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Review of Babadag

Experience for Yourself
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Dinner At The Top of Babadag Mountain
Ranked #1 of 32 things to do in Oludeniz
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Cardiff, South Wales
Level Contributor
21 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed December 18, 2012

My son paraglided with Sky Sports in Olu Deniz back in July 2009 at the age of 7 and again in August 2012 at the age of 10. They are highley recomended and are fantasic with children

Visited August 2012
2 Thank AndreFamily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Manchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
182 reviews
79 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 348 helpful votes
“Simply the best”
Reviewed December 13, 2012

If you visit Oludeniz on Turkey’s southern coast you can’t fail to notice the paragliders. Whether you watch them float overhead while you relax with a drink in Buzz Bar or keep a wary eye open for them as you walk across the main landing zone that doubles as the seafront they are an ever present sight during daylight hours when the weather permits them to fly. On one occasion I lay back on the beach and counted 56 at once. The difference in Oludeniz is that you have the chance to join them.
Many of the paragliders flying overhead will be tandem flights, their passenger in front and pilot behind beneath a larger canopy rated to take around 250 kilograms instead of the smaller single wings or even smaller, faster sport variety that in good hands can loop repeatedly in the sky. If you wonder whether you could make a tandem flight the answer is for the vast majority – yes. I saw children and older people taking flights but for many the question that comes before most is whether it’s completely safe. The honest answer to that question is no, but then again the flight out to Turkey wasn’t completely safe and travelling by road to the airport at each end is statistically much less safe than that. The thing to do here is to put the risk into perspective. Yes there have been accidents but from the total number flying each year the number is low. Statistically the chances of something going wrong on your flight is also very low and don’t forget that your pilot is behind you and has a very strong interest in safety at work. That said there are a number of companies and as with any other ‘trip’ providers or agents there are variations. Among the main operators in Oludeniz are Gravity, who have the plushest office at the end of the main street leading down to the sea and up to around 45 pilots I was told when booking my flight, Sky Tours and Pegas and it’s possible to book either directly with them or through one of the many ‘travel agents’ to be found in any of the resorts here. My experience here comes from flying with Gravity.

