Comes news that Lonely Planet has ranked Kathmandu #5 among Top Ten cities to visit in 2019. Are they mad? This is outrageous. How dare they? What are the folks at Lonely Planet smoking? Ask anyone who has visited Kathmandu recently, they will not agree that Nepal’s capital deserves to be #5 on the list. It should be #1.
Still, thanks anyway from the false bottoms of our suitcases for the endorsement. This is recognition of the hard work our city fathers have put into making Kathmandu such a fantastic adventure destination. (Slogan: ‘Had Enough Excitement for One Lifetime? Return in Your Next Incarnation’)
Half the fun about Nepal is the thrill of getting there on our national flag carrier. It is full of suprises, and there is never a dull moment. It is advisable to get to the airport at least two days before departure just to make sure your flight has not been pre-poned. Also, try to stay on for a day or two after the scheduled departure just in case your flight to Kathmandu is postponed.
En route, imbibe your second bottle of Chivas and share it with those seated next to you because you are now allowed to bring in only 1 litre of whiskey into Nepal. This will put you and fellow-passengers in the right frame of mind as the pilots throw in a free two-hour mountain sightseeing flight as the plane waits for its turn to land at Kathmandu.
The alcohol will also fortify you to deal with the bus from plane to terminal which at 3.7 seconds holds the world record for the shortest bus ride in the world. All 330 passengers of your widebody jet will be packed into one bus for this low-oxygen test to make sure you are suitably acclimatised for air quality in the city. If you faint, then let’s face it, you are not ready for the adventures that await you. (Motto: ‘Visit Kathmandu: It Is Not for the Faint-Hearted’)
At Immigration there are separate serpentine queues for the visa form, to pay visa fee, for immigration stamp, to test if you are mettle free, queuing up for an x-ray to check if you are bringing in gold bullion in amounts less than 33kg. Nepal is such a popular destination that people are lining up just to get in.
To make sure you get more bang for your buck during your adventure holiday, the Ministry of Tourism. Marxism and Leninism has now ensured your trek starts at the airport itself. It has wisely, and without any warning, moved the parking lot 300m down a steep slope for which you will need climbing equipment, crampons, jumars, porters and a mountain guide.
You will also notice that Kathmandu’s air quality has been optimised for your breathing pleasure. Oxygen masks will drop down automatically, and all you have to do is pull the mask, cover your nose and mouth and breathe normally.
Next Week: Fun Things To Do In Kathmandu