Kathmandu to Lukla, Nepal
Day 3: Tuesday 3rd January 2006
Flight to Lukla
Our early morning call was at 4:30am. We showered and dressed and went downstairs for breakfast at 5am. It was hard to eat adequately knowing the excitement building up within oneself. The anticipation of the flight into Lukla was also playing a little on my mind. I am also not used to eating at such an early hour. I had managed to get about five hours sleep but Rose said my snoring had kept her awake.
At 5:50am we were all ready to leave for the airport. The roads were much quieter but the drivers were just as crazy. The passage through the Domestic Airport was very smooth but we were all frisked three times. It is good that the local authorities are so thorough about security. We also had our bags searched.
Delay at Kathmandu Airport
We had about an hourâ€™s wait for the airport at Lukla to clear of mist. The plane was small with 17 passengers and three crew members. The take off was smooth and the view from the window was spectacular all the way. It was a 40 minute flight to Lukla and I thought that it was quite reasonable except near the end when I was pleased that I had not eaten more than a light breakfast of fruit. On the other hand all of the other trekkers thought that the flight was very rough and were not looking forward to the return flight at the end of the trek.
Yes – you read correctly. We flew Yeti Airlines to Lukla. The planes they use here in Nepal are small STOL (Short Take Off and Landing – for more information click here). Other planes cannot land on some of the air strips in Nepal as they need longer runways. They are cramped, noisy and not recommended for those with claustrophobic tendencies! The aisle is narrow, the seats seem only just big enough for the very thinnest of people and if you are tall, like James from our trekking group – be sure to get an aisle seat to stretch out your legs. Otherwise your knees end up around your ears.
The WOW Factor
As I stepped out of the plane at Lukla my immediate response was “WOW!” The sight of the towering mountains on every side is almost overwhelming. Tears to the eyes stuff. Dreams come true! I’m here in the heart of the Himalayas.