Do you love adventure? Well, you have come to the right place! Nepal has always been a paradise for adventure seekers and travelers from all over the world. Besides being widely known for trekking and mountaineering, this landlocked nation has plenty of other adventure sports to offer. So, what are they, let’s find out!
What’s an adventure sport, you ask? It may go by other names like Extreme Sports and Action Sports. But any sport that demands tolerance to high speed, high altitude, and requires a very high level of physical and mental exertion is an extreme sport. Whatever you call it, adventure sports is loved by all, and many thrill-seeking junkies come to Nepal to live that dream of chasing adventures.
And here are the top 5 up-and-coming extreme sports in Nepal:
1. Skydiving over Everest and Pokhara
Parachuting, or popularly known as skydiving, is an adventure sport in which a person jumps out of a small plane, carrier aircraft, or a helicopter flying at the altitude of some 13,000 ft to 14,000 ft. The person experiences free fall for a certain time (say for a couple of minutes) before deploying a parachute and landing safely on the ground. The landing area where skydivers are supposed to land is referred to as a Drop Zone.
So, you thought jumping out of an airplane that’s some 13000 ft to 14000 ft high in the air was scary! Try skydiving from over 29,500 ft, crossing the spectacular Himalayas from the top. This is taking adventure literally to the greatest height and making it more perilous.
But, there are some crazy people as some may call them who dare to do the unimaginable! This act goes by the name EVEREST SKYDIVE.
Everest Skydive is performed every year in November when the weather conditions are perfect for the jumps and for the magnificent views of the Himalayas. This adventure sport is organized by Everest Skydive Pvt. Ltd. and Explore Himalaya Travel & Adventure.
If you haven’t performed skydive before and don’t know how to, go for the Tandem Skydiving. In a tandem jump, you are tied together with a professional skydiver, with whom you’ll make the jump. This way, you can be safe and enjoy, jumping out of plane or a chopper, at the same time.
It costs US $25,000 for a single jump, over Syangboche – the highest drop zone in the world, lying at an altitude of 12,350 ft, with a visit to Ama Dablam Base Camp. As for tandem skydiving, it costs US $35,000 for a single jump, over Syangboche, with a visit to Ama Dablam Base Camp. Here is a peak at the price details for this adventure sport.
Besides parachuting over the Himalayas, skydiving is also performed over the beautiful City of Lakes – Pokhara. This one is for those who want to do it for a lighter fair compared to Everest Skydive. But don’t worry; the thrill is still the same. The drop zone for Pokhara Skydive is at Pame Danda, just west of famous Phewa Lake.
Pokhara Skydive is also organized in the month of November every year. It costs US $350 per jump for solo skydive and US $650 per jump for tandem skydivers. Skydivers need to jump from AS 350 B3/B2 helicopter flying at an attitude of 11,000 ft – 13,000 ft. And the price details for this one, see here.
For details on Everest Skydive and Skydiving in Pokhara, please contact:
Everest Skydive Adventure
Amrit Marg, Bhagwan Bahal
Thamel, Kathmandu, NEPAL
Tel: +977 1 4418 100 or 4418 400
Fax: +977 1 4412 888
2. Ultra Marathons in the Himalayas
Now, it’s a well known fact that Nepal is famous for trekking, but did you know about the different Ultra Marathons held in the Himalayas of Nepal? I bet you didn’t!
Ultra marathon is a form of trail running which is basically a long race contested in stages. The race may sometimes take days to finish. As for the ultra marathons held in the mountains here, they are many in number and forms. It is getting recognized all over the world, and loved by everyone who has done it or seen it.
But the most popular ones have to be the races around the mountainous terrain, on the trekking trails of Everest, Annapurna and Manaslu. Even to get to the starting point of the race trail, runners have to trek for weeks. This way, they can enjoy the great experience of trekking in Nepal, as well as get acclimatized to the high altitude.
Manaslu Ultra Marathon: Manaslu Ultra Marathon takes 7 days to finish, so it is divided into 7 stages to cover 212 km of the race. Participants of this race need to cross one of the highest passes in Nepal – Larkya La, situated at 5100m, and continue running by the glaciers near Manaslu Base Camp. The highlights of Manaslu Ultra Marathon have to be the Birendra Tal, a serene lake, and the majestic Mt. Manaslu – the 8th highest mountain in the world. For more information and registration for the race, see here.
Race at the bottom of Annapurna: The racing contests, held around the 10th tallest mountain in the world – Annapurna, include Annapurna Marathon, Annapurna 100 and Annapurna Ultra Mountain. The fun Annapurna Marathon begins from Annapurna Base Camp lying at an elevation of 4130 and ends in Dhampus, Pokhara. The first Annapurna Marathon was held on 3rd June, 2011.
Annapurna 100, a 100 km race, takes around 12 hours to complete. It spans from Phewa Lake in Pokhara to Poon Hill and back. Contestants get to enjoy the view of landscapes surrounding the track and as well as the views of Dhaulagiri from the viewpoint in Poon Hill. There is also a shorter version of this race with only 50 km long racing trail. The next race is going to be organized on February 28 in 2015. To know more about race schedule, registration and payment, see here.
As for the race organized by Chevaliers du vent, a team of French trail running fanatics, Annapurna Ultra Mountain (AUM) is truly a hard race. This one spans for just one day, covering 72 km of hiking trails. Now beat that! AUM was started only in 2012 and the next one is being held on October 26th of 2016.
Everest Marathon: Also known as Tenzing Hillary Everest Marathon, this race was started in honor of Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary, the first people to stand on the highest mountain in the world – Everest. This race holds the record for being organized at the highest elevation in the world.
