Nepal 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:
Hoping to get away and do some good this holiday season? Habitat for Humanity has just the trip for you!
Habitat for Humanity is planning a trip to Chitwan, Nepal from December 9- 24, 2011 where volunteers will help build bamboo homes with the families who need them. There are no special skills required, but travelers must be flexible, willing to learn, and have a positive attitude.
Nepal may just position itself as this year's travel hot spot, and not just because of its crazy 157-day hike on the Great Himalaya Trail that starts in February. It is vying to be a vacation destination for gay couples.
The country gave it a go in 2009 and became the first South Asian nation to decriminalize homosexuality. Since then, Nepal has okayed same-sex marriage and is seeking to ensure gay rights in the new constitution.
Here's your chance to hike the Great Himalaya Trail—and we're not talking like "hike the Appalachian Trail" à la South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford. For the first time, a tour operator is bringing groups through the trail on an intensive 157-day hike.
Even experienced hikers will need some help on the Great Himalaya, the longest and highest alpine route in the world. The trail winds between the largest mountains and the most remote communities in the world, connecting Bhutan, China, India, Nepal and Pakistan.
Nepal, a country that's been wracked by years of political instability, is desperately in need of tourism money. GLBT travelers and couples, all things being equal, tend to have relatively high amounts of disposable income, or so Nepal thinks. Therefore, the Nepal tourism board is launching a massive campaign to highlight the country as a gay travel destination. In addition to a very public campaign, they're planning to host an international conference next winter specifically on the subject:
Nepal government has held a series of meetings with well-known international tour operators and non-profit organisations to promote Nepal as a potential destination for LGBTs... Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) officials hope that LGBT arrivals will give a boost to the number of visitors to the country as the government mulls new way to bring in a million foreign tourists in the Nepal Tourism Year 2011. "Some international companies want to work in tandem with the government and attract LGBTs.'
One of the world's last old-school monarchies, the royal family of Nepal, is being eased out of their luxuries as the country gets keen on democracy. And as the royal family is on the way out, Parliament has asked them to kindly vacate their royal residence.
But their loss is inquisitive travelers' gain: the government is transforming Narayanhity Royal Palace in Kathmandu into a tourist attraction, throwing its gates open to the public today.
Much of the immense palace, some of which is as old as 200 years, has only been seen by a few non-Royal eyes before. The first phase of the palace's new existence as a museum opens 19 imposing royal bedrooms, salons and banquet halls, and also includes a memorial at the notorious site where 10 royal family members will killed in a shocking shooting eight years ago.
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.
Our three-year-old niece considers herself a goddess. For one, she eats grilled cheese only when it's toasted to the perfect shade of brown. Further, she bluntly asks arriving visitors whether or not they brought her a present.
Still, she's super cute. (We figure it's a survival technique so we don't throttle the little narcissist.) So why is it so unfortunate that a three-year-old girl in Kathmandu, Nepal was declared a child goddess?
Feeling less threatened lately? That's probably because the Bigfoot body which was "discovered" last week in California turned out to be yet another hoax. But Japanese scientists, undeterred, are leading a trek into the Himalayas to collect definitive evidence of the existence of the yeti, Bigfoot's Eastern cousin.
Yeti Project Japan left Kathmandu Thursday seeking traces of the half-man half-ape which they believe lives on the Dhaulagiri IV peak. If they find nothing, maybe they can have a big party up there since the expedition is co-sponsored by the brand "Lost in Translation" made famous, Suntory liquor.
· Bigfoot Hoaxers Resurface, Blame California Promoter [FOX News]
· Japanese Team on Yeti Quest in Nepal [AP]
· WTF Hotel News:: "Bigfoot" DNA Analysis at The Cabana Hotel [HC]
· Nepal Travel coverage [Jaunted]
[Photo of the Abominable Snowman from "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer": Buttercup Punch]
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]
Officials at Nepal Airlines, the country's state run airline, have sacrificed two goats to appease Akash Bhairab, the Hindu sky god, following technical problems with one of its Boeing 757s, the airline announced today. Seriously.
The goats were sacrificed in front of the balky aircraft on Sunday at Nepal's Kathmandu airport--following Hindu traditions. So to quickly recap, if you land at Nepal's LUA airport you have to deal with a freaky take off and landing, and if you land in Kathmandu you may witness a goat sacrifice in action.
A senior airport official said:
The snag in the plane has now been fixed and the aircraft has resumed its flights.
Hmmm. Somehow we doubt PETA members will be flying this airline anytime soon. We don't know what is more disturbing, the actual sacrificing or the fact that the aircraft was declared "fixed" post sacrifice. You decide.