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Kathmandu, here we come!

Nepal day one

View Nepal 2022 on ToonSarah's travel map.

Himalayas from the plane, approaching Kathmandu

I had wanted to visit Nepal for years and at last we were doing just that! With an afternoon departure from Heathrow there was no need to hurry but of course we were there in good time. Terminal 4 was surprisingly quiet so we had dropped off our bags and cleared security with loads of time left for a leisurely lunch.

It was our first experience of flying with Qatar Airways. The plane was spacious and we had seats in the front economy cabin, right behind the cockpit. A hot meal was served not long after take-off, not preceded by drinks as you normally get on a long flight, but with a good selection offered with the meal. The pasta was much better than average for an airline meal, the chocolate mousse was good too, and I enjoyed my glass of wine.

The flight to Doha took about six and a half hours. I watched a film (the remake of the Great Gatsby), read a bit and followed our route on the flight map.

We had about 90 minutes at Doha Airport - just long enough to find our gate without having to rush, and to check a few messages. The flight to Kathmandu was on a much smaller plane and rather cramped, which was unfortunate as I had hoped to at least doze a bit (it was by now 11.30 at night at home, 1.30 AM in Doha).


But any tiredness and lack of sleep was forgotten as we approached Kathmandu. Without even thinking about it I had selected seats on the left side of the plane and so we had a perfect view of the Himalayas. The light was perfect too at this time of day, with the sun low enough to create depth and show off the jagged peaks.

Himalayas from the plane, approaching Kathmandu

As we descended we flew low over the hills around the city and over the city buildings themselves.

Landing in Kathmandu

Arriving inside the terminal building we were very relieved to have organised our visas in advance a few weeks ago in London. The majority of passengers on our flight joined the long visa on arrival queue with only a few of us going straight to passport control. So we were through quickly, but even so our one suitcase was already waiting for us in the baggage hall. We walked down a long tunnel and out into the Kathmandu morning sunshine. There was the usual crowd of guides and drivers holding up signs with various names on. We couldn't see ours at first but within a minute our guide Pritik was hurrying over with an apology for not being there to greet us. I suspect he wouldn't have anticipated us not having to queue for a visa!

The drive to our hotel, the Nepali Ghar, didn't take long and of course we were fascinated to get our first look at life on the streets of the capital. Within 45 minutes of touching down we were seated in the hotel lobby enjoying a refreshing fruit juice. We'd arranged an early check-in and although we had to wait a short while for our room to be ready, by 10.00 we were able to settle down for a much-needed nap.

Our bedroom at the Nepali Ghar

We set our alarm however for 12.30, partly because we didn't want to mess up our sleep patterns and partly because a rep from the local tour company was due to visit us at 1.00. We had a good chat with Ayush and he handed over tickets for our internal flights and a fuller itinerary. He also helpfully swapped phone numbers so that we could use WhatsApp to stay in touch.

We'd planned to go out in search of lunch but were lured by the pretty garden of the hotel's restaurant into lunching there. It proved a good option. We had our first momos of the trip, and some chicken satay, and I got a decent cup of espresso to keep me going.

Exploring Thamel

Then we went out for a walk around the Thamel district where the hotel is located. This is a popular tourist area catering to backpackers and others, but there was enough local colour, especially small shrines and temples, to keep our cameras very busy!










First impressions of Thamel

When we started to wilt, late afternoon, we went back to the hotel to put our feet up for a bit but resisted the urge to sleep.

In the evening we decided to keep things simple and eat in the hotel's restaurant. We sat outside despite a chill in the air as there was a good fire going in the fireplace and the indoor spaces were deserted. We had a good meal of tomato soup (both), Nepali chicken curry (Chris) and vegetable biryani (me) washed down with plenty of Gurkha beer.

After that it was time for a slightly early night as we had another early start planned for the morning.

Posted by ToonSarah 16:30 Archived in Nepal Tagged mountains people shrines temple hotel flight city doors nepal kathmandu thamel street_photography Comments (11)

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