Way Up in the Sky Above Kuala Lumpur

As a resident of Kuala Lumpur, Sunday mornings can be pretty boring with either a choice of driving to some faraway place to sample the local gastronomic delights or exerting energy through a hike or run in a nearby park. Last Sunday, I discovered something new that did involve eating, some physical exertion and best of all, flying.

On the first Sunday of each month, a Ballooning Crew Workshop is held at Taman Tasik Titiwangsa, a lovely lake in the middle of the city. There’s a lot of morning activity going on there every Sunday, a mass aerobics session and lots of families walking or jogging around the lake. Now they can add blowing up a giant balloon to the list.

It’s organised by a company Sky Events Sdn Bhd, and for a small fee, I learnt how to assemble and inflate a hot air balloon. We met our very intelligent and friendly pilot Feisal who briefed us on the physics of hot air ballooning, followed by the safety aspects. Safety is a very important area when it comes to this sport. After the theory session, it was time to get physical.

All participants helped to carry their fair share of equipment to the field and set it up following Feisal’s instructions. Being a newbie, I spent more time observing the setup. Watching the balloon inflate before my eyes with the occasional bursts of flames from the machine was an amazing sight. Soon, the balloon started going vertical and before I knew it, it was ready for our rides.

It was not a very large balloon so the basket could only fit in a maximum of 6 people, and that’s pretty packed. I climbed into the basket and slowly but surely, I saw the ground getting further and further away as I flew up, up and away. What a beautiful sight it was, as I viewed the the beautiful Kuala Lumpur city skyline from 50m above ground. Click, click, went the cameras around me.

What goes up, must come down and after about 10 minutes, we slowly descended to the ground. Once all the rides were over, the next section was learning to deflate the balloon so that it would fit back into the little van it came in. Turns out the top of the balloon separates and after the hot air escapes, the giant balloon will quickly deflate and fall back to the ground. Next was the fun part, rolling around on the balloon to get all the air out before rolling and packing.

After feeling like I had run a 10km route (yes, it was pretty tiring), the workshop came to an end. We made our way to the edge of the field and were rewarded with a scrumptious breakfast. of local breakfast delicacies.

What can I say? The whole experience was worth the 6:30am wake up call (even if it’s on a Sunday!). It’s a great way to get a full body workout, make new friends and still have the rest of Sunday to relax.

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