Nepal was absolutely stunning.
Sadly our SD card snapped half way through our stay so I don’t have much in the way of photos but we did learn a thing or two about how best to travel there (and how we should always have a back up of our photos) which I’ll do my best to relay.
We were flying to Kathmandu at the back end of a very ill few days in Delhi. Dazed and dehydrated we’d forgotten to check the visa process and our flight was in five hours.
Mild dread set in.
We need to get on the flight because we’ve paid almost two hundred dollars for tickets. But we also need passport photos for visas and I can just about stand on two feet, never mind traipse around the single most chaotic place on Earth looking for a photo booth that is unlikely to work when we finally find it.
Thankfully there were a couple of reviews on TripAdvisor that said we could have photos taken on arrival. The visa was to be paid for in cash, dollars or nepalese rupees only.
The cashier at Thomas Cook in Delhi airport let us know that he can not sell us dollars if we are planning to use them in Nepal. He clarified that they do in fact sell dollars and buy indian rupees but if we are going to Nepal, we would need to change them there. Is it the case that dollars can not be taken in to Nepal from India? If there was a valid reason for this, he wasn’t letting on so we gave up and spent what we had left on a three scoop Haagen Dazs each which was almost as expensive as the visa’s.
On arrival in Kathmandu there is a line of ‘do it yourself’ machines with built in cameras. We didn’t have any cash and were hoping to pay the forty dollar visa fee with a card but on asking the question were told that wasn’t possible and only cash payments in dollars would be accepted. We weren’t the only ones in this predicament and before long there was a line of people all flapping that they didn’t have cash.
Turns out that there is an ATM outside the airport which isn’t the ideal solution as it technically means letting you in to the country without an approved entry, but with a group of tired travellers all in the same boat, there wasn’t really another option.
The immigration staff took the passports of everyone going out to use the machine and the rest of us filled out applications and made idle chatter while we waited nervously for the guys to return with the goods.
Of course, the cash machine wasn’t working.
It was late at night by the time all of this was going on and the immigration staff were understandably keen to get home. It was then that the card payment machine miraculously appeared from a dusty corner unerneath the desk.
A mixture of relief slash frustration fell across everybody’s faces. Why make us go through such rigmarole if we could have paid with a card in the first place?
Nevertheless, the payments were approved and visas granted without anybody asking to see passport photo’s or the forms that we had been asked to complete!
So whatever you Du, don’t panic.