Not for the fainted heart, paragliding is a recreational and competitive adventure sport of flying a paraglider: a lightweight, free-flying, foot-launched glider aircraft with no rigid primary structure.
To do this sport, the pilot sits in a harness suspended below a fabric wing consisting of a large number of interconnected cells.
For a first-timer, tandem paragliding is advised. Tandem flights use a wing large enough to hold two people: one pilot or instructor and one passenger.
A tandem gives you the chance to experience paragliding without any training or experience. Your instructor or pilot will do all the work while you can relax and enjoy soaring with eagles high above the cliffs. Depending on the weather, a one-time flight can last for 10 to 15 minutes.
In Indonesia, one of the most popular spots to do paragliding is the resort area of Puncak.
Located in West Java province, about 100 kilometers from the southern part of Jakarta, Puncak is famous for its gorgeous tea plantation and cozy resorts as well as a preferable escape for many Jakartans during the weekend.
Fly Indonesia Paragliding (FIP) has supported Indonesian paragliding activities for 20 years. The company offers theory and practical paragliding lessons to local students as well as foreigners.
It also provides tandem paragliding for those who feel adventurous enough to fly like a bird.
FIP has a site for its paragliding activities at Jl. Raya Puncak KM 87 in Bukit Paralayang, Puncak. Located on the main road of Puncak, it is not a difficult place to spot.
On weekends, the site is usually crowded with visitors. If you are using a private vehicle, it is not easy to find a parking space after 9 a.m., so bringing a motorcycle is more advisable.
The queue to paraglide usually starts from 9 a.m. and continues until the afternoon. After 5 p.m. or when it rains, all paragliding activities will be stopped for security reasons.
It is always best to come as early as you can because the sport is very dependent on the weather. When there is no wind, the action will immediately be postponed until the wind is up again.
If you are afraid of heights, this sport is definitely not for you.
Also remember that you should always wear trekking shoes or comfortable sport shoes while paragliding. Sandals or flip-flops are not recommended.
You can also try to reduce the exposure of sunlight by wearing a long-sleeve shirt and using sunblock.
After paragliding, to complete the day you can watch others go on a paragliding ride or take pictures of Puncak's breathtaking scenery.
There are also many street vendors selling food and a variety of handicraft.
How to join
For a first-timer, tandem paragliding is recommended at price of Rp 350,000 (US$28.77) per person.
Registration is open from 9 a.m. at Bukit Paralayang, Puncak, or you can visit FIP’s official website at indonesia-paragliding.com and contact them by phone or e-mail to book your place, since booking in advance would save you a lot of time rather than registering on the spot.