Snowy mountains, the perfectly rocky roads, easy-going people, doesn’t even start to describe the beauty of Bir-Billing. The paragliding hot-spot of Himachal is all set to welcome you with its traveller- friendly rate card for this adventure-sport. 8000 ft. of pure joy with the view of the world, the world of meditation, ecotourism & majestic mountains.
Located around 50 kms from Dharamshala in the west of Joginder Nagar Valley, Bir-Billing is a paragliding destination in the heart of Himalayas. And, the place is just not about Paragliding, its natural beauty will leave you spellbound. Being a budget traveller, I always thought that paragliding at Bir-Billing will be a costly affair and thus on my previous visit to Himachal, I never thought of going there.
On this particular visit, while staying at a hostel in McLeodGanj, I came to know that the cost of paragliding is Rs 1500. Taking off from world’s second highest paragliding peak, that isn’t a bad deal at all is what I said to myself. Many claim that after Lake Como in Italy, Bir Billing is the go-to place for Paragliding. Flying amidst the Himalayas, at such an altitude, it’s just once in a lifetime experience.
How to reach Bir – Billing?
There are numerous options to reach Bir – Billing and the cheapest will be via railways. Pathankot is the nearest major railway station to Bir-Billing which is located at a distance of around 140 kms (4-5 hours). Pathankot is well connected to other parts of the countries via railways. From Pathankot direct buses are available for Bir-Billing.
Also, there is a toy train that leaves every morning from Pathankot to Ahju which is just 3 kms from Bir. Toy Train takes 6-7 hours to cover the distance from Pathankot to Ahju. If you have enough time in hand, you can choose the toy train option.
Also, direct buses are available from Delhi for Bir-Billing. What I would recommend is to first explore Dharamshala and McLeodGanj and later move towards Bir-Billing. There are regular buses for Bir-Billing from Dharamshala.
My journey to Bir-Billing
Adventure sports have always fascinated me, whether it be bungy jumping in Rishikesh, or Scuba Diving in Andaman. But, being a budget traveller and knowing the fact that these are expensive activities, I had always skipped them from my plans. Paragliding in Bir is another adventure which had engrossed me from long.
While staying at a hostel in McLeodGanj, I could hear few of the fellow travellers happily discussing about their experience of paragliding in Bir. When I came know that it only costs around Rs 1500, I made up my mind to experience paragliding from Bir on this particular trip. The next morning, I left for Bir. I got a bus from Dharamshala bus depo directly for Bir.
On the way I checked for the stay options in Bir. Hosteller on the Hostelworld app was showing Rs 250 for an 8-bed mixed dorm, so I booked it. With many stops on the way, the bus took around 3-4 hours to reach the beautiful town of Bir. I checked in at Hosteller, the property is located at a scenic location and will highly recommend you to stay there.
The hostel itself arranged the paragliding booking. One needs to fill a self-declaration form before taking the flight. A narrow mountain road leads to the take-off site Billing which is located around 14 kms from Bir. The adventure had already begun even before reaching the take off point, you can feel the rush of adrenaline with each hairpin bend that brings the destination closer. The ride was an experience in itself.
After 40 minutes, we made it to take off site and were greeted with the beautiful sight of colorful gliders floating in the sky and people preparing for their rides. I was briefed about safety instructions and also the dos and don’ts during the ride by my pilot Sagar bhai before providing me with the harnesses.
Don’t sit but simply run, just run is what my pilot commanded. We ran towards the cliff and even before I could think about anything, we were in the air. I was feeling like a bird in the sky. I realized what a beautiful world we live in. Sagar Bhai ensured that I was sitting in a comfortable position.
We talked about his experiences and I was surprised to hear that he has taken more than 5000 flights at such a young age. I could spot Tibetan Monasteries, houses and cafes from the top. I was totally enthralled by the beauty of the hills, rolling gorgeously far away. The dense deodar forests from the top looked so different, with only lush green landscape covering the land for miles.
After around 15 minutes or so, we started descending down. Structures which looked very tiny a little ago, seemed like getting bigger and bigger, I could catch a glimpse of the beautiful Bir village. Sagar Bhai ensured that the landing was as smooth and graceful as the take-off. The entire experience was just magical. I thanked Sagar for the amazing experience, I wish I could fly with him again soon.
Check out the vlog on the paragliding experience at Bir Billing.
ATM & mobile network information
There is SBI, Kangra Bank and PNB ATM at Bir. But I will advise you to carry enough cash along with you. The mobile connectivity is excellent in Bir and almost every mobile network works here.
Best time to visit Bir Billing
The best time to visit Bir Billing is either the summer months from March to May or from Autumn months, September to November. These months are the best months if you’re looking to do paragliding in Bir. The monsoons receive light to heavy rainfall and might be prone to landslides and winters are harsh with temperatures falling to sub-zero levels. For Paragliding, I will recommend you to choose an evening slot so as you can enjoy the beautiful sunset from the flight.
Stay and food option in Bir
Though on this journey, I did not explore much of the Bir town but my stay experience at Hosteller Bir was amazing. The charges of the dorms vary from around Rs 250-500.
There are numerous cafés in the town. If you are looking for a budget-friendly food joint, I would highly recommend visiting the Ram Bahadur Fast Food. This place offers you a variety of Chinese and Tibetan dishes like Thukpa, Momos, Noodles, and so on.
The beauty of the town Bir left me stunned. I would have loved to spend more days exploring the nearby areas of the town but since I was short of days and wanted to do Paragliding, it was time to say goodbye to the splendid town. I am surely coming back to Bir very soon!!
Do follow me on Instagram as I am regularly posting travel posts and stories over there. Also, you can message me on Instagram if you want to join me on my next trip.
Hope you would have enjoyed reading this article/ travel guide on Bir Billing. To get regular updates on upcoming blog posts from On a Cheap Trip, please subscribe by entering your name and E-mail address in the Newsletter below. You can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest as well as on Twitter.