Paragliding is a relatively new
adventure sport in Nepal, and little information is available in tourist
guidebooks. Paragliding in this Himalayan country can be a truly wonderful
and fulfilling experience for the adventure- seekers. You can experience
unparalleled scenic grandeur as you share airspace with Himalayan griffin
vultures, eagles, kites, while floating over villages, monasteries, temples,
lakes and jungles, with a fantastic view of the majestic Himalayas. The last
three years have seen the activity flourish in Pokhara, and it now is an
internationally recognized destination for free flight enthusiasts.
Geography and Seasons
Gliding is a weather dependent sport
and the flying season in Nepal commences from November through February, the
best months being November and December. By virtue of its latitude and
monsoonal climate, the tree line in Nepal is at an incredible 3,900 m above
sea level. With conditions milder than summer alpine, these are excellent
and constant atmospherics. The topography and climate of Nepal also make it
an ideal destination for all levels of pilots-subtropical conditions provide
plenty of thermals and combine thermals and combined with the long valleys
common in Nepal, they produce perfect cloud streets ideal for
paragliders, inviting them to fly along this sky highway. The local
microclimate, controlled by the numerous lakes in the valley, is unique,
which makes it even netter for the glider. The Himalaya is made up of a
series of lesser mountains increasing in size, before the Greater Himalaya,
with its majestic snow-clad peaks, dominate the sky. The range that is now
offered for paragliding is the Mahabharat range, south of these giants. Most flights are out of Pokhara, the
beautiful lakeside town at the foot of the Annapurna Himal.
Paragliders above Sarangkot
There are various deals for
the paragliding enthusiast as well as well as those checking this sport out
for the first time. There is a three – day introductory course for
beginners, as well as tandem flights (where you fly with an instructor)
for the inexperienced or less brave. At 6000 ft, you sir back in your seat
as your qualified pilot takes you on an unforgettable journey. The take–off point for these flights is Sarangkot (1592 m), which offers prime views
of Phewa Tal and the mountains at sunrise and sunset (provided the skies
are clear); the landing is by the lake.
gliders can strike a package deal, which includes being picked up at
Kathmandu airport on arrival and spending a night in the capital before
heading for Pokhara. At Pokhara, after a few introductory flights, you could
take off on a six–day paratrek to the incredibly beautiful west. While
on the paratrek, the flyers will be lodged or camped in villages, with local
sherpa guides helping with equipment, or in cooking.
Access and Accommodation
The bus trip from Kathmandu
to Pokhara takes 7 – 8 hours and most departures are in the early hours of
the morning. Public transport busses cost around $2, while the larger tourist
buses charge $2.5 and the minibuses cost $3. Besides, there are many daily
Kathmandu – Pokhara flights, which takes about half an hour, costing $67.
The flight also give you some great Himalayan viewing if you are seated on
the right side to the plane from Kathmandu to Pokhara, and vice versa.
Pokhara offers a wide
variety of places to stay and for all kinds of budgets. There are roughly
four accommodation areas around the bus park and bazaar, by the airport,
Damside (Pardi) and Lakeside (Baidam). While the bazaar area offers
some cheap lodge, it is noisy and far from pleasant. The hotels by the
airport are more expensive, but they are a long way from lakeside. It is
best to check out places around Lakeside where all the actions happens and
Damside, which has some good mid-range hotels and great views.
For more information about
houses or hotels in Pokhara, click here.
You can book
a Tandem flight or Paragliding course at the office of Sunrise paragliding,
Lakeside, Pokhara, or visit their webiste
activities index /
hot air ballooning /
Phewa Lake, Damside, Himalaya, Lakeside, Sarangkot, Nepal, paragliders,