Paying for it
There are variations in price and towards the end of the season this will begin to drop a little in the last couple of weeks. My flight cost £56 for example in the last ten days or so of the season. One thing to be aware of here that can save you a little money whichever operator you choose is that most will offer flights priced in UK pounds but you can pay in a variety of currencies including Turkish lira and Euros. If you think you may want to tandem paraglide and travel from the UK therefore you could simply take enough money with you, avoiding any commission charges and not worrying about currency rates. If you have sterling with you, a better rate than you will find at home and certainly at the airport can be had at one of the ‘Change’ offices, such as that half way down the main street in Oludeniz. The exchange rate there during the period when I flew was between 2.81 and 2.86 Turkish lira to the pound compared to a measly 2.5 at Dalaman Airport and 2.71 in the UK when we left. You can of course also withdraw sterling from some of the cash machines in the area, such as the HSBC machine also on the main street in Oludeniz. The other thing to be aware of is the rate you will be offered by the operator if you ask to pay in something other than sterling, especially in Turkish Lira. A quick few taps on a calculator can result in a conversion at an unfavourable rate, so it’s worth doing your own calculation first and questioning it if you think you could do better. Another point to be aware of that can save you around £10 is the entrance fee to Mount Babadag National Park. If you book directly this is likely to be included in the price though you should ask if this isn’t specified. If you book with a travel agent though it’s definitely worth checking because at the foot of the mountain someone may well board your mini bus to do a head count and check. The price will also include insurance but if you want to give yourself a little extra peace of mind it’s worth asking your travel insurance provider how much it would cost to add this to the price. In my case I did this and found it could be added for around £3.65 for each day I wanted to fly. The date did not have to be specified in advance and extra days could be added over the phone if I decided I really liked it and wanted to repeat the experience.
On the day
So what happens then? Once you have your receipt you will be given a meeting time, probably at the office, from which you will be taken around to the main meeting point a while before your flight to sign a fairly standard disclaimer. Most of this time for me seemed to involve waiting and on three occasions my flight was cancelled due to wind speeds higher up the mountain, on the second of which we had already been driven up to the main launch point. The ride up was by mini bus which seems to be typical and was fairly speedy. I’ve seen Trip Advisor reviews that describe this as ‘hair raising’ but I wouldn’t let this put you off. The road up doesn’t have any barriers at the edge and speed averaged around 30 -40mph at a rough guess. There were occasions when it felt fairly close to the edge but don’t forget that for the pilots this is the drive to work that they may be making 5 times a day and there are no wrecked vehicles below the road. Enjoy the views, chat or think about what you want to do on your flight but don’t worry about the drive up. I found the pilots we were with to be very laid back until it came to anything to do with the flight. They were professional and took it very seriously indeed so I wouldn’t feel concerned about that either. My pilot explained for example that the wings are rated for around 950 flights before they are scrapped, but that he doesn’t use them for more than 750 before replacing it to add in an extra safety margin. At several thousand pounds each that’s a real concern for safety, his as well as mine.
There seem to be three main launch points on the mountain, the main one that appears in many photographs on the intent being a well surfaced slope at 1770m. If weather conditions prevent flying from here you may be taken down to 900m where the launch point isn’t normally open to commercial flights. We did this on my second attempt and we were assured it wouldn’t cut our flying time short, though as I mentioned this attempt was cancelled too due to wind. On my fourth attempt and second trip up the mountain we were lucky enough to be taken all the way up to the weather station at the top where it’s possible to fly from the unprepared surface at 2000m and the views looking around are even better. If you have any waiting time once leaving your transport there is little to do apart from admire the view and take some photographs, though at the main launch site there are toilets and what is sometimes described as a cafe. This consists of little more than a counter, a hot plate and the means to make a hot drink. It had a ‘self-service’ sign over it when I saw it, though there were two men slowly working their way through the orders from a queue of people.
The flight
As noted at the outset I can only describe what happened on my flight with Gravity, but it seems typical from what I heard while in Oludeniz. Once at the top things happened quite quickly and within 4-5 minutes I was already strapped to the seat and left to waddle around feeling like a rather ungainly duck for 3-4 minutes more. I was then asked to help open up the sail which I did as we spread it out on the ground, after which my pilot came up behind me and attached himself and me to it. Instructions were very simple – “When I say walk, start walking slowly forwards and don’t sit back until I say” at which point I heard the sail billow up behind us as we walked forward and we seemed to go slightly up as the ground dropped swiftly away. The feeling of freedom at that point and the views around, including one or two other paragliders, was amazing! Our route took us out over the sea, curling around above the Blue Lagoon before heading down towards the seafront near our starting point in Oldudeniz. Shortly into the flight my pilot took our helmets off to give a better ‘feel’ to the flight and improve the sensation of flying. He also operated a small camera on a short telescopic rod taking a mixture of still pictures and a short videos of us in flight that would later be put together on a disc for a an extra cost. Some of the passengers are given this to hold for themselves and did so up to their landing so if you are likely to want this recording it would be worth asking beforehand and while in flight if you can keep it going for as long as possible. This doesn’t mean you can’t take your own though. I asked about photography and was told I could take anything that could be hung around my neck or firmly strapped to me. I therefore took a compact camera and a DSLR with a 28-200mm zoom, not exactly compact kit. For the photographers among you among the things to note are the sun (lens flare is possible so you may want a lens hood), low contrast and blue skies (a polarising filter helps) and access (the straps can get in the way of using your equipment easily and I therefore found the compact easier to handle). The flights with Gravity were advertised as 40 minutes. Other operators were specifying 30-40 minutes though I heard some people commenting that theirs lasted as little as 20-25. In truth I couldn’t tell you how long my flight lasted. I certainly didn’t time it and there was so much to see and feel that 40 minutes could easily have seemed less, though I doubt it did last that long. I suppose you could time it, but somehow that would seem to take away from the enjoyment of just going with it – it’s up to you.
Most of the flight consisted of straight flight and gentle turns, but about halfway through my pilot asked if I would like to try a ‘spin’ which is apparently typical. I tried two as I didn’t have my camera set to record video on the first so this too may have shortened my flight a little as the manoeuvre does lose height more rapidly. It isn’t the serious spins of the professionals or serious sports enthusiasts but still gives a sensation of falling sideways that some people may find uncomfortable even though it’s safe. If you don’t want to do it just say so.
Our landing site was pointed out well beforehand and we landed fairly close to it. Instructions were again simple. “Keep your legs up as we approach even if it feels like you could put them down. Don’t put your feet down until I say so”. This is how it turned out, our speed seemed high as we got close to the ground and it did feel like I could have put my feet down. Instead I kept them well up and put them down as we suddenly seemed to pull up and slowed very quickly. I didn’t hear the instruction to do so but it felt natural at that point and we simply ‘stepped’ onto the ground at which point my pilot just said ‘Perfect.” That was it, suddenly we were back on earth, my pilot quickly moved me out of the way, gathered up his wing and unclipped me. After a short walk back to the main office Gravity have near the sea front I arranged to come back to view the images he had recorded. These were by then ready to view on a laptop and were offered as a complete package of still images and video on a disc or I could choose to buy just one of the two, stills or video. The full package cost of this worked out at about £22 extra. Some people may advise haggling at this point and in a sense you do have an edge here especially if you took your own photos or video on the flight (though this won’t include yourself in the same way). Your pilot has a choice of making something for the effort or making nothing so a bargain might be had. If you enjoyed your flight though I would question whether its’ worth taking something away from it to save a handful of pounds at this point, I know I didn’t.
I would highly recommend a tandem paraglide and rate it among the best ways to spend a morning, though you could choose to fly later in the day. If you know you would hate it don’t bother, but if you just have doubts then go ahead and give it a whirl. I doubt you’ll be disappointed and are more than likely to come away with an amazing memory from your holiday.

