Mystic mayhem in Kathmandu; Rosemary Behan; The National

Nepal – Kathmandu Valley

The wet summer months can be a good time to visit the Nepalese capital from the UAE, as tourist numbers are fewer, room rates are lower and the air is cleaner.

Flying to Kathmandu with Etihad, I’m seated next to a seasoned pilot who has come for special training on landing an aircraft into Tribhuvan international airport – notoriously, one of the world’s most difficult thanks to its mountainous location. Towards the end of the flight, he disappears into the cockpit and I’m braced for turbulence. The coming down is mercifully uneventful – a swift but smooth descent through the haze reveals parched rice terraces and stacked housing below. The landing is slightly bumpy, with faster braking than normal.

I get to the front of the visa-on-arrival processing queue where I’m handed a form stating what can and cannot be brought into the country.

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