Finished trekking and looking for something to do in Pokhara?
Pokhara is one of the top 5 commercial tandem paragliding locations in the world, with all the right ingredients: stable thermals, convenient take-off and landing zones, the safety of a large lake and incredible mountain views.
Tandem paragliding means you are seated in a separate harness in front of the pilot where you can sit care-free and enjoy your surroundings, take pictures and talk with your pilot during the flight. It is quite comfortable apart from a large void beneath your feet.
Flying On Your Own
If you are an experienced paraglider and want to fly on your own, you can get a flying permit from the civil aviation office in Pokhara. The permit costs Rs. 4520 ($45) for 15 days which you can renew upon expiration. It takes about 1 hour to get permit and you need to provide them with a passport photocopy, visa photocopy, photo of yourself, proof of insurance and your paragliding license.
Is It Safe?
Generally, it’s safer to go paragliding in Pokhara than it is to cross a busy intersection in Lakeside. There are more than 250 flights a day during peak-season. You have a reserve chute and a large lake for safety. However, it is an extreme adventure sport and risks are involved. The biggest risk is during take-off and landing if there is a sudden change in wind.
Make sure the company you choose has insurance coverage; some might say they have it even if they don’t. Best is to go with a reputable company. The government of Nepal has no system in place for regulating paragliding. Out of the 100 Nepali paragliding pilots in Nepal, not a single one holds a Nepalese paragliding license because there isn’t one.
Pilots are, however, internationally certified, which means international paragliding schools, like FAI, APPI and BHPA, have come to Pokhara to run 15-day pilot training programs . Upon completion, pilots are certified to fly anywhere in the world on their own. It then takes around 2 years of experience before they become a commercial tandem pilot. They have to prove themselves by paragliding in different locations, in different weather conditions, with different instructors and by performing different exercises such as practising using their reserve chute. After that, they have to pass a tandem exam with an APPI instructor.
The standard paragliding flight takes off from Sarangkot (30 min. by jeep from Pokhara), floats above Sarangkot for a while, then heads over Pokhara before performing spiralling acrobatics (optional) on descent to Phewa Tal next to Lakeside.
Best Time of Day
We offer 3 flights a day, 7 days a week: 10:30 AM, 12 PM and 2 PM.
For best conditions, the suns needs to have been out long enough to heat the earth and create the thermals necessary for lift. The early morning flights tends to be a bit less than 30 minutes as the thermals haven’t developed yet. If you’re looking for a clam, less turbulent flight, this is the best time.
By 11:30 AM, the thermals have become active and the best conditions for paragliding are in place. If you want to get your money’s worth, this is the best time to fly.
Best Season for Flying Conditions
You can go paragliding in Pokhara year-round as long as it’s not raining and the thermals are active.
The peak season for bookings matches the normal tourist season in Nepal – September/October/November and February/March. The fall months are the clearest where thermals develop quickly with easy, high flying of up to 3000 m.
The best time for flying, however, might be if you catch a lucky window of clear skies during the monsoon season of July and August when the vegetation is lush and the rivers are thundering.
You are advised to consider the following equipment as essentials while packing. Please use this list as a guideline. Adjustments to the list can be managed according to our requirements, interests, duration of the trip, and season of the trip. We can find a variety of these gears to hire or buy in Kathmandu. The majority of the gears which are for sale in Kathmandu are locally manufactured (hence a lot cheaper) and some gears found here are imported from China and are obviously of better quality. We can find very high quality branded gears too in some famous stores in Kathmandu.
Many of the personal climbing gears can be hired in the base camp as well, however, the quality of equipment at base camp can be not as high as those found in Kathmandu to hire. Further, it will be better to remember that at the start of the trek, apart from our day pack, our luggage that will be carried by porters. Since luggage has weight limitation of approximately 33 pounds or 15 kg.
- Sun hat or scarf
- Light balaclava or warm fleece hat
- Sunglasses with UV protection
- Under Garments
- Hiking shorts
- Lightweight cotton long pants
- Light and expedition weight thermal bottoms
- Fleece or wool pants (seasonal)
- Waterproof (preferably breathable fabric) shell pants
- Thin, lightweight inner socks
- Thick, warm wool hiking socks
- Hiking boots with spare laces
- Camp shoes (sneakers and/or sandals)
- Gaiters for hiking in winter to the base camp
- Light and expedition weight thermal tops
- Fleece jacket or pullover
- Fleece Wind-Stopper jacket (optional)
- Waterproof (preferably breathable fabric) shell jacket
- Down vest and/or jacket *
- Lightweight gloves
- Heavyweight gloves or mittens with a waterproof shell outer (seasonal)
- Sleeping bag rated to zero DC
- Headlamp (e.g. Petzl Zoom) with spare bulbs and batteries
- Trekking Bags/Duffel bag
- Basic First Aid Kit
- Large plastic bags – for keeping items dry inside trek bag
- Daypack (approximately 2500 to 3000 cubic inches)
- Trekking Poles
- Water bottle (2) or camel bag
- Toiletries (Small wash towel, Toilet papers etc)
- Ear Plug (who know some people on group are snoring)
- 1 medium sized quick-drying towel
- Toothbrush/paste (preferably biodegradable)
- Multipurpose soap (preferably biodegradable)
- Nail clippers
- Face and body moisturizer
- Feminine hygiene products
- Small mirror
- Wet wipes (baby wipes)
- Tissue /toilet roll
- Antibacterial hands wash
- Reading book
- Trail Map/Guidebook
- Journal & Pen
- Pencils and small notebooks
- Travel game i.e. chess, backgammon, scrabble.
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