April 12-13, 2018
The 18-Hour Trip from Kuantan, Malaysia to Kathmandu, Nepal
Location: Kathmandu (city), Nepal
Excitement about Kathmandu
With my visa expiring, I had to leave Malaysia for Kathmandu, Nepal. Why Kathmandu? I don't really know. But the place excites me - and that's good enough. I researched and planned as much as I can on how to get there, but didn't really plan or research on what I do when I get there - that was the plan.
Since the trip to Kathmandu entailed many steps and transfers (walk to Hentian Bander station, bus to TSK, bus to TBS, bus to KLIA2, plane for Kathmandu, bus ride to Ratna Park, walk to hotel), I had to work my itinerary backwards to ensure I don't miss any transfer. It's not enough to just add-up the travel time.
eg - if I have to leave Kuantan at 5am to catch my 11am flight, is there a bus leaving that early? If the first bus leaves after 5am, then it means I leave Kuantan the day before on the last bus trip and figure out where I sleep - and I had to keep going backwards to ensure the transfer availability. If I couldn't get the info online (or if the info is conflicting), I had to make a separate trip to the bus terminal just to find out the actual schedule. This process took a lot of time and effort.
Identifying all Variables
I was OC listing down the entire process on a timeline on my phone. That way, I wouldn't have to do any thinking anymore - I'll simply follow the instructions. eg - 1pm upon arrival at Kathmandu, exchange $ to NPR (for bus fare), upon leaving the airport, walk past the rotunda, walk left to the bus stop and flag-down the Ratna Park bus, NPR20.
Chaos at Tribhuvan International Airport
It got confusing upon landing in Kathmandu. At the airport, it wasn't clear where we line up. I saw an Immigration line-up saying "15/30 day Visa". I thought this was where I buy the visa. When my turn came, after lining up a long while, I was told I had to buy the visa first in a different line! Me, together with other travelers lining up, stepped out to go to the visa purchase line.
Going to the Money Changer, there was pandemonium - guys from a certain ethnic origin were crowding and cutting into each other. There was no line but more like a mob. Airport personnel were oblivious.
After all that delay, I came to the baggage carousel - my baggage wasn't released yet. It took 2 hours for me to get my baggage. Apparently, there were many misplaced baggages so they didn't know on what baggage carousel to place them on. Sigh!
Everything was going perfect until I got off at Ratna Park. My hostel was a good 1km walk through a maze of narrow roads within Thamel (with 24 kilos on my backpack). I was completely reliant on my Maps.Me app on my phone. I had the route mapped-out with bookmarked landmarks from the bus station to the hostel. And then my phone battery died! I had a power-bank, but it wasn't charged. I was blind as a bat from there on. All I had was a printed document showing, "8848 Hostel, Thahity, Thamel, Kathmandu". It wasn't a full proper address - Thahity is still a big area and 8848 Hostel is newly built so people don't even know it exists. I asked so many people for directions but I could hardly understand their English. They would point out the general direction but still I got lost, going around in circles with my heavy load under the hot sun and dusty road. I finally got to the hotel - exhausted. But I was happy I made it and could finally rest and get some sleep.
With every new destination, I make an all-out effort and challenge myself identifying all the variables to ensure a flawless journey. However, there is always something I inadvertently leave out. I have yet to make that perfect score. This time, my oversight was not having charged my power-bank.
Now, with 30 days to spend in Kathmandu, my first visit, not knowing the language, culture or tradition, not having any itinerary, and roughly $200 left, I begin a new mini-life.
Reader Comments:Melissa Anne Thomas
(Apr 18, 2018) Do you have any connections there? I hope you have a magical time! ❤
(April 18, 2018) ...having a magical time already with no connection whatsoever. Like Burning Man, I came alone and now I've met many wonderful people ❤
(Apr 18, 2018) Hey Gigit, good luck to your Kathmandu adventure
(Apr 18, 2018) Goodluck Kuya Gigit all the best!
(Apr 18, 2018) How long are you in Kathmandu - I will be there tomorrow?
(April 18, 2018) Hey Judy !!! I will remain here until May 12. I'd love to catch up with you. I'm in the Thamel area at 8848 Hostel...nice place to meet people.
(Apr 18, 2018) I don't think I could have handled all that stress! You're one cool traveler, Git
(Apr 18, 2018) Ingat pinsan
(Apr 18, 2018) Very inspiring, Gigit!
Next stop: 7 Days in Kathmandu
Kathmandu (city), Nepal
Travel Tips for Kathmandu
- Kathmandu is dusty and you'll need a mask
- if on a budget, cheap staple comfort food in Kathmandu is momo, local price in local eateries at NPR 60/10 pieces
How to get to Thamel (Kathmandu) from the Tribhuvan International Airport
- You can take a cab for about $7
- Airport by bus to Thamel (Ratna Park Bus terminal)
But if you want to save money and don't mind roughing it, you can take a bus. Walk out of the airport and turn left on the rotunda just outside the airport gate. This takes you to the main road where buses ply. The bus signs are in Nepali, but you can hear the bus conductor shouting, "Ratna Park". NPR 20, 30 minutes
Travel Tips for Nepal
- tourist visa up to 15 days = $25, up to 30 days = $40, up to 90 days = $100, transit = $5, and they will accept currencies from 18 countries
- best to register for a tourist visa online (http://online.nepalimmigration.gov.np/tourist-visa). This saves you time, trouble and the hassle of bringing in a picture with you. You get the approved form printed and just show it to the Immigration guys in Kathmandu
- NPR (Nepalese Rupee) 100 = US$1
- nearly every food served is spicy...there is no escaping it
Nepal Blogs by TheLoneRider
- Visiting Boudhanath, Nepal's Largest Stupa Apr 19, 2018
- Vinyasa Yoga with Dipendra at the Mandala Yoga Studio and Spa, Kathmandu Apr 18, 2018
- Hatha Yoga with Madhab Prasad Dhakal at Sawar Yoga Studio, Kathmandu Apr 17, 2018
- Fitness in Kathmandu Apr 15, 2018
- 7 Days In Kathmandu April 13-20, 2018
- The 18-Hour Trip from Kuantan, Malaysia to Kathmandu, Nepal April 12-13, 2018
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