Friday, January 1, 2010

Nepal Day 1 - Part II: First Impression of Kathmandu

We arrived at Kathmandu's international airport in the early afternoon.

Tip #1: Make sure you fill up the visa application form before you queue up at the immigration counter.

In flight, the air stewardess will only distribute the immigration form, not the visa application form.  You have to get the form in the immigration hall itself.

The immigration staff were friendly, but very slow.  There were only two counters, catering to two not too long queues, but yet it was still very slow.  It took us more than 30 mins to get our visa done and got through immigration.

Once that was cleared, we went straight to luggage claim to get our luggage.  The guy from Hotel Blue Horizon, had been waiting outside for us.

Tip #2: Never leave your luggage in somebody else' hand

WJ somehow let somebody help him pull his luggage to the van waiting for us.  The guy asked for a tip, and being new to the country without any local currency, we had to pay the guy US$1.00.  It is very pricy for that 2-3 mins of pulling WJ's luggage, considering a breakfast costs only Rs65 (US$1.00 = Rs 73).

Then off we went into our van which took us through Kathmandu to our hotel, which was actually a glorified guest house, or backpacker's lodge.

First impression, the city is very backward.  The streets are dark and dusty.  It felt like I went back in time to 1970s in my hometown - Guangzhou.  But even then, my hometown was still better, as there were well-paved roads everywhere.  Most of the streets in Kathmandu are paved with nothing but dirt.
The buildings are very run-down.  Even when we passed by the Royal Palace, now the Palace Museum, the road was better, but the outside of the Royal Palace looks very unattractive too.

The many painting and statues of various Hindu gods reminds you of coming to a country of gods.

You can find a complete list of blog entries about my Nepal trip here.

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