To be honest, I went to Cappadocia for the hot air balloons, the rest of the attractions are just icing on the cake. Although I have listed some Points of Interest, our Cappadocia adventure revolved mainly around the balloons.
So while some may say that you can easily cover the sights in Cappadocia for 2 days, that’s not really my main concern. My goal is to enjoy the hot air balloon at least 4 ways, I knew I wanted to see the balloons from (1) a rooftop in a hotel in Goreme, from (2) a hotel in Uchisar, (3) to ride the hot air balloon and (4) to go chasing the balloons.
The hot air balloons would take flight everyday if it could, however the weather might not be cooperative. So with this in mind, you have to factor in inclement weather thus cancellations. If it were up to me solely and be really fussy about it, I would have stayed there for a week, but as we have other plans, I could only push for 5 days – 4 mornings in Cappadocia, as we arrive midday on our first day.
1. Ride the Hot Air Balloon
De Luxe Balloons
Address: Karağandere, İstiklal Cd. No:59/5, 50350 Ürgüp/Kayseri,
As this was a last minute trip we are unable to book any rides online. When we arrived at Henna Hotel where we are billeted, we talked to Selim the Hotel Manager if he could possibly book a hot air balloon ride for us. The service offered by Selim and his team is above and beyond excellent! They have catered to all our needs & queries patiently, and made everything possible including the hot air balloon ride.
So the next morning we set out for our hot air balloon ride. Jet lagged, lack of sleep, zero caffeine, I woke up at 3:00 am running on pure adrenaline as I prepare to take flight with De Luxe balloons. A van picked us up from our hotel at around 4:30 am. When we reached the launching site we had a light breakfast. After we finished eating, we went out of the van, because seriously the magic starts as soon as they started lighting up those balloons. Already, I cannot contain my excitement.
As soon as our balloon is ready, we were instructed to board. We boarded last, because we wanted to be at the corner of the basket and have a better, unobstructed view because as some of you might know I'm vertically challenged. We might not have the prerogative to choose the type of ride we wanted but I have no complain, and I'd still rate is as a 5 star ride.
What’s even more special about our ride is that our pilot is a kick ass female, Captain Sureya! Prior to taking off, she gave us the do's/dont's and instructions on what to do during landing but honestly, she is sooo smooth, that the launching, ride and landing was so perfect we didn’t have to do anything else apart from enjoy the ride.
Our balloon ride was for an hour or so, and it’s one of the most beautiful hour of my life. Up there feels like another world, a world of hot air balloon fairy tale. While I have probably exclaimed, oh, ah, wow.. several times, there was a quiet serenity up there that you will never experience while in the ground. It's one highlight after another as your eyes feast over the hot air balloons over the unique landscape of Cappadocia… and then as if it couldn’t get any better.. the sun rises, and another surge of heart fluttering moment engulfs you. Some moments you wish would last for eternity, but as fleeting as it was the imprint it leaves in your heart is still for eternity.
After the ride, we were handed our hot air balloon certificates, and enjoyed a glass of champagne with our group and our Captain. We stayed a little bit more as there are still balloons flying over and it just the most enjoyable thing to watch.
On a side note, if you have been following me for a while now, you probably noticed that I always pride myself into being a budget traveler, and you might wonder why I would ride a hot air balloon when its not exactly cheap. To start off, we save money where we can save,
2. Watch the hot air balloon from a roof top hotel in Goreme.
Konak Sk., No. 2 Goreme, Nevsehir
The very first photo I saw from Cappadocia was of a girl on a rooftop watching the hot air balloons. I was enthralled to say the least! It was so dreamy and surreal that I thought it couldn’t have been real. I knew I wanted to be that girl on the rooftop, watching hundreds of balloons hover over me. Suffice it to say,that this is the reason why I wanted to go to Cappadocia and I am not leaving this place until I get to have the same experience lol!
In the beginning, I thought this roof top experience was offered only in one hotel where everybody seems to be going. So when it was fully booked, naturally I thought I'm screwed. But upon checking for hotels, I found that roof top/cave hotels is a 'thing' in Goreme and Uchisar. So we booked with Henna Hotel instead! And I'm glad we did, it was an excellent choice as this hotel is off the charts! I know that when we go back to Cappadocia we are staying here again. Check out Henna Hotel booking here. Impeccable service, breathtaking view, great location, awesome staff. I just loved every minute of our stay here. (And no, this is not sponsored by them, and we didn't get any freebies. We paid for everything. I am just impressed by the service and would like to share this fantastic hotel with you all.)
Overzealous as I am, I nagged my husband to go to the rooftop while it was still dark and really you’d think what’s the point of going there when its still dark, no balloons and you can't even take a photo yet. And yes, most people go on a more decent hour, when all the balloons are already dancing in the air. But apart from being overly enthusiastic, I'm also hopelessly romantic, I want to see the changing lights and landscape.. from the nightlights to the blue hour, to the excitement of finally watching that first balloon. And yes, nothing beats the first sight… you get all tingly, and giddy… much like the first kiss lol.
At some point, we did have to share the sight with other guests. But its very minimal. The great things about cave hotels is that they don’t have hundreds of rooms, and also some guests have different itineraries for the morning. So people normally take turns taking photos, and not just for one shot.. you will have several chances to do it over and over again.
3. Watch the hot air balloon from Uchisar.
Address: Tekeli mah, Eski No.1 50240 Uchisar
Ok, not just any hotel in Uchisar but specifically the Museum Hotel. We kinda broken a travel rule for this experience – which is to not stay in luxury hotel. But then we also have made rules if we are to stay in luxury hotel: One is that we are staying there from check in to check out, and never leaving the hotel premises to make sure we get our money’s worth. Two, the view, the amenities, the service better be worth it money we are paying.
Staying in the Museum Hotel is an experience in itself! Sure it is expensive, but oh well, I cannot be really remorseful as I love every second of our stay there.
Don’t be fooled by the humble entrance that looks austere because once you enter the property you will be in awe. The views, the room, the facilities are all gorgeous that you will not see in a regular modern hotel because as its name connotes, its not only a hotel but a museum as well.
The balloons may be a little bit farther in comparison to Goreme, but the photo spots more than make up for the distance!
There are so many beautiful spots from this place that you can take a photo!
4. Chase the balloons
This is what I failed to do! On the morning that we planned to chase the balloons it got cancelled. Actually, the evening before we asked Selim where the balloon would launch. Which i would suggest that you do too if you plan to chase balloons so you can plan your balloon chase itinerary.
The evening before they would more or less know if the balloons would take flight. Glad we did, because we would have woken up very early and would have ended up disappointed.
Having achieved 3 out of 4 of my goals is totally not bad at all! This just gives me a reason to visit this enchanting place again. And Cappadocia certainly tops the places that I want to revisit.