Visited October 2012
14 Thank Geobar01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Derby, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
56 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 72 helpful votes
“Experience of a lifetime...!!”
Reviewed November 19, 2012

My other half was determined to include a paragliding jump the minute she saw other people "flying" off the mountain. Me? Well I just wasn't sure. I'm terrified of cleaning the windows up a ladder.But what would our three boys say if mum did it and I didn't? So yes I agreed to do it with her.

The trip was booked with Gravity for three in the afternoon but weather conditions put that back until closer to four. A frightening ride up the mountain road in about twenty minutes was perhaps far scarier than the flight itself.

At the top I was partnered with "Psycho" and told him I wasn't feeling very brave. We didn't have the best of take offs, almost colliding with some trees and rocks. Perhaps 7 or 8 minutes into the flight he donned a mask and spoke into my ear that he was "going to kill me". This wasn't - to me anyway - very funny and in very bad taste and wasn't appreciated at all.
The flight itself was a brilliant experience with amazing views in all directions and lasted about 25-30 minutes. Landing was ok and a relief for me to be back on land.
The cost for the whole trip came out at £180 for the two of us...£110 for the flights and £70 for the dvd and photos.
Would I do it again? NOT A CHANCE.
Would my wife do it again? DEFINITELY.

I'm glad I've done it (my boys would never have let me live it down and the dvd is shown to all visitors) but once in a lifetime is enough for me!!!!.

Visited September 2012
1 Thank casbar3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pool, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed November 12, 2012

Loved watching the people taking off for the para gliding...not for me too much of a coward! The trip up in the mini bus was hairaising enough thankyou. Make sure you take a fleece as its very cold and windy up there. The little cafe is great and not expensive

Visited May 2012
1 Thank Paulus288
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ellesmere Port, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
44 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“Fulfill that dream of jumping off a moutain and flying!”
Reviewed October 30, 2012

Like a lot of people my wife and i used to lie on our sunbeds around the pool and watch the paragliders floating down from the top of Babadag mountain and always wondered what it would be like to take the plunge,so to speak! It was always a case of i will have to try that one day,then my wifes uncle came back off holiday to Olu Deniz and said he had done it but was sorry that he had left till the end off the holiday as he would have gone up there again!
The following year we were on holiday in Olu Deniz for our anniversary and i decided i would jump on that day.Unfortunately my wife was having none of it as she is terrified of any kind of height but while we were having a turkish bath up in Hisaronu, we were chatting to an American couple and the lady had the same fear of heights but had gone ahead and jumped and was totally amazed at the experience.I think this American lady convinced my wife because when we got back to our hotel she suddenly asked me to go and book for her to fly as well!
The day arrived and we set off up the mountain in the truck and my wife had to change seats so she was sat away from some of the sheer drops to the side of the single track as we made our way up.The views as you are nearing the summit are fantastic and you begin to wonder how far up we were travelling but as it said on the brochure,6.500 feet were approaching fast.
As soon as you arrive you are teamed up with your tandem pilot and he explains what is required for take off and this is mainly run when i say run and sit when i say sit.Anyway you are soon harnessed up ,the parachute is lifted by the stiiff breeze and he is telling you to run,which in
reality is about three or four steps but you are then away off the mountain and your mind blowing
flight begins,there is a little bit of wind noise but you can hear people on the paragliders around you.From that height you can see over to Fethiye,Calis and on a clear day Rhodes truly stunning,
then before you know it, as you are coming down the pilot is asking if you would like to do tricks which is usually spirals were it feels like the world is spinning!What a ride! then its views over the blue lagoon (it is deep blue from up there)before coming in to land which is like stepping off a bus.
My wife is so pleased she plucked up the courage to jump but said once is enough.I have since gone again with my son in law and it it truly an awsome experience and hopefully will go again next year.Have fun and fulfill that dream as i did!!

Visited May 2012
1 Thank Timbo03
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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