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Touts at Kathmandu airport

Nottingham, United...
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Touts at Kathmandu airport

We returned from Nepal last week and I just wanted to post more warnings about the touts at Kathmandu airport. It was pretty confusing when we came out of the arrivals area as there were several people holding up cards with the name of our hotel plus one with my name on it. I had read all the warnings about not letting touts help you with your luggage, as they demand to be paid, but when we spotted the person from the hotel who’d come to collect us, we assumed that the men who put our bags in the car were also from the hotel. Unfortunately we discovered that they were not and had just grabbed our bags from us so we had to tip them!!

They are also waiting for you when you come off the mountain flight.

When we flew to Pokhara, despite our best intentions, we were once again bushwhacked by the touts. As soon as we'd got one case out of the taxi and put it down to get the other one out, a man had grabbed the first and it was halfway to check-in and the same happened to the second one while we collected our hand luggage from the boot! A small crowd of men surround you fighting for a bag!! Of course you then have to tip them all!!

When we got to check-in, a man came up to us, showed us his official badge and took our passports and tickets. When he came back he also demanded a tip - for checking us in, which we could have done ourselves!!

The only solution seems to be to carry as many bags as possible across your body and keep a very tight hold on the suitcases.

Touts will also fetch you a luggage trolley and demand payment even though the trolleys are free to use. A nightmare!

Denmark
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1. Re: Touts at Kathmandu airport

Sorry to hear about your experience...I hope hasn't spoiled so much of the fun, that you don't want to go back?

It IS an inferno, when you get in or out of the airport and at other times, where you have a lot of luggage to handle. And it is definitely annoying that the hotel staff, that picks up people at the airport, doesn't do a better job protecting their guests. But we also need to tell them, that it isn't good enough to let the guests be intimidated by - what they surely must know - is touts.

We all need to make it more clear to the touts, that they are 'burning daylight' when they try to make money by intimidating tourists to pay tips for unwanted services. I think we need to put the foot down and loud'n'clear say 'NO WAY'.

There are Airport staff and police present, and if they don't react (and they probably don't), then we must complaint and demand a more professionel active effort from them.

Eventhough it can be unpleassant or may feel stingy we must stop paying tips...

...when the service provided was unwanted

...if the service wasn't any good

...out of pity

...of unrealistic huge amounts compared to the average wage level

But we need to play an active role to stop it...if we don't, we are a part of the problem.

(And this is not directed to you, diberry...or at least not you alone. It goes for all of us, and is also the peptalk I give my self before entering the inferno).

Nottingham, United...
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2. Re: Touts at Kathmandu airport

Thank you Lisbeth. I thought we were prepared but they totally overwhelmed us. However, by the end of the holiday we just said: "No" loud and clear and did not pay any more "tips". We'll know better if there's a next time! :-)

P.S. your recommendation of the International Guest House was spot on - many thanks!

Edited: 29 April 2014, 15:25
Denmark
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3. Re: Touts at Kathmandu airport

You are welcome...I am glad to hear you enjoyed the International Guesthouse. It is always a risk to recommend something to someone you don't really know.

To me it is a little piece of Heaven to sit in their garden and just enjoy this little spot of flawless green grass, beautiful flowers and (almost) quietness :-)

Nottingham, United...
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4. Re: Touts at Kathmandu airport

We also loved the Parkside Hotel in Chitwan - thank you again!

Singapore, Singapore
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5. Re: Touts at Kathmandu airport

I also read another thread on this.

Your recent experience at the airport had made me quite worried for my planned trip.

I really wonder can I handle the chaos. It seems strange that the police and the government is not doing anything about it.

Denmark
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6. Re: Touts at Kathmandu airport

Hi mousehunt

You can do it...!

It is not something you have to fear or be affraid of, no one is going to hurt you or attack you fysically...but it is definitely annoying.

Since you have already informed yourself in the earlier postings about this subject, I will just make a short list of advice:

* turn off all natural politeness; don't smile or make eye contact with them and very loud make it clear that their presens re not wanted near you or your luggage.

* first of all and right away, speak out loud that you pay no tips.

* travel with a backpack and not more than one piece of handluggage.

* dress like you don't have a lot of money (often we tend to want to look our best, when we arrive to a new place...don't do that)

* arrange airport pick up by your hotel or trekking agent

Remember the people standing outside the airport, trying to make a living out of tips from tourists, are just people, who has a hard time finding a better and more honest job. They are not evil, aggressive or mean - they just don't have the best conditions to improove their situation.

The crime rate in Nepal is very low...probably lower than in Singapore (and I think lower than Copenhagen, Denmark too).

So...take a deep breath, look selfconfident (if you don't feel it then just fake it), walk out of the airport and you will be on your way to your hotel in 10 minutes.

Enjoy...

.

Kathmandu, Nepal
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7. Re: Touts at Kathmandu airport

Hi diberry,

Sorry to hear your experiences and at the same time thank you so much for your tips for future travelers. I hope it will help other travelers to be aware of the situation.

Nottingham, United...
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8. Re: Touts at Kathmandu airport

mousehunt - I'm so sorry if I worried you. It is nothing to be afraid of - just very annoying. Keep hold of your luggage either on your body or held firmly and, as Lisbeth said, be very firm and repeatedly say "no". By comparison with the Nepalese, Westerners are fabulously wealthy. If you want to reward good service anywhere, please do so - the vast majority of people are absolutely lovely. I wrote my piece as a warning but please don't let it worry you or put you off going to Nepal. Have fun!

Brussels, Belgium
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9. Re: Touts at Kathmandu airport

A particular hassle is that the 'Official' prepaid taxi office is full of touts that try to follow you into the taxi.

Personally I walk out of the airport and pickup a hasslefree taxi outside the gate.

Surrey.
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10. Re: Touts at Kathmandu airport

There was another post also talking about the problems with touts and officials at Ktm airport: tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g293889-i9243-k7…

As was said by many people in the other post, it is essential that the Nepali authorities do something to improve the situation. It gives people a very bad first impression of Nepal, and may even put some people off going to Nepal.

I think that the various tourism interest groups (hotels, trekking companies, domestic airlines etc) urgently need to put pressure on the authorities - unless there is real pressure, nothing will happen.

As the other posts above, I would advise people not to be put off going to Nepal by this, but to be aware and to be firm with the touts.

Re the International Guest House - I stayed there for about 13 nights, split over 5 stays (between treks etc) on my last visit to Nepal 2012-13. For a medium price hotel, I though that it was pretty good, especially the much quieter location just outside Thamel, the garden (an oasis of quiet and calm), the very impressive local decor. The rooms were spacious, though the bathrooms were a bit "tired". I found the restaurant staff (especially the young waiter, Ruben Tamang) very helpful, though some of the reception staff could have been a bit more cheerful.