Delhi Hotels & How to Get Through Kathmandu Airport (& Keep Your Sanity)

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Electrical outlets you find across India (and parts of Nepal) are amazing because they’re designed to accommodate plugs from so many regions).

DELHI

Upon returning from Amritsar, I decided to stay close to the airport, just to make my life easier (because my flight to Nepal was leaving the next afternoon and I didn’t want to fight Delhi traffic in the morning). Best decision ever. The Aerocity that Delhi has created near the airport is fantastic. No, it doesn’t offer a “real” slice of Delhi. But you are a 5 minute drive to the airport, the hotels are all new so remarkably quiet even given proximity to the airport, and there are tons of food options in walking distance. And it’s actually safe enough for solo female travelers to walk around on their own! (Only part of Delhi where this is true?!) As a loyal SPG/Marriott member, I decided to stay at the Aloft property and WOW. It was fantastic. Beautiful pool (though I did not take advantage) and best hotel gym I think I’ve ever seen (anywhere)- complete with a free personal trainer on duty who will help (for free, I think- I was short on time and already had a HIIT workout created so didn’t take advantage).

Also only a 5 minute walk to the Worldmark building, which has a great food court and a couple places I would totally recommend: Bikanervala (they have loads of options, but I went there for the chat and it was BOMB!! I had the Bhalla Papri!) and Chai Garam (I never knew there were like 10 types of chai!). Both super enjoyable. 

One final travel tip for Delhi: when flying internationally out of this airport, make sure you arrive AT LEAST 3 hours ahead of your flight time. I arrived 2 hours early and probably would have missed my flight (had it not been delayed). 

NAVIGATING KATHMANDU AIRPORT

The airport in Kathmandu is small but the arrival area can be confusing and the whole process can be a major headache if you’re not prepared. When you arrive in Kathmandu, you will pass wood stands on your left with Arrival forms. You may have to dig through several to find a blank form; they are primarily full of forms other passengers started, made a mistake on, and discarded in the same area. Once you complete this, go over to the computer kiosks to input information to obtain your VISA (if you did not do so prior to arrival in Nepal). When you finish, the computer will print a slip. Take that slip and proceed to the counters that are just past all the kiosks; do NOT get in the security line yet. You must pay for your VISA at this separate counter first. They prefer cash, but will accept credit cards. But I learned the hard way that if you want to pay with a credit card, they will make you stand in line until someone decides to walk over and run the credit card machine for you. And believe me, they are not in a rush and will continue to process other people who are paying with cash. Cost of the VISA can be found online, but I know it is $40 for a 30 day VISA ($41 if you pay with a credit card). And for those of you (Americans only?) who do not have a PIN number associated with your credit card- forget about it, you won’t be able to use that card. Only after you have paid and gotten the proper receipt (the credit card payment slip won’t work!), which is 2 pages hand written, one is yellow and the other is white or green, you can then proceed to the security line. After you get through security, you then get to enjoy the long wait for your bags. Took about 1 hour 15 minutes from the time our plane landed for bags to finally make it into the airport. Once you collect your bags, but before clearing customs, you have to wait in another line to pass your bags through another security machine. You can then walk through customs and exit the airport. Pack your patience, this whole process took me about 1.5 hours and there was only 1 other flight that landed the near same time as mine. 

This will be my last post for about 1 month. As soon as I heal I’m heading to a remote village in Nepal without access to the outside world. Excited to unplug for awhile. This will no doubt be the most “basic” conditions I’ve ever lived in, so quite the adventure ahead of me!

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