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One of our regular pilots in Nepal - Graham Saunders - has devoted a lot of time lately to exploring the paragliding opportunities in Thailand. Over the first half of 2013, Graham, Matty Senior & Brad Sander scoured the province of Prachuap Khiri Khan for flying potential, and have discovered some truly amazing places to fly there. Their innovative use of a highly specified winch boat has opened up some very exciting flying opportunities. From outstanding coastal soaring sites, to inland reservoirs surrounded by mountains and some great foot launch sites, this is a brand spanking new, just out of the box, awesome flying region which has got everyone curious.
Framed by coconut plantations, pineapple fields and dense jungle-covered mountains, the province of Prachuap Khiri Khan is one of the last undiscovered gems in the Gulf of Thailand. Not only is the coastline spectacularly beautiful with a handful of National Parks and iconic landmarks, it is also an area that has escaped exploitation.
We are super stoked to offer 2 Thailand Paragliding Tours in March & April 2015! Be sure to book up quickly if you're interested in joining either of the tours as many of the tour spaces have already been filled. So here are the details...
Our Thailand tours are 11 days long, with 8/9 flying days (4 tow days & 4 foot launch days). Each tour has a maximum of 6 pilots. Our base is a luxury villa / condo a short distance from the town of Pak Nam Pran, a traditional squid fishing village some 300km south of Bangkok. The town has excellent facilities with restaurants, hotels, bars and shops within easy reach. The food - well... of course it's amazing. The villa is a short distance from the main beach, and right in the middle of our flying area. A scooter is included in the tour price, assuring you the freedom to get out & explore whenever you want.
We kick off with a towing / SIV clinic at a beautiful reservoir 30kms from the ocean. This is a huge freshwater lake surrounded by hills where we can master the art of tow launching and get comfortable under the wing again with some work on instability in our SIV clinic.
In the following days, we will fly the coastal mountain ranges of Pak Nam Pran and Sam Roi Yot, launching right from the beach. With names like Dolphin's Bay & Paradise Beach you get the picture- it's not hard to imagine the scene. One minute you're into a delicious squid salad on the beach, the next you're topping out on a tow at 900m asl, and heading straight into the first of many clouds as you connect the cloud street to the mountain ranges in the interior.
We then head 300km south - to Chumphon - home to some of the most tantalising beaches you've ever seen. We go scuba diving here in the crystal clear and fish rich waters just a few kms from our lodges on the beach. Then we head to the local flying site - a 3km ridge with foot launches facing most directions that is especially good in the late afternoon.
Back in Pak Nam Pran for some XC flying for a few more days, we build on our knowledge of the area, and choose our flying venue according to the conditions. Khao Den is a foot launch site about 75km to the north / north west of Pak Nam Pran, from which big flights are possible. We head there on a day trip to get acquainted with the area. The following day, we have the option to try and connect the two areas with some breathtaking XC flying.
We round off with a night out in Hua Hin (if you haven't flown too far and are still being retrieved), and some of the best seafood you have ever tasted.
In the event that we have unsuitable conditions for paragliding, we have teamed up with a local kiteboarding outfit so you can get out on the water instead! Pak Nam Pran is an up-and-coming kiteboarding spot. If you've never kiteboarded before, then a bad day for flying could well be the perfect opportunity to give it a try.
We will be using a Jetcraft 18' boat with a 200hp Mercury Optimax jet-drive. On board, a SuperTow Hydraulic Payout Winch with 5500' of dyneema line powered by a 15hp Honda engine. Tow launching is safe, fun and incredibly rewarding - all it takes is a few tows to get acquainted with the procedure. If you haven't been towed before, this is a great opportunity to learn in a safe and professional environment.
February to April is the thermal season in Thailand, where big distances are possible. The prevailing wind is from the South at this time of year, although there is often a westerly element at higher elevations. The climate is tropical, so the thermals start early at around 8am. The thermals are wide and friendly - averaging around 2-3m/s. On the coast, some of the best thermic flying is in the morning between 8-11am. As the day progresses & around lunchtime, the sea breeze starts to kick in, bringing a number of great coastal soaring sites into play. Or if you have got your timing right, this is the time at which you head inland to the flatlands and the internal mountain ranges on XC. The beauty of this area is that it is possible to enjoy fantastic flying in the morning and through lunchtime, but if the sea-breeze becomes too strong for flying, we can break out our kiteboarding kit and enjoy some of the best kiteboarding conditions in Thailand.
Your Frontiers tour leader is Graham Saunders. Graham has been on the Frontiers team for over 10 years and has led a number of our flying tours in Nepal over recent years. He is joined by Matty Senior and Brad Sander from 300 Peaks Paragliding - both of whom have worked for Frontiers in the past as tandem pilots and with whom Graham discovered and mapped out this wonderful new flying arena. Graham has spent the last 4 winter seasons in this part of Thailand so he is very familiar with the area, the facilities and logistics. Many of our previous clients will know Graham very well; he has been with Frontiers since our very beginning.
Matty Senior and Brad Sander make up the rest of your guiding team. You could not ask for a more qualified team to guide you on your tropical flying adventure.