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Best way to fly to Kathmandu

Please use the tabs above to read about flights to the various countries in the Himalaya. 

Important general notes

Airport security checks

New enhanced security checks were implemented in July 2014 at a number of international airports, including in the UK and USA. In addition to existing security measures, passengers may be required to show that electronic devices in their hand luggage are charged up, and you may therefore be asked to turn on devices such as mobile phones, tablets, laptops and e-books in front of the security team. If the device does not have power, then it may be retained by airport security, or you would need to book onto a later flight once the device has been fully charged. You should ensure that all electronic devices in your hand luggage are fully charged prior to travel. If you are transferring between flights, make sure that you do not deplete the power on your devices on the first part of the journey, as it may not be possible to recharge the device at the transfer airport before boarding your next flight.

Deep-Vein Thrombosis

When travelling on long-haul flights (especially over 8 hours) there are a number of recommendations that are believed to reduce the risk of DVT. These include keeping well hydrated and avoiding alcohol, stretching and moving around the aircraft, and wearing compression stockings.

Top tip

Our number one tip when travelling to the Himalaya is to wear your walking boots and pack as many essential items as possible in your carry-on luggage. If your luggage is delayed we can do our best to kit you out to start the trek on time, but your worn-in boots are the one thing we cannot replace. 

There are several ways to get to Nepal from Europe and the USA all of which involve an international flight to Tribhuvan International Airport which is the main airport in Kathmandu.

There are a lot of flights that fly to Kathmandu through the Middle East. Qatar, Gulf and Air Emirates offer daily flights from Europe and the US to Kathmandu, with a stopover at their central hubs. You must be careful though, as some of these layovers are very long indeed. Check the schedules carefully, and consider using Qatar. They seem to have the shortest layovers (at Doha) by a substantial margin.

The other alternative is to fly via Delhi, with BA , Air India or Jet and then catch a shorter flight up to Kathmandu. Again be careful of long layovers and be warned - some of the reviews for Air India are less than glowing!

Ebookers and Expedia are good sources for low cost flights. However, we find that Skyscanner is the best at the moment, and we recommend it highly.

Domestic flights in Nepal

The majority of our trekking itineraries in Nepal involves a domestic flight. Airfields such as Lukla are among the most remote and difficult to land on in the world and are a challenge for even the most technically proficient pilots. It is not uncommon for bad weather to cause lengthy delays, as the airport will be closed if the cloud cover is too great. If possible you should allow some extra days in Kathmandu at the end of your trip so that we have some leeway if any of your flights are delayed.

You should also be aware that flights in Nepal have a poor safety record compared to international flight standards. In 2013, all carriers from Nepal were put on an aviation banned list, preventing them from flying in EU airspace. This ban does not mean that these airlines are prevented from flying in Nepal, nor does it mean that an EU national cannot fly with one of these airlines. Since the ban, some airlines have been proactive and have retained an independent aviation safety expert to audit their operations. Wherever possible, we use one of these airlines.

Currently there are only two airline operators that fly to Bhutan, Drukair and Bhutan Airlines. The main airport is in Paro (2,225m) and currently receives flights from Bangkok, Dhaka, Delhi, Kolkata, Bagdogra, Guwahati, Gaya, Kathmandu and Singapore. This means that you need to get to one of these hubs to catch a connecting flight to Paro.  

The flight into Paro is pretty exciting as the position of the airport requires the plane to get much closer to the mountain tops than most other flights in the world. If you are lucky enough to fly from Kathmandu to Paro and the weather is clear you will fly over 4 of the 5 highest mountains in the world - Mt. Everest, Lhotse, Makalu and Kangchenjunga.

A second international airport is currently under construction in Gelephu along the southern border of Bhutan to India. 

Domestic flights to Bhutan

The majority of our trekking itineraries in Bhutan involves a domestic flight. The airfield at Paro is subject to Visual Flight Rules (VFR) and as such can be affected by poor visibility when clouded in. It is not uncommon for bad weather to cause delays, as the airport will be closed if the cloud cover is too great. If possible you should allow some extra days in Paro at the end of your trip so that we have some leeway if any of your flights are delayed.

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Rachel Miller

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Phone: +44 (0) 1283 499 980

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Rachael Bode

Adventure Travel Consultant

Phone: + 44 (0) 1283 499982

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Sharon King

Adventure Travel Consultant

Phone: +44 (0) 1283 499981

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