It is held every year on 29th May. It spans over a single day and covers 42 km. As this is the highest marathon in the world, the runners need to reach the highest point on the trekking route, on Kala Patthar at 5545 m. The race starts from Everest Base Camp and finishes at Namche Bazaar. Along with Everest Marathon, there is also Everest Ultra Run which covers 65 km of trekking trail, from Gorak Shep to Lukla.
If you love trail running, then check out more of the trail races that are going to be organized here.
3. Snowboarding on the Himalayas
Like so many other adventure sports in Nepal, Snowboarding in Himalayas exists as a hidden gem! It goes for all trail blazers and pioneers! Numerous snow-capped mountains here offer snowboarders and skiers a chance to show and hone their skills. They offer a chance to relish in the fact that they have snowboarded and skied on some of the highest mountains in the world!
Snowboarding is slowly but steadily getting popular here. There are still a lot of hooves & ropes that one needs to get around, in order to snowboard their way down from some of the magnificent snowy mountains in the Himalayas of Nepal. These hurdles are so worth it, as you get to slide down the snowy mountains in Everest, Annapurna, Dhaulagiri and Humla regions of Nepal.
Some of the mountains on which people have successfully snowboarded are Cho Oyu, the sixth highest mountain in the world. It was the first ‘8 thousander’ to be snowboarded by Kristoffer Ericson, a ski mountaineer from Montana, USA, on 1st October, 2002.
See what it’s like snowboarding down the beautiful Mera Peak, a story by Soren Egeberg.
See the interview with World Food Program Representative and snowboarder Richard Ragan about his experience on snowboarding in the Himalayas of Nepal and a lot of cool pictures.
Photographer Andrew Miller captures one of the most intriguing and difficult shot of snowboarder Jeremy Jones snowboarding in Everest region, for extreme photo of the week contest in The National Geographic Adventure.
HELISKINEPAL offers rides to the snowboarders and skiers, willing or snowboard or ski, till the top of the mountain of their choice. So, take on this adventure sport and get your share of adventure in Nepal.
Enjoy carving those beautiful lines snaking down the mountain in the Himalayas!
4. Bungy Jump & Canyon Swing
Bungy or Bungee Jump is an adventure sport where you are secured with a harness and tied to a large elastic cord on the legs, designed especially for these jumps. You are then asked to jump off from a tall structure either a building, bridge or dam. The thrill and fear of jumping off from such a great height increases adrenaline rush that many seem to enjoy.
Bungy jumping is popular all over the world and Nepal is no exception. Both local and foreign travelers in the country go for this sport to have their share of the fun. Bungy jumping spot in Nepal is situated near The Last Resort and is about 110 km away from Kathmandu. The distance can be covered by around 4 hours of ride in a public transport and around 3 hours in a private vehicle.
The raging river making its dramatic way through the gorge, 525 m below the bridge, is the view that you get. The chilly wind works through your face and body when you leap off from the steel suspension bridge, spreading over a 160 m high gorge. Up for this action sport? The day trip for bungy jumping will cost you €85, which includes lunch and transport.
As for the Canyon Swing, it is a bit different from bungy jumping. In this action-packed sport, your whole body is put in a harness and not just the legs. Like bungee, you jump from the edge of the bridge and the support staffs swing your body like a pendulum in the clock.
You body hangs upside down in the middle of thin air, because of the full-body harness, and you’ll love the sensation of swinging back and forth in the middle of the canyon. This sport costs €105 with the overnight stay at the Last Resort.
You have the option of swinging alone or with someone else. Swing with a company is known as Tandem Swing. Most people do it with their beloved one or with their friends. It definitely enhances the value of your time, as you are able to share the scare and thrill together making it a memorable experience. Tandem swing day trip costs about €150 and tandem swing with night stay at the resort costs around €190.
Bungy jumping has been in operation in Nepal for around 11 years and till date, there has not been a single accident either on the bridge or during the jumps. So, you can relax, it’s pretty safe. And the same goes for canyon swing too. Have a fun taking the leap of faith!
5. Ultralight Flight in Pokhara
So, what’s an ultralight? It’s a small light-weight plane which can carry up to two persons – a pilot and a passenger. Soaring in the sky of Pokhara and admiring the beauty of Annapurna Mountain in close proximity is possible through Ultralight.
It is used as a recreational flight and has an average speed of 80km/hr. Ultralight is gaining popularity both between tourists and the locals. It provides them an opportunity to view the beautiful Pokhara valley and the adjacent mountains up from the sky. It is admired tremendously by people who want to capture the beauty of Pokhara’s landscape through their lens. Passengers also get the feel of closeness to the mountains like the iconic Machhapuchhre aka Mt. Fishtail.
Different companies are providing the ultralight services in Pokhara, among them is Avia Club Nepal. It offers 4 packages for ultralight flights:
- Fly for fun (15 minutes over the city of Pokhara)
- Glory of Mt Fishtail (30 minutes over and around Pokhara valley)
- Mountain Sky Trek (60 minutes of an overview of Annapurna range)
- Into the Heart of the Mountains (90 minutes like the name suggests right into the heart of the mountains)
The price range for this ranges from around $95 to $390. The flight schedules may change or get cancelled as per the weather conditions. For more on this slice of adventure, see here.
Well, now you know that there is more to Nepal even in extreme action sports held in Nepal. If you haven’t performed these then what’s stopping you? Go for it!
There will be a lot more to come on these sports in future, so, tell us which adventure sport in Nepal is your favorite one, even if it is not on this particular list, and if you have stories about your experience with such sports in Nepal, do share with us. We would love to hear them all!