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A New Angle on Sightseeing
1,     7月11日,一只热气球在日出时分飞过天津武清的住宅楼群.jpg 2. 乘坐热气球观光是一种很特别的体验.jpg 3.一名飞行员走向降落的热气球。选择降落地也是一门学问,最好是安全而开阔的平地,但很多时候找不到完全合适的着落点。.jpg 6.jpg 5.一个热气球正在充气准备,大多数的热气球都拥有鲜艳的色彩,一是为了美观二是为了集体飞行时的安全.jpg
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  • A hot-air balloon flies past residential buildings in Tianjin's Wuqing District on the morning of July 11 (WEI YAO)
  • Enjoying scenery by hot-air balloon is a special and unique experience for tourists (WEI YAO)
  • A pilot heads to a landing balloon. Choosing a landing place is an art. Ground that is both flat and open is best. Sometimes, it is difficult to find an appropriate landing spot( WEI YAO)
  • People prepare to fly hot-air balloons at Baijitan National Desert Park in Lingwu City, northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, on July 30 (XINHUA)
  • A colorful hot-air balloon being inflated. Most balloons are designed with bright colors for both beauty and security (WEI YAO)
  • 1,     7月11日,一只热气球在日出时分飞过天津武清的住宅楼群.jpg
  • 2. 乘坐热气球观光是一种很特别的体验.jpg
  • 3.一名飞行员走向降落的热气球。选择降落地也是一门学问,最好是安全而开阔的平地,但很多时候找不到完全合适的着落点。.jpg
  • 6.jpg
  • 5.一个热气球正在充气准备,大多数的热气球都拥有鲜艳的色彩,一是为了美观二是为了集体飞行时的安全.jpg

As a new form of sightseeing, hot-air ballooning is sprouting up in various tourist destinations in China. Many people are mustering up the courage to experience this new style of touring. Sitting in a basket suspended beneath a balloon—which could be small, with only three or four people, or large enough for a dozen people—and rising up hundreds of meters into the sky, passengers can look over the landscape below. It is definitely a fresh experience for people who are used to enjoying views on the ground.

Hot-air ballooning has become a common type of sightseeing trip worldwide and a must-have experience for tourists in Turkey, Egypt, Australia and other countries. The activity has also emerged in China in the last decade.

The progenitor of today's hot-air balloons dates back to the Five Dynasties era 1,100 years ago. The Kongming lantern, a small hot-air balloon made of paper, has been traditionally made for centuries. Due to this similarity, many Chinese people feel that hot-air balloons are familiar. The modern hot-air balloon was introduced to China after the nation began its reform and opening up process, first appearing in Beijing during the 1990s. But in recent decades, hot-air balloons have found their way to more and more regions, as their usefulness in sports, entertainment, tourism and advertising have been discovered.

Hot-air ballooning, as an airborne activity, carries safety risks. It can only be conducted in appropriate weather by qualified pilots, who must abide by China's air-control regulations. Nowadays, tourists can enjoy the pleasure of hot-air balloon sightseeing in most regions at a cost of around 1,000 yuan ($150) to 2,000 yuan ($300) per flight.

Copyedited by Chris Surtees 

Comments to weiyao@bjreview.com 

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