Paragliding over Pokhara: Explore Nepal from the air

23 June, 2020 | Reccy Guide

Paragliding in Pokhara, Nepal, is a special way for travelers to enjoy the beautiful Himalayan views that are unique to the area. Pokhara, which is located near the capital city of Kathmandu, is known as a springboard for adventure. It provides a gateway to hikers who hike hundreds of kilometers toward Everest, Annapurna, and other skyscraping peaks. However, it’s also a hub for dozens of other outdoor activities. Paragliding, boating, zip lining, and spelunking are popular for explorers of all ages.

Pokhara itself is the third largest city in Nepal. It was initially founded as a stop-over on a trading route between China and India. Today, the sprawling city is known for its cultural diversity, art history, and handicrafts. The streets of Pokhara are adorned with signs of both Buddhist and Hindu worship. Nepalese, Indian, and Tibetan residents mingle in open-air markets and at the nightclubs of the Lakeside district.

For those who want to see the city from an exciting perspective, paragliding in Pokhara is a great option. There are many tour companies available that provide tandem jumps, supervised solo jumps, and lessons. If you’re searching for a thrill but don’t wish to dedicate weeks and kilometers to a trek, this may be just the option you’ve been looking for.

Most paragliding trips travel from west to east and begin at Sarangkot Hill. This spot is located nearly 2,000 meters up, allowing for an enjoyably long descent toward Lakeside. Paragliders are able to take advantage of the mix between chilly Himalayan and warm valley air, which creates longer flight times. In fact, Pokhara is considered one of the top destinations in the world for paragliders. Most flights last between 20 and 50 minutes, depending on air conditions.

When you’re ready for your adventure to begin, you can expect to be picked up within Pokhara for a trip toward Sarangkot Hill. Your pilot will spend the short car ride explaining what to expect and the equipment they will use. All paragliding pilots must be certified within the country; as most people opt for a tandem flight instead of obtaining their own license, you will most likely sit back and enjoy the flight. 

The ideal time to fly is between March and May or September through November. Pokhara can be particularly hard-hit by the summer monsoons, and the already-chilly air can become too cold for flight during the winter months. Furthermore, the thermals in Pokhara are reportedly best in the morning. Snag a morning booking for the longest possible glide over the city.

After a running jump off the hill, you can sit back and drink in the beautiful views that stretch out and around below you. Rolling green meadows and mountains terraced with farmland surround the city. There is a hearty presence of wildlife in this region, so don’t be surprised if an eagle or hawk keeps you company on your airborne adventure. 

Within Pokhara itself, you can see the growth of the city—the new and old mix elegantly throughout the streets. The newest, most developed part of the city is the Lakeside District, which lies on the east shore of the lake. 

Down on Phewa Lake, you will undoubtedly see plenty of multicolored boats skipping happily across the waves. Boating is immensely popular for tourists and residents alike. In the center of the lake stands a two-story pagoda. This building, the , is dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu. It still receives worshippers regularly. If you fly on a Saturday morning, you will undoubtedly see this small island crowded with visitors. 

Of course, the main reason for paragliding in Nepal doesn’t lie below you—it lies above. The incredible Himalayan mountain range seems to envelop the countryside. The spectacular Mt. Machhapuchhre, or Fishtail Mountain, is an easily spotted, dramatic landmark above the city. Further beyond, less than 100 kilometers away, lies Annapurna, one of the tallest mountains in the world, along with Manaslu. These monolithic, snow-capped Himalayan peaks are breathtaking to behold on any day. Viewing them while on a gentle flight, thousands of meters in the air is an unforgettable experience. 

Eventually the flight will come to a close as you touchdown on a field beyond Lakeside. If you find yourself itching for more adventure in the area, consider one of the shorter, teahouse-based treks that leaves from Pokhara.

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