The day started with a 5am meetup in the hotel reception to start our journey to Lukla airport, considered by many as one of the most dangerous in the world.
Upon arriving at Kathmandu airport a scene of chaos awaited us. Before you’re even allowed in the airport you must clear a baggage security check. All bags are sent through the x ray machine and persons are searched. Afterwards you have to get your boarding pass and hand over hold luggage then go through another security check before arriving in the waiting room. After a while, our flight number was called and we went through the gate to a bus on the tarmac. The bus wound around the airport, dodging planes that had parked or were parking as well as various groups of soldiers, who were using the airfield as a running track. After a short wait, our plane arrived and parked nearby. 18 very weary but elated passengers disembarked and got onto the bus that we had just departed. Then, it was our time to board the aircraft. Quick tip, if you can, sit on the left of the aircraft for the most spectacular views of the mountains.
After a (very) short safety briefing by the air stewardess it was time to leave. The next 30 minutes of flight were quite incredible, with the plane skimming the sides of the mountains on its way to Lukla.
The landing was one of the smoothest I’ve ever encountered, so much so that the pilot garnered a round of applause from the passengers. After landing we walked over to the terminal building where we picked up our luggage (all bar one piece, which arrived on the next plane, about 10 minutes later). The porters proceeded to load themselves up with all of our bags and hurried off towards the next stop. One carrying two bags, the other 3. It was quite a sight to behold. We followed the second porter while our guide brought up the rear.
The walk from Lukla to Phakding winds gently along the side of the valley, slowly descending by 200 metres. Along the way we passed various herds of Yaks and Mules, decending back down from higher settlements. Along the way we passed various settlements, prayer wheels and mysterious carved rocks. The path is well defined and maintained. There is a single steel rope bridge, which looks very sturdy, but does shake menacingly as you walk over it.
After only a couple of hours we reached Phakding and were shown to our rooms at a very comfortable, but basic, tea house where we would stay for the night.
As always in Nepal, as far as our current experience has shown at least, the food and hospitality was excellent. We retired for the evening refreshed but very tired.