Nepal is the adventure sport enthusiasts Shangri La, their paradise, their heaven. Home of Mt. Everest and some of the most epic trekking in the world, of course the country is going to draw crowds of thrill seekers. Had your fair share of trekking already and looking for something else to satiate your appetite for adventure? Look no further. The answer is: paraglide Nepal.
The main central for paragliding in Nepal is Pokhara, a small town about 200 kilometers away from Kathmandu. Pokhara draws scores of tourist and travelers every day who seek more peace and tranquility than they can find in chaotic Kathmandu. The town is a wonderful place to get some R&R, especially after a long and exhausting trekking stint.
There are several paragliding companies based in Pokhara, the main ones being Frontiers Paragliding and Blue Sky Paragliding. Both are readily accessible from almost any hostel or hotel in Pokhara. Frontiers Paragliding was the first paragliding company in Nepal and has been running for over 13 years. Blue Sky Paragliding was founded in 2001 and is staffed with 7-10 expert pilots. Both companies have a good track record and have certified people working for them.
How to Book a Paragliding Trip:
When you get to Pokhara, visit both paragliding companies and see which one you like better. Both offer similar deals and similar prices, so pick the one with the people you like best. After all, you are going to be flying with the hawks, through the clouds over the Annapurna range with the person you go with, so it’s best to be comfortable with them.
When you visit the company, you will sign up before hand and sign a release for. Basically, if you fall to your death, we’re not responsible (just kidding!). You pay in advance and they’ll let you know what time to meet at the storefront.
Paragliding, unfortunately, not that cheap, especially for budget backpackers. But, if you have the funds, paragliding in Nepal is definitely worth it. You’ll get to float on thermal air pockets with birds, look down at tiny Nepali houses, see the Himalayan range from above and feel more free than you’ve probably ever felt before. When we were last in Nepal, the price of one tandem flight (you and your guide) was about USD $125. The flight itself lasts about half an hour and the whole trip including the truck ride to the top of the take-off point is about 2 hours.
Trip and Preparation:
The most popular take-off point for paragliding in Pokhara is the Sarankot Ridge. It is possible to hike to the top of the ridge, but with the paragliding equipment, you’ll take a large off-road truck or van. Once to the top of the ridge, the pilots lay out all the chutes and untangle all the cords and ropes while nervous first-time paragliders wait from the side and chew their nails. After the chutes are laid out, you’ll step into a two-person harness with your guide. The guide sits in the back position so he or she can maneuver the chute through the sky and land with ease.
The pilots take the upmost safety precautions before take-off so there is no need to worry about falling to your untimely death. You and the guide are required to wear a helmet.
This is probably the closest humans will get to the feeling of birds flying in the sky. This style of paragliding uses no motor, so the flight is very peaceful, but exhilarating at the same time. The take-off is one of the hardest parts, even though the guide does all the hard work, because you’ll essentially have to run off a cliff.
During the flight you can take pictures and observe the beautiful Phewa Tal lake glimmering below.
The guide, again, does all the hard stuff for the landing and it is usually quite smooth. The guides and pilots fold away the chutes and then a van meets the group to take them back to town.
Advice for Your Flight:
+Wear closed toed shoes. Your pilot probably won’t let you even fly with sandals on.
+Wear warm clothes. Even if it is sunny out, you’ll be flying at high altitudes, so it’s best to bring a sweatshirt or a coat with you.
+Keep your camera strapped to your wrist! Because that’s a loooong way for it to fall and you’ll never get it back.
Tandem Flights and Beyond:
Can’t get enough of paragliding? Then why not become a certified pilot yourself? Both Frontiers Paragliding and Blue Sky Paragliding offer courses and certification.