HOT AIR BALLOONING
Flying above the Kathmandu Valley safely perched on a
wicker basket, opens up vast vistas of enchanting sights
accessible only to the initiated. Breathe easily in the
fresh, crisp air of the quintessential Kathmandu dawn as
you absorb the 3600 view of awe-inspiring landscape -
lush green hills, terraced fields enriched by natures
colors, terra-cotta structures huddled together like
watchful sentinels, a gilded temple spire, lonely stupa.
Each one bathed by the first golden rays of the rising
Look right on and there before you rises in majestic
splendor the fabled, Himalayan Peaks. Illuminated by
stray strands of sunlight the snow capped Gosainthan,
Phurbi-Gyachu, Gaurishanker, Chhoba-Shankar, Melungtse,
Cho-Oyu, Chomolungma adn Gyanchungkang all stand to
greet you and lull you into a dreamlike state, that will
live on as memories forever.
Nepal/s extraordinary contours and numerous tracks and
trails make it an ideal place for Mountain biking. You
not only climb up and down challenging moountain roads
but also have wonderful opportunity to admire the
magnificent scenery around. A classic off-road adventure
is the 70-km Scar Road that starts from Balaju to the
west of Kathmandu city, traverses the hill resort of
Kakani, Trisuli bazaar and Shivapuri, and then descends
back to Kathmandu. Another route is the two-day circular
tour to Dhulikhel to the east of Kathmandu. You can
combine this ride with a visit to the ancient townships
of Bhaktapur, Namobuddha and Panauti which lie en route.
Yet another possibility is the 75-km ride on the
adventurous, hair-raising Tribhuvan Highway to the hill
resort of/ Daman southeast of Kathmandu that offer even
tougher challenges. Pokhara and its environs provide
equally great venues for this sport. And if/ you have
not brought your own mountain bike- you can easily rent
is a relatively new adventure sport in Nepal.
Paragliding in this Himalayan country can be a truly
wonderful and fulfilling experience for the
adventure-seekers. You can experience unparalleled
scenic grandeur as you share airspace with Himalayan
griffin vultures, eagles, kites, while floating over
villages, monasteries, temples, lakes and jungles, with
a fantastic view of the majestic Himalayas.
Gliding is a weather dependent sport and the flying
season in Nepal commences from November through
February, the best months being November and December.
By virtue of its latitude and monsoonal climate, the
tree line in Nepal is at an incredible 3,900 m above sea
level. With conditions milder than summer alpine, these
are excellent and constant atmospherics.
The topography and climate of Nepal also make it an
ideal destination for all levels of pilots- subtropical
conditions provide plenty of thermals and combined with
the long valleys common in Nepal, they produce perfect
'cloud streets' ideal for paragliders, inviting them to
fly along this "sky highway". The local microclimate,
controlled by the numerous lakes in the valley, is
unique, which makes it even better for the glider.
The main area for flying in Nepal is the Annapurna
region, more specifically the Pokhara valley. This
lakeside town is Nepal's second "city", nestled at the
foot of the Annapurna Himal, the views commanded from
here, of 3 of the worlds 8000m peaks, are unsurpassed.
At an altitude of 800m ASL the subtropical climate means
that, year round, it is short and T-shirt weather. The
micro-climate of the valley makes it an ideal area for
flying, with far more constant conditions than the
Kathmandu valley 150 km east.
There are several sites around Phew Tal (the lake) but
the most accessible is Sarangkot (1500m ASL). A view
point 700m above Pokhara, it is unique in that it has a
road running to the top. A short walk brings you to the
only purpose built take off in the country. Cut out of
the slope is a 45m by 45m clearing. With regular cycles
providing easy reverse launches, you could not ask for a
more picturesque site. With the lake 2000 ft below, the
mountains behind, and the unlimited potential for XC and
out and returns, this has quickly become the main site
for the area, and many pilots have based themselves in
Pokhara for the season, flying from this mountain alone.
There are various deals for the paragliding enthusiast
as well as those checking this sport out for the first
time. There is a three-day introductory course for
beginners, as well as tandem flights (where you fly with
an instructor) for the inexperienced or less brave. At
6000 ft, you sit back in your seat as your qualified
pilot takes you on an unforgettable journey. The
take-off point for these flights is Sarankot (1592 m),
which offers prime views of Phewa Tal and the mountains
at sunrise and sunset (provided the skies are clear);
the landing is by the lake.