Sunday 17 November 2013

Malaysia: Paragliding in Jugra and Conquering the Fear of Heights

Gloomy morning when we arrived at Jugra Hill

I remember the first time I realised that I might have a fear of heights. It was during a school trip to Paris and we were travelling on the elevator going up to the rooftop of La Grande Arche de la Defense. There’s nothing unusual about that apart from the fact that the elevator has glasses on all its four walls and that it is supported only by a scaffolding that rises from the floor to the rooftop some 100 meters above.

My hands simply started shaking out of control the moment the elevator moved and I immediately felt like lying down on the floor of the elevator. That was of course out of question so I just closed my eyes instead and missed out the view of La Defense district and Paris in general while going up to the rooftop.

The place where it all started - see the "scaffolding" there? 

Since then, I have had different experience when dealing with heights. I do not have any problem flying in an aeroplane. In fact I do prefer a window seat because I love the view from high above. I have also flown in a hot air balloon in Luxor, Egypt – a decision I made after much hesitation - and actually enjoyed the ride overlooking the crop fields and temples in the area. I have walked along the small bridge that connects the spires of La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona and felt nervous when I saw other people up there who were experiencing acrophobia right there in front of me.

Based on these experiences, I personally do not know when or how my fear of heights could be triggered. So imagine my reservation when I was told that flying was one of the activities that I have to do as an ‘Xplorer’ when I joined Tourism Selangor’s #TSBreakAway 5-day programme. The options for flying were:
  1. piloting an aircraft from Subang Skypark;
  2. paramotor in Pulau Indah; or
  3. paragliding in Jugra.

Naturally I wanted to fly an aircraft because in my mind, that's the safest bet but we the Xplorers could not pick and choose what we want to do. Unfortunately I was assigned to do the paramotor activity in Pulau Indah.

When the day came, I was actually still feeling under the weather. Viral fever and almost non-stop coughing were taking their toll on me. I thought I was going to feel nervous about doing the paramotor activity but I didn’t feel anything. We arrived at Jugra for the paragliding team to do their activity first early in the morning before we head out to Pulau Indah for some paramotor activity in the afternoon. The weather and the wind in Jugra however were not good for paragliding at that time. 

It turned out that the weather in Pulau Indah was not good either for any paramotor activity. So our hosts in Jugra, husband-and-wife team and the founders of Persatuan Luncur Udara Malaysia, Capt. (R) Ikhwan Azillah and Puan Orkid Jamilah brought us to their cabin near the landing field. There we listened to some briefing from Puan Orkid and watched some video footage showing the experience of those who have jumped off Jugra Hill and flown together with Captain. Some of the footages are quite funny especially those of guys who are afraid of heights. Okay, I know it’s not nice laughing at others but seriously, those footages are just funny. We were all laughing at the videos although I did detect some nervous laugh too.

We waited and waited for the wind to be in the right direction. In between, some of us went to check out some historical places in Jugra. And we went to check out the river too.

The waiting game by the river

And then the time came. The wind was just right. The weather was just nice. The river has turned green.

It was time to start flying...

Puan Orkid told us, those who are afraid of heights and feeling nervous, should have a go first. I just kept quiet. The truth is I didn’t feel anything. I didn’t feel nervous. In fact I thought my heart was beating very slow I had to pinch myself a few times to make sure that I was not dreaming. I guess having a fever could make you feel a bit numb sometimes.

Irene volunteered to be the first to fly. She was followed by Adam, Jessie, Khai, Juan and Joyce. I was to be the last. While waiting, I busied myself helping out with the "parachute" and taking some video footage. I watched in awe when every one of the Xplorers ran and simply jumped off the hill and started flying. The view was just amazing. It made me wonder what the experience would be like for me to fly like them.

I debated with myself. I suppose I could have pulled out and cited the fever as an excuse. But where’s the fun in that, eh? Ha ha! I believe if we have any kind of fear, we should just face it and see if we can conquer it. Do not let it prevent you from experiencing new things or enjoying life in general. Just as the saying goes, “there’s nothing to fear but fear itself”.

And so eventually it was my turn. I still didn’t feel nervous; my heart beat was still slow. I pinched myself again and again... 

First attempt, failed.

Second attempt, failed.

Third attempt, Captain and I finally managed to jump off the hill and we soared to the sky.

The rest, as they say, is history...

So did I like the ride? No, I didn’t like the ride. I L.O.V.E the ride. 

Would I do it again? Yes, of course, in a heart beat, again and again and again. 

Have I conquered my fear of heights? Frankly, I don’t know. What I know is I want to try skydiving next! :-)

What about you? Do you have any kind of fear that might prevent you from enjoying your travels? If you do, how do you manage it?

This is the 5th out of 5 entries for #TSBreakAway ]

Thank you Tourism Selangor for the opportunity to join #TSBreakAway programme; and to all sponsors (incl. Empire Hotel, Subang Jaya, Travelmate Magazine, Travelution Magazine, Majalah Fotografika, Damansara Performing Arts Centre and Canon) for making #TSBreakAway 2013 an awesome programme!

For more information on paragliding in Jugra, Hulu Langat, Selangor, kindly contact Captain (R) Ikhwan Azillah and/or Puan Orkid Jamilah at Persatuan Luncur Udara Malaysia.

Apart from paragliding activity, Jugra also hosts a few interesting historical places that would make it a good day/ weekend trip destination. These historical sites include old District Office, Ammunition Store, old Police Station, old well, Istana Jugra (Jugra Palace), Istana Bandar (Town Palace) and royal mausoleum.

For other www.rambleandwander.com blog entries on #TSBreakAway, click here.

To follow Tourism Selangor, check out their Facebook page or Twitter account.


Comments and feedback are always appreciated. So do leave one or two if you have the time. Thank you!

  1. Sounds like a lot of fun, luckily I don't have a fear for height and reading this post makes me wanna do it!

    1. It was fun and I really enjoyed it! Would totally recommend everyone to try paragliding at least once. So if you have the chance, go for it! :-)

  2. skydiving? are you sure pakcik? =P

  3. woww coool.. my first parasailing was in Bali, only 15 minute.. think gonna try this paradigling :D

    1. 15 minutes?? What if you want to pee? Hahaha! ;-) Yes, if you have the chance, do try it. I totally loved the experience.

  4. bestnyer dpt paragliding.. always wanted to try but didnt hv chance yet..mayb will make a trip there soon.

    1. Memang best! And it's not just me saying it. All the other 6 Xplorers said the same thing and all want to do it again. So cepat buat trip ke sana! ;-)

  5. Pakcik you scared of heights? I didn't know that until I read this post.

  6. Paragliding looks fun!! But that's the reason I did not even try to apply. Sebab takuutttt!! T___T

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