Flight over the Himalayas

Kathmandu Travel Blog

 › entry 18 of 33 › view all entries

End of the trip and with half the group catching trains on to China, it was just Ben and Sarah (US), Harry (Austria), Lev (Ukraine) and me to make the flight back to Lhasa.  Costing $369  for a 90 minute flight makes it one of the most expensive in the world, but the promised view should make it worthwhile. The Chinese officials much smoother in letting you out of the country and even accepted my request to exit stamp my passport (the Tibet visa is a separate piece of A4 that is disposed on exit).   1st in the airport, we all asked for the much sought after right hand window seat for the best views over the high Himalayas and Everest, only to find they had all been taken.  A little bit miffed, we waited for our plane to be ready which was waiting on the tarmac.

  Back to being ice cold as radiators having no effect on the big open plan departure lounge.  We pulled a bench over and put our feet against the radiator until time to leave. 

With very little activity, news came through that bad weather in Kathmandu was preventing take off. With absolutely nothing to do in the airport, the 2 hours dragged.  However we were eventually in the air and found that the Chinese had every single right hand seat !!

With a slight worry that the plane was unbalanced as everyone was on the right hand side of the plane, the 1st 30 minutes of the flight was much better on the left. Never known so many people move around the plane so much.  Lovely views with mountains and plane high above the cloud.

  Tannoy announcement came over to say about to fly past Everest and soon rewarded with stunning views of the high Himalaya range with Everest reaching up above a cluster of equally impressive peaks.  View improved by us talking our way in to 1st class to get some free window seats.  My thirst to see Everest thoroughly quenched from road and plane, my trip to Base Camp can wait for another trip. 

On landing we established that the delay hadn't been anything to do with bad weather, but we had just missed the end of a 3 day Maoist party strike.  All transport, tourist trips and shops had been shut down as the country ground to a halt.  Feeling very thankful that the end of the strike had coincided with our return as all other tourists in Nepal were stuck (and we would have been in Tibet), the 5 of us with full back packs squeezed in to a Suzuki Swift plus driver and headed back to Thamel.  Fond farewells and I was back on my own.  In Thamel for the 4th and last time, treated myself to a last meal at KToo for a steak and Irish coffee.  It was packed out with World Challenge kids back from trekking, but found a quiet corner by the Christmas tree and enjoyed a Christmas glow of contentment. 

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photo by: sharonburgher