Pokhara is a megalopolis and the largest city of Nepal, situated close to the foothills of the Himalayas and a popular tourist destination for those who visit Nepal. Surrounded by lakes and pristine nature overlooking the majestic Himalayas, Pokhara is exceptionally picturesque and beautiful. Being a popular tourist destination, one can pursue many activities here such as paragliding, trekking, and boating while enjoying the stupendous views.
Why Paragliding in Pokhara?
There are a multitude of places in the world that offer paragliding excursions and experiences. A rational question one could ask is why go paragliding in Pokhara when there are so many places around the world that offer the activity? The answer to that is that Pokhara happens to be one of the top commercial tandem paragliding locations in the world. With a range of safe take off and landing zones, stable thermals and the convenient proximity of a large lake for safety, it is not hard to understand why it is one of the most coveted paragliding spots in the world. Also as a bonus, the low lying valleys, the snow-capped Himalayas and the scenic locales of Pokhara make for incredibly spectacular views that are out of this world!
There are paragliding options for everyone right from someone who is a beginner to someone who has under their belt many hours of flight.
The regular paragliding expedition begins from a place known as Sarangkot that is approximately around 30 minutes away from Pokhara by jeep. Typically one floats over Sarangkot for a while before flying over Pokhara, performing spiraling acrobatic tricks if one wishes before finally descending and landing near Phewa Lake in Pokhara.
Paragliding Operators in Pokhara
These are some of the popular paragliding companies in Pokhara. The list is not exhaustive and by no means should one restrict themselves to only these companies
Blue Sky Paragliding: Born as a brainchild of two pilots, one Swiss and one Nepali, Blue Sky Paragliding is a registered company today. Their endeavour is to take paragliding to the best extent possible. Their team of 7-10 pilots offers courses of different levels where they intend for it to be true education. Moreover, as a further boost, this company is affiliated with an international organization- Association of Professional Paragliding /instructors
Sunrise Paragliding: The first paragliding company in Nepal, this has Nepal's first paragliding pilot, first women paragliding pilot and a team with vast experience. Truly, pioneers in the field, the pilots have extensive knowledge of the area and the conditions and are experts in what they do. They are passionate about their work and grateful that they do what they are passionate about every day. It also offers an excellent safety record putting customers minds at ease!
Frontiers Paragliding: Offering tandem flights, acrobatic flights, cross-country tours, and flying tours in the Annapurna region of Nepal, this company offers many different types of rides and packages suiting everyone's needs! With a knowledgeable team, they also offer training options!
Paragliding in Pokhara is not something that may fit everyone's budgets and is certainly not cheap. It is one of the best places to go skydiving in the world and will offer you some of the best vistas and paragliding experiences. If one ever wants to experience paragliding, Pokhara is definitely the place to do it! One should consider it an investment in a lifelong experience rather than expenditure.
Most companies seem to have a set price that is the across companies.
Standard Flight (30 minutes): USD 75 (approximately)
Cross Country Flight (40-60 minutes): USD 110
The operators also charge a fee of around USD 17 if one wants a GoPro footage and pictures of their flight.
One can go flying in Pokhara at any time of the year as long as it isn't raining and the thermals are stable. The peak flying season in Pokhara coincides with the Nepali tourist season that is, between September-November and February to March.
Although this is the common season for paragliding, if one can catch clear skies during the monsoon months of July and August, this would be the perfect time for paragliding since the vegetation is lush due and rivers are thundering due to the monsoon rains. This renders some of the best views that one can get while skydiving. However, one must ensure that there is no rain predicted in the weather forecast before going paragliding at any time of the year, particularly the monsoon months.
Most companies offer around 3 flights a day at- 10:30 AM, 12:00 PM and 02:00 PM. The perfect time would be around 11:30 AM when the sun has been out for some time creating the perfect conditions to go skydiving giving you your money's best worth.
Types of Paragliding
If one has no experience in this adventure sport, Ridge Soaring is highly recommended to them. It is a 15 to 30-minute smooth flight accompanied by a pilot. The passenger and the pilot are attached to each other, and to the wing, with separate harnesses that ensure complete safety for beginners. One just has to relax like they are sitting in an armchair up in the air and enjoy the beautiful scenery. The pilots also help capture pictures and videos of the flight for passengers to cherish as fond memories.
If a little adrenaline rush is what one is looking for, Thermal and Acrobatic Flying is just perfect for them. These flights also have a pilot accompanying the passengers, but the nature of these flights is one level up. They include acrobats while paragliding, meaning the pilot and the passenger would spin, loop, and spiral in the air for 10 to 15 minutes. The exciting stunts that are performed on these flights are called Black Fly, Tumble, Wingover, SAT and Helicopter. They are sure to leave the passengers not just breathless but also spellbound with their smooth manoeuvres in the air.
The company also has Cross Country Flying that covers routes over the ridge and down the Pokhara Valley. Pilots can fly over the Phewa Lake and enjoy a better view of the Annapurna Mountain Ranges as they soar ahead towards the peaks. These flights end at the lakeside from where a return journey is arranged for. Each of these flights has a different nature and a different level of adventure. If trying something new this holiday season has been up on the list, one must give Sarangkot Paragliding a shot.
Generally, paragliding is safe and has the same danger level as crossing a road in any major city of the world. However, it essentially remains an adventure sport and has risks and chances of accidents if things aren't done right. There are reserve chutes and a lake for safety while paragliding in Pokhara.
Before one goes paragliding, one must make sure that they are going through a certified and registered company. One must ensure that the company that they choose has insurance coverage. Although some companies claim they do, there is no guarantee. Thus, it is best to choose a reputable company that will guarantee and insurance cover.
One must also ensure that they follow all the instructions that the pilot gives, and make sure they fasten the harnesses and belts properly. It is also important that one doesn't panic since that can cause further problems. Trust that the pilot knows what to do and let them handle any situation that may arise.
Paragliding is a once in a lifetime experience that leaves one exhilarated and enthralled. It is definitely something that everyone should try at least once in their life. What better place than to do it in the lap of the mighty Himalayas in Pokhara!