Road to Nepal Arriving Kathmandu Part 1
At the foot of the Himalayas (ep. 1). Road to Nepal and arriving at Kathmandu
"And you go to Nepal! Why ? You've been three times ... "" Because I like. It's a country where I return every time with the same pleasure. "
So much for the conversation with a friend. And, in addition, Michael had never been in Nepal,so the decision to go in cramped state between China and India at the foot of the Himalayas was simply taken for spring break. I caught and Easter period when Monday is free and, starting this year, and Friday, so I rode on a plane and went to Kathmandu!
I was in Nepal three times. The first time, was still the Kingdom, and the country was affected by a civil war between the royal army and Maoist militias. War was not feeling but in the Kathmandu valley, but sometimes coaches were stopped on the road, especially towards Pokhara and tourists paid $ 100 on some so-called bond Maoist who, they say, would be re-paid when the Maoists had got power. Back then, it seemed fables, but ... just six years since the first time I was in Nepal, the Maoists came to power and proclaimed republic ... Then, in 2002, seemed an impossibility. It was winter, I was at the end of December, few tourists, but the place fascinated me. I'll never forget when I got the "blue hour" in Durbar Square coming from Thamel and stepped roofs of pagodas there seemed to come from another world. Yes, it was cold, Nepal is a poor country and outside places of great luxury, there is heat, although at night the temperature drops to zero degrees Celsius, and the day is not too salt 15. However. I remained in my heart. It's one of my top 10 countries.
I returned in 2011, this time as "tribal leader" in the first round of the series "Come with Imperator". Opportunity to know the Raj (which I "meet" on Facebook) and do an unforgettable tour - from flying with a avionas two people to Annapurna at sunrise obscured by a small cloud of Swayambunath of to match that glorious rafting Trisuli, to search lost in Chitwan tiger ... I left Nepal excited again.
He attended the third trip, in 2015, just months after the earthquake had killed 10,000 Nepalis and destroyed part of the country's architectural treasure. Glory of Shiva however, earthquake occurred on a Saturday at noon, when almost all breath the country was on the outside, the children were not in school that perhaps, considering the devastation would have died at least five times more. And architectural treasure, out of the corner of Durbar Square in Kathmandu site that collapsed was standing and reconstruction. After we inspected the Kathmandu Valley with the three historic towns, I went to Tibet, where the colors are like from another world.
And here I am the fourth time, aligned to fly to Kathmandu. This time was to fly with Turkish Airlines (which introduced a flight Istanbul - Kathmandu few years ago) via Istanbul, perhaps the most direct flight between the capitals of Romania and Nepal, if you look on the map.
Although I had a connection shorter (Turkish Airlines flies no less than three times a day between Bucharest and Istanbul, and in the summer, twice a day with a large aircraft, Airbus 330, the same two color) I decided to take an earlier flight, so far I have not been to Istanbul and I had done a little miss on the mustache of this fabulous city and so close to us.
The flight was short, but unfortunately I have not got tours of Istanbul. By the way, if you any longer than six hours transit through Istanbul and fly with Turkish Airlines, you see that you can get free tours of the city (complete with lunch or dinner). Get at various times and visited various tourist attractions. I'd wanted to catch the 12:00, but we arrived too late (until it will give way to the new airport in October, delays are relatively common) and I wanted to stay by the airport to the next round in Istanbul at 16:00, so I took the subway to the city.
And to return to free tours, as I said, if you provide more than six hours standing in Istanbul, look here on tours to TourIstanbul . From what I understand, unlike Doha, where only coaches here are buses full with tourists and is a very good chance to catch one. But obviously be about the 15 to 30 minutes before departure time. You can not make reservations in advance, you just have to present yourself at a desk that is behind passport control and baggage claim area, fixed in the arrivals hall. It is stuck where you can leave your luggage.
When I was last in Istanbul, passengers could be using a card that can be loaded from automatic about by every station or buying some chips. Chips cost almost double the travel card. I like Istanbul Kart I bought a few years ago, I brought home. We had some pounds on it, I put a few and left. Istanbul Kart can be used on any means of transportation in Istanbul - bus, metro, tram, ferry, train, funicular - and can be used for several people. We were second, so I used it twice every time I got on the subway or tram. Since I was in Istanbul, they have opened several subway lines, and the old ones were extended, so take a look on the map. Ataturk airport to the center of the historic (Sultananahmet) do for an hour, maximum. If you want to go to Taksim, better take one of the direct buses, which you find in front of the airport.
