I was asked by a friend what brought me 10,000 miles away from home, over 10 times, to Nepal. It brought me a little up short and I had to go back some 6 years to remember the path that lead me to this beautiful Himalayan land. Serendipity ......
The First Event – I retired from over 40 years of teaching. That change in life style would lead to the next event on the path to Nepal.
The Second Event - My wife and I decided to celebrate the First Event we would take a river cruise in Europe. To this end my wife started bringing home travel guides and books. One of these books would lead to the next event.
The Third Event - One of the books had letters from travelers and one person said that whenever he took a trip to a place he had never been he joined this free international pen pal club and wrote to someone from the country to which he was traveling. He said he always got a response and valuable information about where to go and what to see. And so I did exactly as he suggested and this lead me to the fourth event on my road to Nepal.
The Fourth Event - I contacted someone and got information and it worked beautifully. As I was scanning the list of countries I came across Nepal and I looked at the people wanting to write to a pen pal. I wrote and got a response and this lead to the last step. The Fifth Event – this was an invitation to visit Nepal. It included my wife, who declined, but I went as I had never been before. That was 6 years ago and since that time I have come to admire and love the people of Nepal who struggle against so many shortages and a lack of a government. But, it is the children that are the draw for me. As a former educator, I am torn by the helpless victims of civil war and political malaise that keeps children begging on the streets and involved with drugs and a sense that nobody cares. So, I help where I can. Getting there is neither of a short duration nor a cheap travel trip. I have tried many ways and the best and most expedient way is to fly Thai Airlines out of Los Angeles to Bangkok, Thailand.
This is a 16 to 18 hour flight. Once in Thailand, landing at 6:30 AM or so, the next day leaves you tired but glad to walk the ,long corridors of the airport and visit the shops and grab a bite to eat. For me on the way out, or in, I grab a McDonald’s hamburger as beef is not a staple in Nepal. After a 3 to 4 hour wait you fly for about 3 and a half hours into Kathmandu, Nepal, by Thai Air.
Another way is to fly out of either Los Angeles or San Francisco to home ports for whatever airline you choose. For example, on my last trip I flew Singapore Airlines so we stopped in Inchon/Seoul, Korea on our way to Singapore. In Korea we had a 2 hour layover after a 14 hour flight and then we were off again for another 6 hours into Singapore. Here I booked a room at the Ambassador Hotel which is inside the airport. Be sure to make reservations well ahead. Then in the morning we took off and flew another 6 hours into Kathmandu. Singapore service was excellent on board. This was a long flight. The one positive was the hotel where one could get a hot shower and about 6 hours of sleep. If you are younger the long flights and long layovers, 10 to 12 hours depending where you land, are handled more easily than for older travelers. Although a bit more Thai offers the ease of the flight, superior service and a quicker arrival time in Nepal.
Will I go again? Yes, as I am drawn there by good friends, beautiful scenery and the chance to help a little and give back to a few.