Category Archives: Adventures

Paragliding in Paradise

This article was published in +977 (a Nepalese Lifestyle Magazine in Australia) in March 2013 issue.

Paragliding for blog

We have all heard about Paradise but we have never seen it. Today I am happy to announce that I have been there and it is called Pokhara, 200 km away from Kathmandu, capital of Nepal.

Pokhara is heaven for domestic and international tourists with its luscious green hills, snow-capped mountains and beautiful lakes. These days Pokhara is also famous for its various adventures like paragliding, gliding, ultra-light flight and zip fly.

I have been waiting to sky dive for ages so I thought paragliding would be a great step towards it. So when I went to Nepal this year, I went to Pokhara where I saw the paradise from a bird’s eye view with the magnificent mountains up close.

We booked the paragliding through the hotel. So the company picked us up at the hotel. Initially, it was only me and my husband who were planning to glide but my mother in law also joined us for the flight once we asked her. They took us to their office first where we filled out forms and signed a no liability statement. From there we were off to Sarankot, which was around 30 minutes’ drive from the office.

The drive was a bit bumpy at times but the driver was giving us lots of information about the paragliding. He told us that even an 80 year old man had done the paragliding from their company. Once the jeep stopped, we had to walk a few minutes to reach the top of the hill where I saw many gliders were already taking off from the mountain and floating away. We were each assigned a pilot and I got Vlad from Serbia. He has been flying for over 10 years all over the world and seemed well trained. He buckled me up with the gears and a few instructions on how to take off. With a little bit of fear and a whole lot of excitement, I was ready for my flight.

After checking all the equipment and wind flow we ran together to take off. I was quite surprised how easy that take off was as we glided off the cliff and I naturally fell back onto the seat and began drifting peacefully. It was great to realise that I was in the air flying. I was already high up on the sky when I saw my husband and mother in law taking off from the hill. Once in the sky, I could see lots of colourful gliders filling the blue sky on the sunny winter day. I could see eagles circling below us as well.

The pilot informed me that we were cruising above 8000 feet in the air and I could see the magnificent view of the Himalayas, hills with pockets of green forests, beautiful lakes and Pokhara city.

As we climbed higher, the view of Dhaulagiri, Annapurna, and Manasulu were so close and breathtaking. We cruised for almost 20 minutes while the pilot pointed out a few places. Also it was fun trying to find my husband and mother in law among many gliders as we could hardly recognise any face from so far away. As the flight was smooth, I asked the pilot if I can take my own camera from my pocket. He said it would be fine so I took my camera out and took a video and photos of our flight.

After a while the pilot asked if I was ok to do some acrobatics in the air. I was scared but I said yes so he let me hold his camera as he prepared for some spinning and spiralling. I put my own camera back in my pocket and we did some acrobatics over the lake swinging back and forth and dropping in the air. It was such an adrenalin rush and I would have liked him to keep going but it was almost time for us to descend and land next to Fewa Lake.

He asked me to put my foot up and not try to touch the ground when we landed so I did as I was told and I was safely on the ground. My husband and mother in law had already landed and we all were very happy with the experience.

Once they packed the equipment, we were back in the jeep on the way to their office where we waited for our photos and video. They also gave us certificates for the flight!

It was an incredible experience and is totally worth a try 🙂

You may also like :

*Abseiling *Oceanwalker *Zoo visit in Nepal 

Desert safari in Dubai

This was one of the best things we did in Dubai and I highly recommend it to anyone going to Dubai. We booked our’s through Arabian Adventures but there are other companies as well who do the similar tours.

It consists of safari drive with dune-bashing, camel ride, eagle show, belly dancing, henna tattoo, barbecue and much, much more.

As it was Sundowner Desert Safari Tour, we were picked up from the hotel around 4 pm in a four wheel drive, then we picked up 3 more people from different hotels and were driven to somewhere deep into the desert. There we were met by rows upon rows of four-wheel drive SUVs full of excited tourists like us for the safari.

