When I booked my ticket for Nepal, I had no fixed itinerary in mind (as usual). I only had a week; aside from Kathmandu, I didn’t know where to go.
Sure, I’d always wanted to go on the Everest Base Camp Trek, but I didn’t have the budget nor the time. In deciding what else to do, I asked my readers, and one suggestion was very popular: go paragliding in Pokhara.
I had initially said no; flights are usually expensive. I remember being pilot for a day in Malaysia, and my friend who paid for it spent $400 for just 45 minutes of flying time.
When I did my research, though, I realized how inexpensive Nepal can be. A 30-minute paragliding flight would only set me back around $85, including the transportation. It wasn’t so out of my budget, and photos I’ve seen online are incredible. I decided to go, and boy, was I glad to do so!
Pokhara is a beautiful lake town around six hours from Kathmandu by bus ($6 one way). Take the window seat on the driver’s side (right side of the bus) when you go to Pokhara so you can see the Himalayas. I remember waking up on the bus, looking out of the window, and exclaiming “Oh my God” at the view.
Imagine seeing green mountains, and much further away, set amidst the clear blue sky, are ranges edged in white. I never even thought of taking out my camera; I just stared and stared at the Himalayas, completely awed at the beauty that I could see outside my window.
Paragliding in Pokhara is very popular; there are a lot of paragliding companies there that you can choose from (don’t ask for mine because I had a negative experience with them). Rates are standard at 7,500 Nepalese Rupees, and if you want photo and video documentation, you can add NPR 1,700. (Note: USD$1 = 100 NPR)
I don’t recommend the tour operator I used. You can book a paragliding flight via Get Your Guide. I use them in my travels.
There are basically four flights a day: two in the morning at 9 and 11, and two in the afternoon. Flights take off in Sarangkot, a village around 30 minutes from Pokhara town.
I arrived in Sarangkot at 5am to catch the sunrise, then I waited 4 hours for the paragliding pilots to arrive. I didn’t mind waiting; I had a Kindle, and besides, who would mind, with this view (below) in front of you?
When my pilot arrived (a guy from Pune, India), he asked another person to lay out the paraglider, making sure that the wings are fully unfurled and the lines are not tangled. I was then strapped to the harness, with him strapped as well behind me.
We waited for a while for the wind, and when my pilot said “Run!” I ran and jumped off the cliff.
The feeling was indescribable. There I was flying hundreds of meters above ground, with Lake Phewa to my right and the Himalayan Ranges to my left. There were a lot of huge hawks flying with us; one even came so close I thought it would smack into our paraglider.
My pilot, a veteran in the business, told me I shouldn’t worry. He had a parachute in case something went wrong. Actually, at that time, I didn’t mind dying; I was in the midst of such beauty that if I had died there, I wouldn’t have any regrets about my life.
My pilot and I rode the wind in Pokhara, turning this way and that, going up and down. All around us were other paragliders and a number of birds of prey. The town and the lake below were so far away that everything looked so beautiful and peaceful. However, I couldn’t take my eyes off the Himalayas; if ever one needs proof of a Greater Being, I saw it right there in the majesty of those mountains.
All too soon, the flight was over. The pilot brought us down to the lake, and a 4×4 brought us back to town. It was a short ride, but days later, I still felt the high of that experience.
One tip: don’t eat a lot two hours before your flight. Depending on the wind, you may get nauseous. I saw some people throwing up when they landed.
I highly recommend paragliding in Pokhara if you’re going to Nepal. My words and photos don’t do justice to how beautiful this experience is!
Have you gone paragliding? Will you do it again? I certainly would!
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Awesome post! I would be flying to Nepal this week and thinking if I can ride the winds of Pokhara! What camera were you using while paragliding?
I would just like to know if you reserved a paragliding ticket in advance or did you just get it while in Pokhara? I will be visiting Nepal this April and planning to try this after my solo Poon Hill trek. 🙂
I just paid for it in Pokhara the day before my paragliding trip. There’s no need to book in advance as there’s a lot of operators there. I don’t recommend mine (Pokhara Paragliding) but, as I said, there are many others to choose from.
Thanks! Your blog has definitely helped me in most of my travels! 😀
hi aleah, thanks for the response pala re: Nepal 🙂 ..would definitely try paragliding pag natuloy ako, kahit takot ako sa heights pero based sa post mo parang di naman 🙂
would like to know na din if safe sumakay ng public transport like bus going to the countryside such as pokhara ng solo…hmm baka may specific bus company kng mari-refer…thanks!
Hello, Rochelle. I’m also scared of heights, believe me. This is much less scarier than the canyon drop (like bungy jump) I did in Bohol. The view is priceless too! Why should riding the bus be dangerous? I went to a random travel agency, bought a ticket, and that was it. I was solo too. And no, I have no specific bus company to recommend. Just go there and get a ticket. Reminder to sit on the right side, window, so you will see the Himalayan mountain range as you go into Pokhara.
This is an experience not to be missed while in Pokhara. Will add more to the fun if the pilot can turn around the glide 360 over and over again.
Awesome pics by the way.
Umm, no thanks with the 360 degree turn. My stomach was queasy already as it was haha
It’s me again!
How was the bus travel going to and from Pokhara? And how much? Thanks!
