What’s the best way to have a good glimpse of some of the world’s best beaches? A bird’s eye view.
The beauty of parasailing is that it requires no skills and experience. Anyone who meets the safety requirements set by individual operators will be able to soar up in the air and enjoy a panoramic view of the sea and beyond.
Parasailing has a history that traces back to the 1960s, when French aerospace engineer Pierre-Marcel Lemoigne designed the first “ascending-gliding parachute” to better train parachutists.
These specially designed parachutes allowed parachutists to ascend and descend without the reliance on aircraft. A car, truck or speedboat may provide similar propulsion that drives an individual into the air and from there, practise landing.
In modern times, there are two types of take-offs for recreational parasailing. One is from the back of the boat, where one will be gently lifted by a parachute attached to a rope. The other requires a quick walk or jog along the beach before sailing off into the air.
Feel free to discuss with your captains whether you’d like your feet to touch the water or to do something more adventurous. There is no best time of the day to parasail even though most tours depart early.
The mornings tend to promise smoother rides and clearer views of the ocean while later in the afternoon may sometimes be windy.
Before you plan your itinerary for your next travel plan overseas, whether you’re backpacking on your own or visiting with the family, take a look at these eight top parasailing destinations in the world. One of them may just get your journey to the sea started.
1. Phuket, Thailand
There are many reasons why travellers love Phuket. Its sumptuous food, cultural heritage, and unforgettable underwater landscape. From those who are eyeing for a perfect family vacation to short weekend getaways, Phuket has it all.
Being an island, Phuket has no lack of beaches for parasailing activities. Patong Beach, being its epicentre, is the location where many visitors try the sport for the very first time. If you do not like the crowd, arrive before 7:00am for a solitary breather, and you’ll get to enjoy a quiet, spectacular view of sunrise.
If you’d like food, activities and sightseeing all under one roof, Kata Beach is probably the best parasailing spot you should head to. The 1.5km-long golden sand is filled with shops, restaurants, and resorts. There are also many wandering vendors selling water, fruits and ice cream.
A typical parasailing ride at Phuket starts around 1700THB (approximately S$65.60). There are many parasailing operators in the area. Visitors not only have to learn the art of bargaining but pay attention to whether these operators are licensed.
Besides, watch out for the red flag during monsoon seasons, that’s an indication that the water is too rough for swimming. As of now, there are as many as 11 direct flights from Changi Airport to Phuket every day.
2. Goa, India
Goa is probably the most visited spot in India after Agra, home to the beautiful Taj Mahal. The state is a must-go for parasailing and watersports enthusiasts as it’s dotted with pristine beaches and breathtaking coastlines.
Some of the well-known beaches include Calangute, Majorda, and Baga. Calangute beach offers a remarkable view of the majestic Fort Aguada. It’s a well-preserved Portuguese fort and lighthouse dating back to the 17th century. Every year, tourists flock here to experience the thrill over the Arabian Sea.
Parasailing at Calangute beach costs around INR1000 (approximately S$17.00) per person. Each flight lasts about 10min, depending on the weather and number of participants.
If you’d like to catch a spectacular view of Goa, Majorda beach is the place. The wild and untamed waves in the area make the parasailing flight more adventurous. Do not worry too much, there are lifeguards stationed at the beach, supervising and rendering help when needed.
Majorda is also one of the most affordable places for parasailing. The price starts from INR800 (approximately S$13.70) per person. Apart from parasailing, Goa also has a buzzing nightlife and some of the most unique cuisine in the region that visitors should not miss.
Presently, there is no direct flight from Changi Airport to Goa. Visitors can transit in Mumbai and take a 1.5hr domestic flight to Goa International Airport.
3. Boracay, The Philippines
The small island in the centre of the Philippines is best known for its resorts and beaches. It is often named one of the top destinations for relaxation and tranquillity because of its laid-back vibe.
