Parahawking in Nepal

Random Observation/Comment #410: Go Parahawking. Seriously. Plan a whole trip around it. It was the best 25 minutes of my life and I think everyone should do it. You’re welcome.

see lemons parahawk

I took a deep breath of fresh mountain air as I counted the white peaks of the Himalayas. The view from the top distracted me from the fact that I was 1) terribly afraid of heights and 2) about to walk off the cliff and go paragliding with a vulture. I wasn’t exactly afraid since I had 8 years and over 4000 flights of experience strapped to my back, but I couldn’t help but ask myself “Oh, the places you’ll go!”

In Pokhara, Nepal, I think the top attraction on tripadvisor should read “Parahawking.” It’s basically tandem paragliding with a glove, a bag of buffalo meat, and a trained vulture that eats from your hand. Here’s the last 7 minutes:

So you’re convinced – now how do you do it?

  1. Book your flight to Pokhara, Nepal. Flights will need to go through Kathmandu. I would personally recommend going to Kathmandu and then asking your hotel for a personal driver to take you to Pokhara. It’s a 5-6 hour drive and should cost around $100 USD. There’s been recent unsettling news with the little 18-person propeller airline flights that take 25 minutes.
  2. Book your parahawking flight. Be sure to book it ahead of time if you’re going during peak season. You can check availability on their website. I went in February and the weather was beautiful. I thought it’d be freezing, but the latitude of Pokhara is about the same as Orlando, FL, so day-times hover around 60 F. You’ll obviously need to get lucky with the weather for clear skies, but it’s good to know that the company doesn’t fly on crappy conditions.
  3. Show up and Experience the magic. I would highly recommend the earlier parahawking flight if possible. We showed up at 9:30AM and got up in the air as the first ones off the mountain by 10:15AM. The overall flight time will vary depending on the conditions, but I had a good 20-25 minute flight and got to feed Bob the vulture around 20 times. He’s called with a whistle and just swoops by to gently land and pick off the meat from your hand. There’s a go-pro taking photos every second and they do a video at the very end, so the whole experience is documented. Completely worth the $200 + $25 for the DVD.

For those who have anxiety starting the flight, it’s nothing like my skydiving experience. Paragliding is simply just walking into the horizon and having the wind take you across. Your instructor will have done this thousands of times and there’s no gut wrenching feeling of falling to death.  You simply just run forward and float. Your harness has a little seat so you’re literally just sitting there enjoying the view.

The view is definitely the most amazing part. The Himalayas are breath taking from up there and I can’t help but smile seeing something so majestic. Besides the wind and variable beeping from the equipment, it’s quietly peaceful. I could hear my own heart beat rhythmically as everything looked like it burst into colors around me. The flight is stable enough to hold your own camera, but this is something beyond words and photos could capture. I’m glad I just sat there and smiled as those peaks etched into my memory.

~See Lemons Love Parahawking