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.