Visitors enjoy hot air balloon festival in Vietnam

As April drew to a close, visitors to the ancient city of Hue in Vietnam were entertained by the city’s third annual hot air balloon festival.

While some enjoyed the colourful balloons, one of which depicted an octopus, from the ground, others chose to take a hot air balloon ride over the historic city or enjoy a more economical tethered ascent.

The central city of Hue is the former capital of Vietnam, with the seat of power having moved to Hanoi in 1945. Its imperial tombs and ancient pagodas attract over four million people every year. It also boasts an extensive stone citadel where Vietnam’s former emperors ruled from. During the Vietnam War, Hue experienced one of the bloodiest and longest battles of the war, and the damage is still apparent in the stone citadel.

A festival organiser, Vo Ngoc Ha, expressed a hope that the Vietnamese people would increasingly embrace hot air ballooning. This view was backed up by Wout Bakker, a Dutch pilot who has attended every year since 2017. He said:

“Vietnam has good potential because more and more tourists are coming and also local people — they have money to take flights, so it is building up.”

Visitors to the city are usually limited to seeing the sights from the ground, either on foot or from Vietnam’s iconic cycle rickshaws. The opportunity to get an aerial view of the city from a hot air balloon therefore gives a new and unique experience.

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