RISING ABOVE: THE BEAUTY OF PARAGLIDING
--By Dawn Reid Translated
by Annie Liu
Next time someone says "go jump
off a cliff" your response can be: "Sure,
if you're paying for it!" Even better is the fact
that it's neither difficult, nor that expensive to enjoy
paragliding in south Taiwan. For NT$1250 you can get
a pilot to take you on a 20-minute (depending on conditions)
tandem flight. Two such pilots are Mr. Su (0912 174
174 - Chinese only) and Sunny (0955 127 572 - speaks
decent English); they are both qualified and experienced,
love being in the air and are actively trying to get
more people involved in this exciting pastime.
Tandem flights are very safe and don't
take any training as you are fully looked after. If
you want to learn to fly on your own however, you will
need to go through a training course. Mr. Su and Sunny
can help you with this too, or at least put you on the
right path. English-speakers can also contact long-time
Kaohsiung County resident, and flying enthusiast, Jaco
Herbst (0961 069 721) for more information on tandem
flights and becoming a pilot.
Exciting as it may be, paragliding
is also one of the most relaxing and scenic adventure
sports there is and its readily available every weekend,
weather permitting. Taiwan offers almost ideal flying
conditions and there are many jump sites. Closest to
Kaohsiung is Sai Chia, east of Pingtung. The pilots
will happily provide you with detailed directions to
the landing zone. Once you get there ask the locals
how to get up to the launch site, or simply head up
the hill through a brown arch, take the second left
to the very top and you're made it. To get down put
on a helmet, strap yourself in and run.
For more information on flying in Taiwan
visit, www.wingstaiwan.com. (Also have a look at www.ushga.org,
for information on international standards.)
From Pingtung, take Highway 27 heading northeast.
In the small town of Taisan, turn left at the main crossroads
then stay to your right. Cross the small Kuangfu Bridge,
the mountain will be on your left. Turn left immediately
after the bridge and follow the winding road to a fork.
Look out for the landing zone on your left.