The scenic and fertile mountain stretch between the Salak, Gede and Pangrango volcanoes near the town of Bogor has long been the favored resort since Dutch colonial times. Puncak or the Peak is the highest point on this scenic route that takes one from the capital city, Jakarta to Bandung, before the road slopes down into the interior of West Java. Here are swathes of neat tea plantations stretching as far as the eyes can see.
From Puncak you have a grand panoramic view on the valleys below with mountain peaks on the side. And what can be a more thrilling experience with your adrenaline rising than majestically gliding down amidst this grand panorama.
And, indeed, today, Puncak has become the favored spot for for the paragliding sport with fans coming from all ages.
Paragliding is the recreational and competitive adventure sport of flying paragliders, which are lightweight, free-flying, foot-launched glider aircraft with no rigid primary structure and no engines whatsoever. The pilot sits in a harness suspended below a fabric wing that consists of a large number of interconnected baffled cells. The wing shaped canopy is maintained by suspension lines, while the pressure of air enters vents in the front of the wing with the aerodynamic forces of air flowing over its outer canopy.
Paragliding was first introduced at Puncak around the early 1990’s by the Aero Sport Federation of Indonesia (FASI), centered on a hill not too far from the picturesque At-Ta’awun Mosque (about 700 meters).
Those who do not have the necessary equipment nor a paragliding license can still participate since there are quite a number of paragliding operators and experienced pilots who are more than prepared to show the breathtaking beauty of Puncak from the air. By tandem glide with an experienced pilot, anyone can experience the sheer sensation of gliding freely in the blue sky over vast, lush tea plantations. With the span of the parachute reaching a width of up to 10 meters, a pilot or instructor and a “passenger” can glide together, in tandem. The position of the instructor is in the back and controlling the glide, while the passenger sits in front. These instructors, commonly referred to as paraboys are some of the most skilful gliders, among whom are in fact champions in national paragliding competitions.
Before gliding, participants need to fill a form. They are also required to wear all safety gear including harness, helmet, and shoes for safety landing. It is also advised to wear a pair of long pants (not shorts) since the air here can be quite chilly, besides as safety measure.
A 10-15 minutes glide in the air surrounded by the beautiful scenery of looming moutains, deep valleys cliffs, towns and lush green landscape below is surely a most unforgettable experience.
The average altitude glide usually given to passengers is between 1,500 to 1,900 feet. However, professional paragliding athletes are able to fly up to 3,000 feet and may even glide from mountain to mountain. While in flight, you are welcome to communicate with the instructor and can also take pictures. A “selfie” at way up there, flying free in the sky is surely something you can brag about to your friends.
Approaching landing, make sure your feet are stretched straight as is the procedure. The operator’s crew will help you get up and tidy up the parachute. There is no age limit in this recreational sport, however, there is a weight limit for passengers, since the instructor can only carry those with a weight range between 25 kg to 95 kg.
If you are interested and are eager to try the sensation of gliding free into the blue sky you can contact paragliding operators: Fly Puncak that you can contact at www.flypuncak.com, or Paragliding Indonesia at www.paragliding-indonesia.com. It costs around Rp 300, 000 for a one time flight.
Puncak is situated about two hours by car from Jakarta. That is, if you can avoid the traffic jams. So, best reach Puncak early in the morning even before 7.0 am, before the rush starts especially at weekends and public holidays. There are plenty of restaurants and hotels on the route and around Puncak to stop and have your cup of coffee or breakfast before you start on your paragliding adventure.