All the four-wheel drives then followed each other to the first stop where we sat down for an eagle show. The place was still very hot and humid as the sun was still up but I didn’t mind much as the cold desert breeze was making sure we didn’t get too hot. We were given a cold bottle of water to drink which helped us cool down as well. The guy doing the eagle show was an Aussie and he explained his eagles and showed us how the birds do the show for food. Overall, a nice stop over.

Then we were back in the vehicle to go to the next stop. The safari takes place in a conservation area. Each company has their own spot and the range of service differs from each other. The driver explained that we will have one more stop in the middle to see the sunset before the dinner stop.

While driving, we saw lots of wild animals. After 5 minutes drive, the driver asked us to fasten our seat belts as the ride get bumpy from that point forward. He assured us we would be safe. He then raced into the steep dune, swung around and slid down the slopes. It was like being in a rollercoaster as it is coming down. I was amazed at his driving skills as the car didn’t fall over. We could see the cars in front jumping up and down and knew that is exactly what ours was doing as well. Once we realised we would be safe we enjoyed it. Over the course of the next hour or so, we were tossed about in every possible direction, things were moving in different directions, heads banged together and I could hear screams of “aahh’ and “ wow”. Definitely, the highlight of the tour was the dune bashing. If you enjoy the thrills of safari rally driving, this is the best attraction.

Then we stopped to watch the sunset. It was one of the beautiful sites to see such an amazing view with your loved one by your side. Watching the sunset in the desert was very romantic. We took some nice photos and some silly ones too  🙂 .

Then we were back in the car for our final stop at the desert camp where we were to spend the rest of the evening. Camel rides and henna tattoos were available at no extra charge so we joined the queue to ride the camel. It was really fun. I had done a camel ride before in India but this was a bigger camel than that. We took photos perched atop the camel.

After that we stopped over to take photos with an eagle. I was a bit scared at the first but once it was in my hand, I felt better. It was so amazing to have the bird so close knowing how powerful it can be.

Finally we went to a desert camp for dinner and a display of traditional and belly dancing. The food was good and plentiful. There were wines and lots of soft drinks. While we were having dinner a belly dancer entertained us. I was a bit disappointed with the belly dancer as she was nothing close to the ones I have seen on TV but that might be just me.

After we finished dinner we went and got henna tattoos. AS got a tattoo of snake on his upper arm and I got flowers on my hand. The lady who did the henna was nice enough to do both my hands.  It was almost 10pm at night and they announced that we were going to leave soon so we gathered our things and went to the parking lot to meet our driver. It was almost a one and a half our drive back to the hotel so I rested until we got off and ran to the comfy bed.

It was a great desert safari that gave us the opportunity to experience the local traditional culture, enjoy the fascinating sights, have an adventurous drive, a camel ride and above all enjoying the delicious barbecue with ceremonious belly dancers dancing to the feel of Arabian music. It was a unique experience for a lifetime.

Please click here are some more photos.

More on Dubai

Let’s start with Amazing Dubai

Hello from the world’s tallest building: Burj Khalifa

The Dubai Mall, aquarium and underwater zoo

Dubai city, Souks , Marina, Dubai land & Deira City Centre

Horse Riding

Horse riding in Nepal

I like anything that challenges my guts. Horse riding fascinates me as it is about controlling the animal which is much bigger than you with a lead rope. I had done some horse riding before, once in Fiji, and then in Nepal and India. 

The riding I had done in Nepal and India were on open, flat ground. There is no fear of falling and breaking your bones as the horse handler is running next to you while you ride the horse. On top of that they are trained horses which don’t run.(I guess 🙂 ) 

Horse riding in Fiji

When I did some horse riding in Fiji, it was in the beach so I remember it as being quite fun. It was flat ground and we were only 4 in the group .The horses behaved really well. So while we were in Hunter, I didn’t even think twice when we decided to ride horses. I was just happy to do the activity. 

We reached the place 15 minutes late as we lost our way on the way there. It was really far away from the main area and our GPS didn’t help us. It was asking us to drive on dirt roads where you can’t take your car. Anyway other people in the group were waiting for us when we reached there. After hurrying to meet the ladies who run the farm and signing the waiver form, we were given helmets and a quick guide on what to do with the horse to command it to stop and move. Then we are given a horse and I was surprised that these horses seemed a bit bigger than the ones I had ridden before. 