@ Morsi: Lots of buses going to Pokhara from KTM. IIRC, it only cost P600 one way. Sit by the window on the right side of the bus so you can see the Himalayan range when you’re in Pokhara!
Ayay! i might as well add this on my list! 😀
@ Missy: Too bad you didn’t push through!
Recommended. At least once, just for the experience, But not for the faint of stomach 🙂 wanted to vomit half pass the ride. 🙂
@ Lester: It’s good you managed to hold on to your stomach’s content. Or didn’t you? 😉
@ Mary: It was a really lovely experience, especially with the view of the Himalayas in the distance!
@ Lillie: It was a lot of fun!
This looks SO FUN!!!!! Adding to my list…
Wow, what an experience! I’ve been paragliding over water, but never over mountains. It looks exhilarating!
@ Sky: I’m so sad I didn’t get to book more tickets hahaha Would definitely love to stay longer in Kathmandu!
@ Shalu Sharma: So envious that you can get to go there anytime you want. Safety seems okay in Pokhra. At least I haven’t heard of any accidents so far.
Looks like fun. But paragliding might not be a good idea as there might not be good safety precautions in Nepal. Site seeing, trekking is another thing you can do. But looks like you have already done it and enjoyed it immensely. Pokhra is a great place for enjoying the outdoors. Been there 3 times as its over the border for me.
Oh Aleah! your paragliding experience is worth to emulate with. Phew, we should have book a Nepal on that damn glitch. hahaha.
Your experience is surreal!
@ DJ: I would love to read your story of paragliding in Stockholm when you get to do it 🙂
@ Charles: Bungee jumping and skydiving are two things in my bucket list I’ll never do. Too scary haha
Awesome pics Aleah! It looks like a lot of fun.
In terms of being scared, I’ve done bungee jumping a bunch of times and have jumped out of a plane or two (solo) in my day and to be honest, I found backward bungee jumping to be far, far scarier for me than jumping out of a plane. I think it has to do with being so high up that everything is too surreal and exciting to be frightening.
This looks great and will definitely be added to my to do list when I finally get to Nepal. Thanks for the post!
Looks fun! I have yet to do it myself! I was scheduled for one in Stockholm and had to cancel because of bad weather! Booo!
This looks right up my alley…Awesome shots…
@ Jessie: Yes, it was. 🙂
@ Gran Canaria Local: You definitely won’t regret it!
@ Jay Exiomo: Even if it cost twice more, it would still be worth it for me 🙂
Wow, I’d love to do this! Considering the experience and the view, it’s a steal.
Wow, what photos. We really must go paragliding over here. Thanks for inspiring us.
What an extraordinary experience! I’d SO do this!
@ Christine: It’s definitely worth it, and even I–a budget traveler–can say that. Too bad you didn’t get to go there, but then it’s another reason to come back 🙂
@ Talon: That sounds scary! Glad Tigger enjoyed it. You both would love Pokhara!
My son did it when we were in Peru, but they didn’t have enough wind for adults to go on the day we visited. I can’t say it looks like fun to me, but he sure loved it.
What an awesome experience, Aleah! I’m stoked for you. I’d be choking up the cash but for that type of gorgeousness, looks worth every dollar!
Didn’t know you could do such a thing in Nepal, but I’ve not been to Pokara yet. Missed that on my trip, but then again,it was my first accidentally solo trip so I was still getting the hang of it.
@ Ben: I took it because it’s not as extreme as, say, skydiving!
@ Marisol: Too bad you didn’t do this. You would have loved it! It’s not expensive too.
Wow, what an adventure Aleah! And certainly a great way to see the beauty of Pokhara from above. We didn’t do this, but now wish we did. Awesome pics. Love that shot of you looking up the camera with the view of valley down below.
Oh, I love extreme activities like this one! 🙂
@ Pinay Flying High: Try it, you’ll see it’s not so scary after all!
@ Dana Carmel: Haven’t done any parasailing (yet). I think I’d love that too.
I’m afraid of heights, so it’s comforting to know that your pilot had parachutes in case of an emergency. I’ve been parasailing in Maui, but never paragliding. My brother is considering doing this when he goes to Peru next month, actually. Great pictures!
That looks awesome!!! But I am so scared of heights.
@ Yara: Wow, you stayed a month there? I’m so envious! I would have loved to stay longer too!
@ Eileen: I’m scared of heights, too, but this is less scary than bungee jumping or skydiving. 😀
These photos are the coolest! Awesome adventure – I don’t do heights usually but you make it look like a blast!
Wow, I’m so jealous! That looks like fun 🙂
I love Pokhara, I’ve spent a month in Nepal and never forgot the sense of peace near by the lake. Experiencing it form the sky, must have been amazing.
@ Photo Cache: I’m also scared of heights, but I got bungee jumping and skydiving in my bucket list. Those two I wouldn’t be able to do, but at least paragliding’s not so scary!
@ Adrian: It’s actually not as scary as I thought it would be! Try it, you’ll see 🙂
I am not really sure if I am capable of managing this kind of adventure because I am afraid of heights. By just merely looking at these pictures, it seems like my stomach is already dropping. Lol
what an adventure.
as scared of heights as i am, this is one of those adventures that i may be persuaded to undertake especially since there is an experienced pilot with you when you do it.