't like turbulence in your air flight, the good news is that the balloon flights are usually very smooth and turbulence-free, so you won't have to worry about this at all. Moreover, regardless of the balloon operator that you choose, they will usually treat you upon landing with fizzy drinks and a slice of cakes, where you can opt for the non-alcoholic sparkling apple juice. Afterward, they will hand you with a certificate to commemorate the event. All of them also offer you the option of purchasing the DVD that they recorded during your flights, which they will deliver to your hotel shortly after. They will then take care of your transportation back to your hotel after your ride so you needn't worry about this. Your hotel will usually provide you with delicious Turkish breakfast buffet after you are back at the hotel, however it's best to check with your hotel whether this is the case.

The hot air balloon in Cappadocia is a truly, once-in-a-life-time experience, and it is guaranteed to be one of the best times of your life. Another plus if you stay in Goreme, is that you can experience the unique sensations of staying in a cave hotel, where you will stay in the hotel where the rooms are the former houses carved inside the above-mentioned fairy chimneys of Cappadocia. A long time ago, the people settling in Cappadocia carved the rocky hills and fairy chimneys and built their houses inside there. Many of these ancient houses have now been changed into hotels small and large, so you'll have many options of which hotel to stay in. The unique features of these cave hotels are that the temperature of the cave adapts to the surrounding environment in such a way that when the temperature is cold outside the cave, the temperature inside the cave is quite warm, while if it's hot outside, the cave inside will have a cool temperature. This is due to the natural physics of the stone cave. When you have time to do trekking and hiking activities in Cappadocia, also one of the prominent tourist activities there, you'll also find lots of abandoned cave houses that you could explore during your journey.

Besides hot air ballooning and trekking/hiking, you can also explore Cappadocia's underground city. What does it mean? With its unique rocky structures, Cappadocia also has a secret network of underground tunnels, so you can also experience a thrilling adventure of exploring the underground cave tunnel of Cappadocia.

Another fun activity whilst you are in Cappadocia is a clay pottery class trial and clay pottery exhibition. You can learn how to make a handmade clay piece of pottery with an expert, and afterward purchase many handmade clay souvenirs there, ranging from artistic pieces to household clay ceramics with a reasonable price. You could also visit many Turkish carpet manufacturers in Cappadocia, but be prepared to face the prices - the Turkish carpets made here are very expensive due to their high quality and beautiful design. A tip for the souvenir collectors: if you are looking for must-have small souvenirs from Cappadocia such as souvenir plates, fridge magnets, keychains, t-shirts, snowglobes or ceramic ornaments, you can find these at bargain prices sold by street vendors in small markets near tourist attractions. If you shop for these at the clay pottery workshops or carpet manufacturers, expect to pay more.

All in all, a Cappadocian adventure is surely not one to be missed from your travel bucket list!


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A mother of two, travel aficionado and a bookworm