Horse riding in Hunter

In their website they said, “Ride the unique and beautiful Molly Morgan Range, experiencing the spectacular views of the Hunter Valley Wine Country and Lower Hunter and as far North as Barrington Tops, the northern boundary of the Upper Hunter “so I was expecting it to be a relaxing horse riding in a ranch but I was not ready for what came next. 

I guess these horses are used to having people ride them all the time but the horse I was riding, named “Sunny” seemed to be a frisky one. PA and AS wanted their horses to be frisky and fast but their one’s were more tame, may be because they looked a bit old. But Sunny seem to be younger and a bit out of control from time to time.

While we were riding we were meant to form a straight line and follow the lady in the front but my horse didn’t want to follow the other horses, he just want to eat grass so I had to constantly pull his head up and push him to walk. We rode on a small hill so there were lots of ups and downs. Because my horse was more playful than others I was having a hard time controlling him. On top of that my bum was really hurting so I couldn’t wait to finish the ride. 

Horse riding in Nepal

As it was an hour and half ride, there were lots more to come before we finished the ride. We were taken to pond where all the horses were supposed to drink water. All the horses waited for their turn for the water but not Sunny. He just passed the line and rushed to the pond. I was scared at that point because I couldn’t stop him. I was scared to fall and break my bones. Finally I was able to control him for a while and slowly guided him to the pond. There he wanted to go deeper into the water than the other horses so I had to pull his lead rope hard to divert him from there and follow others to the farm. 

From time to time other horses would make some weird noises from the other farms which scared me , as Sunny seemed to be get more aggressive when he haers these noises. On top of that my friend PA was trying to gallop her horse from behind me which didn’t help either. At one point, our horses were so close that both of them looked like they were going to hit each other. 

Finally after what seemed like forever we were back at the farm and then only could I think straight. For much of the time, more than enjoying the great view of the farm and watching wallabies and other animals near the track, I was putting my strength in controlling Mr. Sunny. 

When I was relived that it was almost over, PA dropped the lead rope of her horse. I was scared because if the horse moved at that point, she could have fallen from the horse and hurt herself.  Also I was near her so if that horse had come running I could have gotten hurt as well. Luckily the lady from the ranch came back to rescue us.

Finally when Sunny was back in his stable I was happy to get off him. It was an adventurous ride but I am not too sure I want that experience again. I will defiantly ride a horse again but not on the hills or uneven surface. It is just too dangerous. On top of that my bum hurt for rest of the day.

Click here for more photos.

If you have interesting story about horse riding, please do share.

Oceanwalker : Swimming with the fishes

One of the good things about a tropical holiday is that you get to swim in a blue sea with lots of fishes. I love going snorkelling and meeting the locals from deep down in the water. 

During this holiday I got many occasions to do that. When we were on Hideaway Island we were able to go snorkelling in the deep blue water with a guide. We also did some snorkelling by ourselves in Eton Village and other beaches as well. 

I always want to go deeper in the coral but with snorkelling it is not possible, but in Vanuatu, I found Oceanwalker. It makes it  easy to enjoy the view underwater. I had done something similar before in the Great Barrier reef in Queensland but I was excited to try it out again . 

The website describes Oceanwalker as 

Oceanwalker Vanuatu brings you this exciting and innovative tourism experience, allowing you to explore the underwater world of tropical fish and coral reefs up close, with-out even getting your head wet. 

The Helmet Dive is the next step after snorkelling and is a fun way to discover what lies beneath. 

Your adventure in paradise starts with a short walk down a ramp into the water where the purpose-built helmet is lowered on to your shoulders and in no time at all your underwater experience begins spending up to 20 minutes walking on the sea floor to a maximum depth of 4 metres. 

The day of the dive, we were picked up at the hotel and were taken to the dive area by the short boat ride. The day was just perfect with the sun out and the blue sky. At the dive area there were 4 people who were there to help us through this amazing journey. 

We had one more group, a family joining us for the dive. 

