I love to travel and my last adventure was a trek along Poon Hill in Nepal which is considered an easy trek. This time around I wanted to try something more daring so, my friends and I planned a trek to Everest Base Camp (EBC). Like a typical travel enthusiast I checked out all the blogs and articles related to the trek and was already imagining my journey to Everest.
We contacted few travel agencies for package details and prices. Much to my surprise the cost of trekking to Everest, it turns out, is not that cheap. I’m a student in Nepal and it is difficult for me to afford it. Plus there are certain criteria we needed to fill like minimum group requirements and the days to travel etc. etc. I was so bummed when I realized I couldn’t go.
Realizing how sad I was my dad offered me the next best thing to trekking to EBC, a mountain flight ticket. It is an early morning flight which takes me to a stone throwing distance to not only Everest, but most of the fabled mountains we have in Nepal. I thought if I couldn’t walk to Everest, nothing’s gonna stop me from flying over it. So, I took the offer… gladly!!
On the day of the mountain flight, I got up early, really early, in fact I kept on waking up every 15 minutes or so, I somehow did not trust the alarm I had set on my mobile phone. I was ready by 5:00 am in the morning. Our flight was scheduled at 6:45 am. I, along with my younger sister, dad and mom, reached at the domestic terminal of Tribhuvan International Airport at 6:30 a.m. The huge mass of tourists with their back-packs were already there.
We boarded the aircraft. There were about 10 more passengers, mostly Japanese and some Indians. The aircraft, though small, was comfy.
We had a lovely stewardess and her smile seemed genuine. On thing I noticed, she was.. kinda shortish..and it was perfect as she could stand upright in that small aircraft. To put the matter into perspective, I am 5′ 2″ but even I had to bend a little walking into the aircraft cabin. So, being not so tall has its perks.. hmm… Anyways, the lovely stewardess greeted us and handed a map of Himalayas. And to tell you what, every passenger was provided with window seat!! Nice.. After a few minutes, the flight took off and I could see a bird view of Kathmandu valley. Even the concrete jungle of Kathmandu looked magnificent from above. I decided I like Kathmandu much better from 5000 ft above.
Then the aircraft went through cotton clouds and within a few minutes, spectacular Langtang ranges appeared in my sight. Suddenly, I heard Click Click Click Click Click. Almost everyone in the plane was capturing this spectacular view. I also hurriedly took out my fully charged camera and took few snapshots.
Then one after another, we closely encountered with different Himalayas such as Dorje Lakpa (6966m) ,Shisa Pangma (8,013m), Gauri Shanker (7,134m), Melungtse (7,023m), Cho Oyu (8,201m), Pumori (8,171m), Nuptse (7,855m), Lhotse (8,516m), Amadablam (6,856m) and obviously, the Mt. Everest (8848m). The stewardess of the aircraft was telling us which Himalayan range we were looking at.
At one point the pilot invited us one by one to the cockpit to get a close view of the mountain range. That was cool. It was just amazing how majestic and mind blowing our Himalayas are. Everybody in the aircraft was going ‘Wow’, nonstop. When the aircraft went near to the Everest, I felt like I could just… reach out hand and touch it. It was there, the highest point in this whole world. It was awesome!!
At last, the 45 minutes of mountain flight came to end. I got it all within that 45 minutes, but I wanted more. I was born and raised in Kathmandu, I never in my dream realized I would be so fascinated looking at those mountains. It was truly an aw-inspiring experience and I would be doing it again!!!
Ok, I’m putting some more information for anybody who would like to take this out of the world experience.
There are many domestic flight operators who operate these mountain flights through the year. But for the best and un-obtructed view February to April and October & November would be the best seasons.
I did some research on safety and I’m quite convinced that these are safe flights operated by good airline companies with experienced pilots on good well maintained aircrafts. One good thing, which I really appreciate, is they do not take the flight until they are 100% sure that the weather is conducive. Our flight got delayed by about 30 minutes which was completely OK with me as they say.. safety before anything else.
It costs about $ 150 to $ 200 per flight per person depending on seasons. All i can say is… worth every penny. Next time I want to go on this trip with my own money.
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