There are a number of options available when looking for a cheap flight to Kathmandu, and once you've booked online or with your agent, you'll be touching down at Tribhuvan airport in no time. Nepal is a very poor country, and the standard of the airport is basic. There are few shops or facilities, but Tribhuvan does offer fax and telephone services, currency exchange, and a hotel booking counter.
Airfare to Kathmandu can be cheap. Beware of visa bribery scams and be prepared for toilet facilities that aren't as clean as they could be. If you've arranged a tour along with your Kathmandu flight, hotel transfer should be included, otherwise taxis are available, but make sure you're paying the right price. Negotiate.
The bus service around Kathmandu is indeed complicated. Though it is possible to get where you want to go, many bus stops are not signposted in English, so you may have to resort to shouting the name of your destination until someone points you to the right service. Taxis are recommended, but again, be careful that the driver charges the correct fare, as western tourists are targets for deceptive behaviour. If the metre is covered with a rag, ask to see it.
For short distances, there are many tuk-tuks at hand, although Kathmandu is best seen on foot. For trips to the outer areas, it's probably best to hire a car and driver. Ask at your hotel counter for details.
Thamel, with its colourful market stalls and lively characters is a good place to begin your journey, and if you head south to Durbar Square you'll find an even busier hub. There are temples and monuments everywhere in Kathmandu, and days can be spent wandering around inside all of them. Swayambhu stupa, known as the monkey temple, is approximately 30 minutes walk from Thamel, and 7 kms from the city centre is the Bhoudhanath stupa, built in the 6th century, and one of the largest temples in the world.
Kathmandu is the starting point if you're interested in trekking the Himalayas. There are day trips available or you can hire a guide for as long as you need to see these amazing natural wonders.
Thamel and Freak Street in Kathmandu have a large number of shops and stalls selling everything from woolen cloth to trinkets and souvenirs, and both places are a must for the interested traveller. Thamel itself is the nightlife hub of the city, but seasoned tourists are advised against staying there as prices are high, and tourists are targets for pickpockets. Take care when wandering around at night, and be sure to take a torch with you, as the streets are ill lit, and finding your way home may be difficult without one. Always travel with caution, and your flight to Kathmandu will remain in memory as an amazing spiritual experience, forever.
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