Nepal // Kathmandu and Patan //

Himalayan mountain flights

The harder you work to see the mountains in Nepal, the greater the reward, but there’s no denying the drama of the hour-long “mountain flight”. These scenic tours depart every morning, weather permitting, from Kathmandu’s Tribhuwan Airport – go as early as you can bear for the best chance of clear weather. Any agent can sell you a next-day ticket, and prices are standard, at $171 (not including taxi fare and Rs200 airport departure tax). There’s little to choose between the airlines, though Buddha and Yeti have good reputations. Routes are standard too: you fly close to the ranges northeast of Kathmandu, and get a slightly more distant view of Everest. Don’t imagine that you’ll actually be flying right in among the peaks, however, or you’ll be disappointed. And bear in mind that the standard flights to the mountain airstrips of, say, Jomosom and Lukla, are arguably even more exciting, given the landing. All that said, the mountain flight planes themselves are small, noisy and hugely atmospheric – and you’re allowed into the cockpit too. And the views, of course, are stunning.