Posted by: Ciaran | October 11, 2009

Reasons to love travelling #1 – Extreme Sports

View of Phewa Lake from 1,700m

View of Phewa Lake from 1,700m

Each week I want to have a quick look at one great thing about travelling and use something that I’ve done or somewhere that I’ve been as a short case in point to illustrate what I’m talking about.  These things aren’t in any sort of order (i.e. the chance to try extreme sports in exotic locations isn’t the thing I love more than anything about travelling; if, indeed, I could pick one) and they are only intended as short anecdotes; they will often form part of topics to which I later return and talk about more holistically.

Right, the disclaimers are done; let’s talk extreme sports.  This summer I was in Nepal for a couple of weeks and I would have been a fool not to have tried paragliding in a place that the world’s top gliders consider the “best place in the world for paragliding”: the Annapurna mountain range in the city of Pokhara, in central Nepal.

An 'air kiss': touching wing tips at 2,500m

An 'air kiss': touching wing tips at 2,500m

You have the chance to experience the exhilaration of running off a mountain ledge and soaring into the skies about the gorgeous Phewa Lake, following the eagles and vultures into the warm air streams and taking a look at the stunning Machapuchare (‘Fishtail’) mountain, almost 7,000m high.  The take-off point is at 1,500m and you can go up to about 2,600m, though the decreasing oxygen means that you can start to feel sick.

Shortly after take-off, looking dubious...

Shortly after take-off, looking dubious...

It is inexpensive for what you get, not at all scary, and incredibly good fun.  My recommendation would be to try a tandem flight for 30 minutes with the excellent Sunrise Paragliding (http://www.sunrise-paragliding.com) whose instructors are fantastic; safe, reliable and great at what they do.  If you’re not afraid of experiencing some serious g-force then ask for a spot of aerobatics over the lake; when I did so I was thrown into a lateral spin that almost peeled the skin on my face off…

Sunrise are also in the process of having a zipwire installed on the side of a mountain; the three-minute thrill ride in prospect means that I’ll be heading back to Pokhara as soon as I can.

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Responses

  1. […] Jump to Comments I’ve already mentioned one of Pokhara’s main attractions in my inaugral post when I wrote about paragliding, so instead I’ll focus on what there is to do and see in […]


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