Around peninsular Malaysia in a balloon

  • Launching of the balloon
  • Balloon trips locations
  • Balloon up in the air
  • During the sisters training in Spain
  • Representing Malaysia in Hat Yai International Balloon festival
  • The sisters above the clouds

A bird’s eye view is literally what you’re going to get this September as the first expedition will be launched to discover Peninsular Malaysia from a hot air balloon! This new endeavour will take flight this coming September, brainchild of non other than the nation’s first female hot air balloon pilots, Izzati and Atiqah Khairudin.

The Balloon Sisters

Representing Malaysia in Hat Yai International Balloon festival

Representing Malaysia in Hat Yai International Balloon festival

Izzati and Atiqah are the heart and soul of AKA Balloon Sdn Bhd, organiser of the Putrajaya and Penang International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta. The self dubbed ‘Balloon Sisters’ decided to embark on this journey after having completed their private hot air ballooning licence last November in Spain.

Chasing Winds

In an effort to explore new places to fly in Peninsular Malaysia, the sisters first stop will be in Putra- jaya, the East Coast region, a few states in the North and Johore before ending their tour in Malacca. “Every state offers a different sight. In Putrajaya we fly above architectural beauties while in Kedah and Perlis we are surrounded by lush green paddy fields as far as the eye can see.” says Atiqah excitedly.

The best place for a balloon to fly is a flat area, with easy access for their chase crew to retrieve them once they land. Of course, another thing to keep in mind is to not get in the way of the air- planes! At each state there are many stages of preparations to go through, especially when selecting their flying area. Weather forecast and wind directions are crucial elements that influence the successfulness and feasibility of their flights.

These days they find themselves constantly gazing upwards towards the sky staring at the clouds and observing the breeze. “If it’s a good day to fly a kite, it’s a bad day to fly a balloon!” jokes Izzati. It may sound funny but unfortunately it is very true.

Paying it Forward

Balloon up in the air

Balloon up in the air

Reminiscing on how they themselves were involved in ballooning after being exposed from a tender age by their parents, the sisters wanted to pay it forward by doing the same.

“We’ve come to realise that all our balloonist friends decided to become a pilot after seeing hot air balloons as children. Admiring a beautifully crafted vessel which uses simple law of physics to fly is something that is eternally fascinating.” explains Izzati. “To be able to inspire and spread joy to children every time we inflate our balloons is something that never fails to warm my heart.”

Apart from organising a balloon workshop for the school children, they will also invite a state guest to fly with them while interviewing them, on air. A local guide seems fitting enough for this adven- ture; as they would like to get to know ‘local heroes’ who’s life has been heavily influenced by their bringing up and time spent in their hometown.

Balloon trips locations

Balloon trips locations

The balloon tour will go on for two months from September until October. This expedition is made possible in association with AKA Balloon Sdn Bhd, Ford Motor Company and local distributor, Sime Darby Auto Connexion (SDAC) as Official Vehicle, as Official Radio and Ultron as Official Apparel.

To find out more information on the expedition, visit and #LifeOnAirMY on Facebook and Twitter. Live feed is available on Youtube and Snapchat, @LifeOnAir.


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About the author

Thomas has a university background in the UK and in Latin America, with studies in Languages and Humanities, Culture, Literature and Economics. He started his Asian experience as a publisher in Krabi in 2005. Thomas has been editing local newspapers and magazines in England, Spain and Thailand for more than fifteen years. He is currently working on several projects in Thailand and abroad. Apart from Thailand, Thomas has lived in Italy, England, Venezuela, Cuba, Spain and Bali. He spends most of his time in Asia. During the years Thomas has developed a great understanding of several Asian cultures and people. He is also working freelance, writing short travel stories and articles for travel magazines. Follow Thomas on

View all articles by Thomas Gennaro