So because I am behind on blog posts I’m jumping out of chronological again to go into our latest trip. Having got to Manchester airport with not much time to spare owing to train delays we had only a little time to enjoy the Aspire lounge prior to boarding. The flight to Istanbul was uneventful and surprisingly comfortable. The wide seats of Turkish airlines short haul business class made the four hours fly by. Our food was served by the on board chef and had a great variety of dishes to choose from. The flight attendants were attentive throughout and the special business class shuttle bus from the plane to the terminal was a thoughtful touch.
Istanbul Ataturk airport is a decent size but we didn’t really have time to explore everywhere. We did just about get chance to visit the Turkish Airlines lounge though and it is huge!! There are restaurant areas, comfy seating, a cinema room with popcorn, snack/drinks bars, a golf simulator and even a scaletrix (sp?) track. Our time was short though so we just had a couple of drinks and then went to get onto flight number 2.
The leg from Istanbul to Kathmandu was slightly longer at 8 hours. This meant that the plane was equipped with lie flat beds. We ended up not paying much attention to the food on this leg and used our time to watch a quick film from the extensive entertainment system then lay back and passed out for the rest of the flight until we had to sit back up for the descent.
If at all possible I would recommend a day time landing at Kathmandu airport because the view out across the city with the Himalayas in the background is just stunning. I got seriously snap happy at this point.
On arrival to Kathmandu it took a couple of hours to get through visas and immigration with the most convoluted system I have ever experienced. We were then picked up to transfer to our hotel the Hotel Himalaya which is nice enough, clean and with good amenities although Wi-Fi is either in the communal areas or you have to pay for it in your room.
The hotel was a little away from the main tourist area of Kathmandu so in the afternoon we decided to walk in towards the hubbub to try a food place recommended by vloggers we follow, Kara and Nate. In the Thamel area we ate at Chick ‘n’ Falafel that does wraps made with delicious fresh naan bread, which in itself is worth going for, but the filling was also yummy. We then grabbed a drink from the Pumpernickel Bakery across the street from this. All this area is definitely geared more towards tourists and was the only place we went through on our walk where people came up to you to try and get you into their shops. It is however a great place to stock up on hiking or camping gear which we would be doing when back in Kathmandu at the end of the trip.
At this stage the many hours of travelling finally caught up with us so instead of strolling back to our hotel we hailed a taxi, had a quick drink the hotel bar- Base Camp Bar- and then went upstairs to bed. It may not have been the most productive day sightseeing-wise but it allowed us a good glimpse of Kathmandu both from the air and ground level. Everything seemed really friendly and safe with a beautiful backdrop but it is so dusty. The business flight with Turkish Airlines was very nice and they definitely looked after us and the Istanbul lounge is incredible, it was also seriously good value.
Have you flown with Turkish before, if so what did you think? Have you been to Kathmandu? Any recommendations for the city?