So, if you prefer a quieter location to enjoy parasailing in Southeast Asia, Boracay is most likely the destination. Visitors can expect to see the white sand beaches, palm trees and a spectacular view of the whole island during their parasail journey.
They may also catch a glimpse of the nearby islands as Boracay is also a popular spot for island hopping. From Crocodile Island, Crystal Cave Island to Puka Beach, parasailing at Boracay is more than just a thrill, it’s also a great chance to indulge in the gorgeous scenery.
Prices start at 1720PHP (S$41.59) per person for a 15-minute flight. One will be taken to about 500ft (approximately 152m); for those who are afraid of height, do inform the captain as he/she will keep you comfortable at around 30ft (approximately nine metres).
There is no direct flight from Changi Airport to Boracay. Visitors can transit at Manila and take a short 1hr domestic flight to Caticlan Airport or Kalibo International Airport. From there, take a short boat ride to Boracay Island from Caticlan Port.
The Indian Ocean island nation has coastal waters that come with some of the most beautiful beaches and lagoons but this is not all.
Both Grand Bay that lies in the northwest and Belle Mare in the east are popular parasailing sites. They each offer a panoramic view of the island nation and her picturesque landscape.
At Grand Bay, visitors may find themselves sandwiched between lush, green forests and the endless blue water. At Belle Mare, there are sandy beaches and a launching pod for take-off.
A solo parasailing trip in Mauritius starts from EUR30-35 (approximately S$42-49), with flight time about 6 to 10 minutes depending on the weather condition and wind.
Parasailing lovers may also choose to fly on Ile aux Cerfs, a private island on the east of Mauritius. This is where the nation’s largest lagoon - Trou d’Eau Douce is. The area is also known for its dense vegetation.
The cost of parasailing at Ile aux Cerfs is cheaper at around EUR24 (approximately S$33) but there is a EUR12 (approximately S$16.90) transfer fee.
There is no direct flight from Changi Airport to Mauritius. Visitors can transit at Dubai towards Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport, the main international airport of Mauritius.
5. Greater Sydney, Australia
It used to be possible to admire the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney Opera House, and the breathtaking landscape from Darling Harbour to Manly Wharf from 450ft in the air. Phil and Linda Bird owned and operated the only parasailing service at Sydney Harbour since 1991 but they had sadly closed in 2015.
Fret not, if you’d still like to try the sport but don’t want to sway too far from the city, Port Stephens may be the next best alternative.
About three hours’ drive from Sydney, Port Stephens is an idyllic destination for recreational aquatic activities in Australia, from surfing, diving, fishing, to of course, parasailing. This is what sets Sydney apart from Melbourne. The price of parasailing at Port Stephens starts at AU$90 (approximately S$85) per person.
Nelson Bay, the largest town in Port Stephens, is a feeding ground for bottlenose dolphins. It’s very easy to spot them, as well as whales when visitors are high up in the sky.
Visitors can also look out for the nearby sightseeing spots including the Tomaree National Park, the historic lighthouse on Nelson Head, and the sand dunes in Worimi Conservation Land. All of them are worth separate visits. This makes Port Stephen a notable stop for a road trip or a fun weekend getaway.
There are direct flights from Changi Airport to Sydney every day operated by different airlines.
6. Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Brazil surely tops the list for the most iconic beaches in the world for parasailing. At Copacabana beach, one gets to glide over the Atlantic Ocean to enjoy an exclusive view of the coastline of Rio de Janeiro. The city’s striking landscape is believed to look best from a high vantage point.
On the backdrop, there is the statue of Christ the Redeemer, the most iconic statue in Brazil that was named one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. There is also Sugarloaf Mountain, where one of the world’s first cable car systems was built in 1912.
Depending on the weather, one may also catch a great view of the amazing Ilhas Cagarras or witness the sea turtles and dolphins in action. The parasailing experience at Copacabana beach is likely to last three hours, including a 1.5hr boat ride to the open sea and a 10-20min long parasail ride.
