Lukla Travel Guide
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You've heard of Tenzing-Hillary/Lukla Airport (LUA) before. Everyone has. As the airport for Mount Everest, it's not only top of our list of World's Most Dangerous Airports, but it's one that's proved killer in the past. Landing here and taking off from here, if the weather allows for it, means braving an uneven runway and old, tiny airplanes. Needless to say, it scares the bejeezus out of us.
That said, day in and day out, Lukla Airport flies tourists and trekkers to the remote location. One such recent visitor (who survived her ordeal) is friend of Jaunted Farryn Weiner. Farryn, formerly of Jetsetter.com and presently at Michael Kors, just returned from a few weeks of going native around India and Nepal. She cobbled together her photos and video shot on the trip into the inspiring mini-film above, which kind of reminds us of a series of GIFs.
The first few seconds of the video feature her view from the plane on the way to Lukla Airport, but we've also got some words from her on the experience:
Don't say we didn't warn you: We did. On October 8, a plane crashed for the second time since 2005 at the tiny airport near Mt. Everest, killing 18.
The 19-seat Yeti Airlines plane had nearly completed its flight from Katmandu when it snagged its wheels on a security fence at Tenzing-Hillary Airport in Lukla, Nepal about 40 miles from Mount Everest Base Camp. Two Australians, two Nepalese and 12 tourists from Germany on a Hauser Exkursionen tour died. Only the pilot survived.
Nepal-based Yeti Airlines has volunteered to clear away a mess of bottles and cans littering a town known as the Gateway to Mount Everest. The town of Lukla is home to Tenzing-Hillary Airport--perhaps the sketchiest in the world--and has apparently accumulated a lot of waste due to careless hikers and hotel owners.
A senior official at Yeti said the company hopes to clear away as much as 37,000 pounds of empty beer bottles alone! We suppose it probably takes a few drinks to talk yourself into climbing the world's highest peak.
Recovered bottles will be given to breweries to be reused or recycled. Airline officials are hoping their effort will raise awareness among both tourists and locals about the importance of preserving the local habitat. We're glad Yeti's doing this, but it's a tad depressing that the awe of the Himalayas hasn't been enough to drive that point home.
[Photo: Sam Judson]
One of the world's most dangerous airports--at least according to us--will be renamed to honor the two climbers who tamed Everest in 1953. Lukla Airport, a small strip served by Yeti Airlines, will soon be known as Tenzing-Hillary Airport, and a route between it and the Everest base camp will also be named for them.
Officials are also planning to put up some statues of the famous climbers at the mountaineering museum in Pokhara, east of Lukla. Oh, and before you go booking a flight to the airport, watch some of the white-knuckle rides that people have uploaded to YouTube to make sure you're up for the trip.
· Nepal Honors Two Everest Heroes [BBC]
· Nepal Airport, Route Named After Heroes [Reuters]
· Introducing Tenzing-Hillary Airport [WorldHum]
· World's Most Dangerous Airports: Lukla [Jaunted]
· World's Most Dangerous Airports coverage [Jaunted]
For the next couple of days we are doing a quick fly-over of the world's most dangerous airports. Know a stomach dropping, palm sweat inducing airport we should check out? Send it along.
Since Lukla Nepal is the place most people start their Mount Everest trek, this Himalayan strip gets quite a bit of traffic--mostly to and from Kathmandu.
Sirens inform folks for miles when an airplane is landing here, and as you would suspect, only helicopters and Twin Otter type planes can handle the 2,000 foot, uphill runway that is fenced off at the end, to protect you from the edge of a mountain cliff.
As for take off?
When you take off, you go downhill and then the runway just disappears into the valley down below. If you don't get enough speed, you drop until you get lift and then hopefully get back up again.
Wind and weather cause plenty of delays here, however, there is usually plenty to drink around the airport, just in case you need to pass the time or get up the gumption to get on your flight.
Yeti Airlines is one of the few commercial airlines you can book through to get to LUA.
Click Here to check out a small craft landing at Lukla.
[Photo: Dave & Marks trip]