First we were briefed by our PADI qualified instructors with instructions about the helmet dive equipment and we were given a form to sign our life away. 

Then the adventure began with a descent to the short ramp in the water, where a helmet is fitted on the head and then off you go. It was really a fun experience because you don’t have to worry about swimming or breathing. Air is continually pumped into the helmet so the water doesn’t rise above your shoulder even when you are 4 meters underwater. 

We met lots of fish down there including Nemo and the zebra fish. It was so cool. One of the instructors was with us all the time so there was no fear of getting lost or anything. He even caught a fish in his hand twice and gave it to me but the fish just escaped from my hand. 🙂 It was really fun experience. I also got to hold a sea cucumber. 

There were so many fish around us that we felt like kids running after it. I really enjoyed the whole experience and was sorry that it ended after around just 20 mins. The memory will live in me forever. 🙂 Click here for more photos.

Abseiling

I am one of those people who are really nervous at heart but love the heart racing adventures. I am always scared when I try out different adventurous things but the adrenalin that comes with the adventure always wins over my fear.

I have a long bucket list of things I want to do like Sky diving, swimming with the dolphins, Bungee jumping, Everest base camp trekking to name just a few. I am glad one of the things was checked off while we were in Vanuatu, and that was Abseiling.

When I was researching things to do in Vanuatu, abseiling was one of the things that came up and we decided to do it. I am scared of heights, especially when I know that the only thing that is holding me is a piece rope but somehow I convinced myself that it was going to be fun so I must do it.

Abseiling is a sport that involves climbing down the front of a large rock or a tall building while holding onto a rope. In our case it was more exciting as we were abseiling down a waterfall. The day we were meant to go for abseiling I was a little scared and a little excited. We went to the Mele Cascades and met our guide. The place looked beautiful and I saw so many tourists just walking around the waterfall. The guide gave us some safety instructions and the equipment and helmet. Also, I signed my life away saying I am responsible if anything happened to me during this adventure. We were joined by 2 other couples for this adventure.

Their website says the following about abseiling:

Vanuatu waterfall abseiling Vanuatu is a unique opportunity to experience Vanuatu and the Mele Cascades from a different angle. Anybody can walk to the Mele Cascades Waterfall but why follow the beaten track when Edge offers you the chance to abseil from the top of the Mele Cascades in the amazing rainforests of Vanuatu. While on tour with us you will have majestic views of the island only seen by those who dare to experience the adventure Vanuatu has to offer.

This award winning tour will see you abseil 50 metres down the Mele Cascade waterfall in two 25 metre pitches. You will receive encouragement and one on one instruction from our friendly instructors at the 8 metre practice cliff. After the abseil you are guided through the stunningly beautiful Mele Cascades, so you will see the whole thing from Top to Bottom.

So I was quite excited to start the adventure. But no one mentioned to me in trip advisor that there was almost a half hour long intense hike before we reach the place to start the abseiling. It was a hot and humid day so when we finished our hike all of us were sweaty, hot and tired. Thankfully there was water available on top of the hill for us to drink. The view from the top was amazing as well. There were 4 more people waiting for us at the waterfall. They helped us put on all the harness and show us how things work.

First we did a practice session on an 8m cliff where we were shown how to take control of our decent. It was really good as it gave me confidence to do the real one. They even let us do the practice session twice so that I could practice how to use my hands to control my decent with the rope.

When we were at the top of the falls for the real decent, I looked down and for a second I wanted to back out. I realised then that 50m is really high but I had no choice but to go for the descent. It was not very difficult as I was able to guide my descent with my hand on the rope behind my back so I could get a good position with one leg before I made a move with my other leg. It was really fun and amazing. The water was flowing down from the top as I went down and it was sometimes hard to open the eyes but every minute was such a great adventure. When I got to the bottom of the falls I thought that the first leg was over and was excitedly waiting for more. Imagine my reaction when AS told me that, that was it. I really wanted to do more J

On the way back we walked past the beautiful waterfall where people were swimming and cooling off. Once we reached the bottom, our guide brought us some fruits and juice and we had some while watching our photos which he and his team had taken.

Overall, very beautiful and fun experience. Click here for some photos.