Participants would be lifted 100-250ft (30m to 76m) in the air. They can do it alone or with friends and loved ones. Prices start at S$155 with direct pick-up and drop-off from the hotels.
There’s no direct flight from Changi Airport to Rio De Janeiro at the moment. Visitors may stop over at San Francisco, Paris, or Amsterdam for a connecting flight to Tom Jobim International Airport, the main airport serving Rio De Janeiro.
7. Key West, Florida, USA
Florida city houses some of the great parasailing spots in the United States. Like Miami, Key West is probably one of the best and most renowned of all.
On the southernmost point of Florida, Key West comes with a stunning blend of cityscapes and seaside views that extends from Key West Bright beach in the North to Smathers Beach in the South.
The Bright beach is a dining and drinking spot adored by the locals. Foodies can start enjoying happy hour food like smoked fish dip and steamed shrimps as well as beer specials at 4:30pm.
On the other hand, Smathers Beach is the largest public beach in Key West. It’s particularly bustling during spring break as visitors enjoy its cleanliness and tranquillity.
Visitors are advised to come in the morning when the rates are lowest. Enjoy the gentle, warm breeze in the sky and the magnificent view of the island paradise – one may even spot dolphins, turtles, and other local animals on a sunny day.
Prices start from S$112, depending on the season and number of visitors. Even if you are not a fan of parasailing, there are still many other water activities or a mere stroll along the dazzling beaches that anyone could enjoy. If you’re suntanning, be sure to apply enough sunscreen to prevent any severe sun damage!
There is no direct flight from Changi Airport to Florida. Visitors can take a Singapore Airlines flight to San Francisco (San Francisco International Airport) or Los Angeles (Los Angeles International Airport) for a change of flights to Florida.
8. Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands
Turks and Caicos is a unique set of islands in the Caribbean. It’s a wanderlust to enjoy a magnificent view of the golden beaches and gaze out to the horizon where the clear sky and water meets.
Parasailing is available in the Grace Bay Beach region of Providenciales. Once in the sky, riders may spot the Little Water Cay island, a popular nature reserve and home to the endangered Rock Iguanas. There is also the Half Moon Bay Beach on the east that elicits a remote and wild feeling as the neighbouring islands are inhibited.
They will also be able to see larger sea creatures, ranging from dolphins, rays or sharks swimming in the clear water, as well as the dense coral forming the barrier reef.
Being the second finest reef system in the tropical Atlantic Ocean, there is over 500km of barrier reef surrounding Turks and Caicos. Many of the rides last around 10-15min. One will be taken up to 500ft (approximately 152m). Prices start from approximately S$122 depending on time of visit.
Although there are many parasailing operators in the region, it’s recommended to book in advance and research on the kind of package you’d like to sign up for. Most of the time, operators will not set an age limit. As long as it’s within the safety limits, up to three passengers may enjoy a parasail flight at once.
There is no direct flight from Changi Airport to Turks and Caicos Islands. Visitors can take a Singapore Airlines flight to San Francisco (San Francisco International Airport) or Los Angeles (Los Angeles International Airport) to Providenciales International Airport.
Parasailing offers an entirely different perspective of experiencing a beach, sea and an island. Nothing beats the feeling of floating in the air and enjoying an undisturbed view of the nearby waters and nature. We recommend investing in a quality camera like a GoPro so you can capture these stunning views and revisit them whenever you want.
It’s recommended to engage with a licensed company that properly maintains its parasailing equipment and accompanies clients with trained captain and staff on every trip. Never parasail on a bad weather day and always ask questions when in doubt.
Parasailing is safe for anyone, including first-timers, as long as all safety precautions are taken and life jackets are securely worn. Communicate with your captains on how high you’d like to be and if you’d like to land in water.
Whether you are bored of heading to the sea for a swim or looking for something new and thrilling to do on your next vacation, you may wish to add the anti-gravity experience on your bucket list.
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