Arriving in Nepal
I’m going to pick up my adventure when we arrive in Nepal. I typically enjoy long-haul flights because I tend to choose a seat towards the back of the plane where no one else seems to want to sit. I then usually have my pick of seats once the plane is at cruising altitude to sprawl out and enjoy the entertainment and drinks. This flight, however, was a bit crowded, but fortunately, I had my best friends by my side and we passed the time watching movies and catching up since it had been a while since we had last seen each other. I’m going to skip over all the events of our layovers within China because I never want to relive those moments again.
Landing in Kathmandu
We landed in Kathmandu and were greeted with a rush of other travelers landing at the same time. Everyone hustled into the customs area to purchase their visas and exchange money. A tip for those wanting to visit Nepal in the future, get your visa ahead of time. The machines used to generate your visa at the airport are slow and out of date. I overheard other travelers talking about how it is easy to do online beforehand. Next time I will absolutely take the time to accomplish this before landing in Kathmandu. Exchanging money, on the other hand, must be done in Nepal and cannot be done beforehand. Doing this at the airport was extremely easy and safe.
Driving into Thamel
Our guide picked us up from the airport and we headed towards our accommodation for the night in Thamel, which is considered the most touristy area in Kathmandu. Our ride was bumpy and full of close calls, but I had faith that our driver would get us to the hotel safely, even if we were put in a “time out” by a traffic cop.
Our hotel, M Hotel Thamel, was equipped with wifi and a rooftop restaurant. We settled in and then our guide ushered us to their local office so that we could have a pre-trek meeting. We followed with haste as we weaved in and out of traffic on the narrow streets that were lined with climbing equipment and souvenirs for sale. If you traveling to the Himalayan region and forget anything for your trek, trust that you can find it for a very good price in Thamel. Know that most of the gear is off-brand, but that does not mean it will not suffice. Our sleeping bags were from a local vendor and kept me nice and toasty even while sleeping in a tent in Gorakshep (16,900 ft).
Enjoying an Everest
After our meeting, we had some free time which we used for grabbing some food and drinks on the rooftop of our hotel. I enjoyed an ice cold Everest beer which is the local lager of choice. We ended our night early seeing as we had to be up extremely early for our flight to Lukla and the official beginning of our trek to Everest Base Camp. *April 1st, 2018.