Freeflying in Taiwan
Written and photos by Colin Brown Translated by Annie Liu
People have always wanted to soar like eagles, and Jaco Herbst helps them do just that. Listening to the wind in your hair while a hawk cries and sparrows dance below your feet is an amazing experience--"Surf the Broccoli," as paragliders say, which means watching your feet dangle over the canopy.
Above you, an amazing curtain of blue sky with great cotton balls of pure white clouds, while SanDieMen Mountain unfurls behind you and, on a clear day, a tiny glimpse of Kaohsiung and ShiaoLiuChiu peeks out of the fog in the distance. The air doesn't get any fresher than up there.
If you want to see the world from a completely different perspective, then pack your sneakers, hat, and sun lotion, and seek out Jaco Herbst. He's always willing to share this fantastic experience with others. The ride isn't too intimidating when you strap yourself to an experienced pilot and share a tandem flight; they'll fly the glider and worry about the takeoff and landing, and you can just relax, enjoy and watch the world disappear below you. Take photos if you like, but make sure to have a good hold on your camera.
Jaco often picks up interested paragliders at the B&Q store on Mintzu Road in SanMin district; he then drives them out to SaiJia for the day--his SUV has room for five. Take a book, go for a run on the mountain paths, or enjoy Taiwanese BBQ and drinks at the small food stand next to the Landing Zone. Flights are fully insured and cost NT$1,500, including paraglider and a pilot. Tandem flights last up to 30 minutes. The great thing about SaiJia, is that its location provides consistent flying all year round.
For a family trip, bring your bicycle and ride up the mountain to the Launch Zone, or if you want to just relax, get dropped off at the top and just ride down. Nearby are the SanDieMen and MaoLin hot springs, if you want to extend your visit.
For more information, contact:
Tel: 0961-069-721 English and Chinese.
Address: SaiJia District, PingTung County