What we did in Istanbul? Nothing out of the ordinary - we walked through the historic, I entered the bazaar, I photographed spices and sweets of Egyptian Bazaar (the food), we walked through the park in the Topkapi Palace, which began April was full with flowers. Turks are proud that they have brought tulip in Europe (a tulip painted on Turkish Airlines planes), so, at least at the end of April, downtown is flooded with tulips. Beginning to appear here and there in a Sarabanda colors ... I think it's time to visit Istanbul nicer than spring, when flooded with tulips.
Towards the end of the day, I went back to the airport to embark for Kathmandu flight take off sometime after midnight. Turkish Airlines flies to ten destinations overseas and many of them are after midnight (at least me, last year I flew after midnight to Jakarta to Kathmandu and would have to fly and to Antananarivo, but they were weather problems), so not a bad idea to take an earlier flight and spend a day in Istanbul, before long transatlantic leap.
I can not say much about the flight to Kathmandu. Although I personally screen built into the front seat (all planes are large Turkish), with 'jde movies, even if dinner was coming, I was too tired so I slept cannon. I do not know what food was not know what movies were slept cannon unconverted. I just woke the next morning, when he came to breakfast before landing at Kathmandu.
Although we arrived on time at Kathmandu unfortunately airport Nepalese capital gets far too much traffic, more than can it conduct so many planes are put on hold - that is to fly in circles over southern above Teraiului ... eventually, after about half an hour hold, we received permission to land and after I flew many districts, some of which seemed new of Kathmandu, I put wheels on old Tribhuvan airport.
What's nice is that you can get Nepal visa-on-arrival without any previous procedure. It is true, do not expect things to go too fast, you'll spend about an hour until to get. First, introduce yourself at a machine where you will complete the data (name, passport number, etc.) and you'll take a picture (do not mock!). The machine will print you a bonulet. This, together with the disembarkation card (a form that you'll get on the plane, the flight attendants of Turkish Airlines), you go to a bank to pay visa fee (to save time if you are more, first to finished with automatic target queue to go to the bank, take place and others).
Target cost as follows: 15 days - $ 25 days 30 - 40 dollars, 90 days - 100 dollars. Multiple entry visas are therefore in that period you can go in Tibet, India, Bhutan or wherever you want and enter the Nepal without having to pay a new visa. Attention only to count your correct several days stay (including trips to neighboring countries). Visa can pay in other currencies such as euro, Hong Kong dollar, Singapore dollar, yen, etc., but does not guarantee the exchange rate, probably not who knows what. Better yet, bring dollars. Then pass the border, where we had officers usually cute and playful, and then descend into the chaos of hold baggage.
Most likely, you will not find it on tape, there are many employees who descends luggage belt and grouping them somewhere near the band that came, so look around and do not panic. A very important thing - when you leave the airport, the label on the bag is controlled and must look and receipt of baggage that you received in Bucharest, to prevent theft of luggage (do not know to be the system that exists in 2003). You then enter in the "commercial", where you can find office taxi, travel agencies and, especially, to buy a SIM Nepal (in case of phone uncoded worth to give a few rupees and you get the Net non-stop) and then exit. In general, if you book any hotel or travel agency Nepalese people there they will wait at the airport, transfer to get things out.
And obviously, it did not took only a few minutes to locate Raj, my good friend from Good Kharma Trekking . Meanwhile, Raj opened a guesthouseBesides travel agency, so I was going to stay at the hostel. In fact, there is even a guesthouse, is what the Englishman says "home stay" - is a bloculet two steps of the great Buddhist temple of Swayambunath (known as marketing "Monkey Temple"), where the ground floor living Raj family, 1st floor, Raj's brother, and the next two floors are guest rooms ... basically stay at Raj home can interact with a Nepalese family, actually two, you can eat sometimes the house, sit ln Nepalese neighborhood, but you have your own room with bathroom, balcony and all the facilities ... In further articles, I will tell you how I found Nepal, one of the countries that I like much, so much ...