Taking to the skies
I’ve been to Chiangmai a few times but I’ve never realized that you could sign up for powered paragliding or paramotoring as they call it. So on my latest trip I decided that it was an opportunity to try this out.
I guess many of us have flown on planes and maybe even in a helicopter before. But then you are safe and sound inside a hard metal shell protected from the cold rushing wind and engine noise of the aircraft. So it can be very visceral to fly unprotected by the aircraft’s body, exposed to the elements.
I booked my paramotoring activity online through Ticket2Attraction. After checking around I found that their prices were one of the lowest (3,500 baht/person). I had enquired with another paramotoring company directly and they quoted me a much higher ticket price which also included the ‘foreigner fee’ which is quite prevalent in Thailand.
The ticket price included pickup from my hotel and also drop off which is great as the flying location is around 30km away from Chiangmai in the middle of paddy fields. I chose to fly in the early morning as it would be cooler and I was hoping to catch sunrise. But by the time I got there it was already almost 8am and way passed dawn.
Anyway, I came to fly and not crawl over abandoned planes and trucks. So after putting on a pair of windproof overalls and a helmet, I was set for some paramotoring. I was also given a Gopro camera mounted on the end of a long selfie stick so that I could film myself.
I was soon joined by my pilot who would do the flying while I sat in the front and did the filming, and watching the scenery. Amid the roar of the engine and a bumpy take off, we were soon airborne. The flight itself was really smooth, not what I expected from such a small airframe. I guess the para-sail helps to stabilize any sudden movements.
The flying speed is not fast like a plane. Instead it’s more like a car cruising at probably 50-60 km/hr. Landing was just as bumpy as take off because of the grassy ground. I noticed that the pilots were able to land and turn the cart around so that the para-sail fell behind it and not get tangled.
At the end of the flight, they helped to download the photos and video from the Gopro onto my phone. The Gopro was setup to take video and shoot photos at 5 seconds intervals. It takes up a lot of memory space so make sure you clear your phone’s storage before downloading.
If you are not afraid of heights and would like to try something new, I would say this is something you can look at. There 2-3 companies offering this in Chiangmai and you should check out their prices and offerings before deciding on which one to go with. The total time for this is around 3 hours. My hotel pickup was at 7am and by the time I was drop off back at the hotel, it was 10am. Just in time to wash up and go out for some site seeing.