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Imagine floating so close to the ground that you can enjoy the desert views and spot wildlife, while being high enough to appreciate the tranquillity of being up in the air – if you have never been on a hot air balloon before and live in the UAE, this experience in Ras Al Khaimah is a must-do.

This is just one of the many experiences that have given Ras Al Khaimah the title of being the adventure capital of the UAE. You can also attempt skydives, get on the world’s longest zipline, or try aerobatic flights in the emirate - making it perfect for adrenaline lovers.

The hot air balloon ride is apt for those who prefer a more laid-back vibe and offers just enough thrill to make the flight enjoyable. We recently tried the experience offered by Action Flight Adventures, which is included in the directory of activities under the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism and Development Authority (RAKTDA).

Hot Air Balloon ride in RAK
The balloon route each day is determined by weather conditions, and based on the route you’ll either get views of mangroves, deserts and wadis, or the sea and Al Marjan Island

Early pickup

The day of the flight started quite early as I had to head to Ras Al Khaimah from Dubai. The organizer offers UAE-wide transport at an extra cost of Dh100 to Dh200 per person, while transport within Ras Al Khaimah is free.

I got to the pickup point (ENOC – Al Hamra Mall) at around 5 am. You could also get free pickup from the hotel if staying in Ras Al Khaimah. Once there, the pilot and crew gave the group a safety briefing and guided us through the process of boarding the basket.

Before getting into the basket, we had to wear provided safety harness belts as an added precaution. Once everyone was on board, the burner was ignited filling up the colourful envelope with hot air and we were afloat!

Hot Air balloon ride: Breathtaking views from above.
You'll be able to enjoy a magnificent desert sunrise when the balloon takes off

One-hour flight over the desert

As you soar above the golden dunes, you'll be captivated by the vastness and beauty of the desert below. To me, the world below seemed to shrink in size.

The balloon route each day is determined by weather conditions, and based on the route you’ll either get views of mangroves, deserts and wadis, or the sea and Al Marjan Island. You may also get a chance to see wildlife in the desert, such as foxes, oryx, camels, and wild donkeys.

We spotted a number of oryx in the desert. The sensation of floating in the air was surreal. As the group enjoyed the flight the silence was broken only by the occasional blast of the burner, sending warm air into the colourful envelope above us.

As the flight came to an end, the pilot guided the balloon down for a gentle landing on the desert floor.

Balloon ride in RAK
We spotted a number of oryx in the desert Image Credit: Supplied

As we descended, I couldn't help but reflect on the sheer magic of the experience. For someone who has a fear of heights, this trip was out of my comfort zone but turned out to be magical and memorable.

The crew will assist the pilot in deflating the balloon, and help everyone get off. The experience ends with a breakfast for the guests at the Tower Links Golf Club facility. We also got to interact with falcons during breakfast.

Hot Air Balloon ride
At the end of the balloon flight, guests get to enjoy a falcon interaction followed by a breakfast spread


If you’re visiting from another emirate, arrange transport accordingly. Action Flight Adventures offers return transport at Dh100 per person (Dubai, Sharjah, Fujairah, Ajman and Umm Al Quwain) or Dh200 per person (Al Ain and Abu Dhabi).

As a resident with your own car, we would suggest driving to the pickup point and parking your car there, so you can drive back after the experience.


Anyone aged four and above can enjoy the experience but children must be accompanied by adult ticket-holders.

Guests must wear comfortable clothing and close-toed shoes. Dresses and/or skirts are not ideal. You can carry sunglasses and a hat. Guests must use the toilet before pickup as the launch site does not have toilet facilities.

Hot Air Balloon ride in RAK
Plan to spend at least 3 to 4 hours for the experience, from the time of pickup

Booking, availability and costs

Plan to spend at least 3 to 4 hours for the experience, from the time of pickup. The flight duration is around one hour. The pickup location and time will be given once a booking is made online. You must show a soft copy of your passport or Emirates ID at pickup.

The adult balloon flight experience including breakfast costs Dh1,199 per person, while for children the cost is Dh1,099 per person. This rate does not include transport from outside Ras Al Khaimah.

You can book now for experiences starting from September 20. The season will continue until May 31, 2024.