My sister makes her annual trip to India from the UK every spring, and whenever we’re planning her vacay (with my awesome nephews) we mull over where to go and what to do next. So imagine my delight when I discovered that not only is the Fairmont Jaipur one of the MOST outstandingly beautiful hotels to visit in India, they can hook you up with these guys who offer hot air balloon rides over the pink city! #Winning
(Apologies for the delay on posting this blog btw, I’m in the middle of writing my first book, mission: 50,000 words; so far? I’ve made it to 31,450. Wish me luck :) And till I’m ready to reveal the story of my life, take a peek into a beautiful vacation I took with my family to warm and fuzzy Jaipur and tell me you’re going to try floating around in the sky in a hot air balloon. I “high”ly recommend it :P)
So where should you stay? Without a doubt the Fairmont Jaipur. It’s absolutely beyootiful!
My favourite part? The housekeeping staff have taken it upon themselves to make every visitor feel some sort of unanticipated delight! From creating elaborate chocolate treats to your liking…
To (and this is my absolute FAVOURITE) fashioning towel animals every time they make up your room. They made this one to match my nephew Michel’s stuffed elephant who often travels with him.
I mean, c’mon! How utterly cute is that?! Of course, if you wander around the city you’re bound to run into the real deal as well! *cue Jungle Book song*…
Then there’s that pool. That all kinds of epic pool! (Floaties not included, but I highly recommend you pick one up and laze the day away on your own little raft.)
Or join the boys for some boomerang shenanigans!
But let’s get to it! You’re going to have to get up at the crack of dawn for this but its totally worth it! A company called Sky Waltz (great name btw) offers what they call a “Balloon Safari experience”. (In fact, they have one right here in Lonavala too! Check more destinations here.)
The minimum age requirement to take a flight is 5 and your Sky Waltz Balloon Safari Experience includes:
- Pre-flight activity: Pickup from Common Meeting Point (Hotel Orritel, Talegaon) A short safety briefing, along with tea/coffee and light refreshments at the launch site.
- Duration of flight: Approximately 60 minutes (+/- 15 minutes) of flight time.
- Post-flight activity: First Flight Certificate. Guests are free to stay for as long as they would like after the Balloon has landed, in which they have the option to interact with local villagers and watch the Balloon being deflated. (You might really enjoy this because the locals have followed your entire flight from the ground and waved and smiled non stop!)
Don’t forget to take your iPhone, cameras and Go Pros to document the journey. I only wish I had planted someone on the ground to capture my takeoff! But here I am just casually chilling on my balloon basket before takeoff!
And this is where Nowshad thought I was taking a selfie but I was actually shooting THIS!
But since @nrizwanu has better Instagram game than anyone I’ve ever met, I’ll show you his version as well!
The view from your front row basket is serene and thought-provoking. Glimpses of every-day village life are charming and picturesque.
I for one never knew that the farmers are so well organized and clearly have just as much OCD as I do!
And there’s something about a floating sunrise that just feels… right.
The ride is calm and the pilot right out of the movies. I asked him what made him want to fly a hot air balloon and he said, “my friend and I bought the balloon first, then I learnt to fly it.” Amazing. Remind me to pick up that chopper on the way home.
Oh, and if you’re worried about the turbulence, don’t be. It’s a pretty smooth ride from my experience. Take off and landing is what you’d imagine gravity boots would feel like. (Or maybe that’s just me imagining gravity boots, but whatever). The only thing is they don’t actually ever know which direction the winds will take you or where you’ll land so a convoy of cars follow the balloon around so you have a ride home!
So yeah, 100% recommend it! Especially if you have kids. The whole experience is different and kinda cool.
Couple other things you can do in Jaipur that we tried; the sound & light show at Amer Fort. But I’ll be honest with you, it’s pretty underwhelming. Albeit voiced by Amitabh Bachchan, it lacks a visual element (like shadow puppetry perhaps?) that would really bring the rich history to life.
But you MUST visit Jantar Mantar! A collection of 19 architectural astronomical instruments, built by the Rajput king Sawai Jai Singh II featuring the world’s largest stone sundial.
It’s incredible that back in 1734 CE someone had the aptitude to build an observatory of instruments that measure time, predict eclipses, track the location of major stars as the earth orbits around the sun and do all kinds of crazy things. Deffy get a guide to take you through it. Then look for your zodiac sign and pose for a picture!
And there you go! Let me know if you need any more info, I’ll be happy to help :) Find me on social media @MissMalini xoxo