In recent years, Nepal has opened doors to tourists and thrived as a tourist hub. This Buddhist hinterland made the inflow of travellers easier with the airports in its capital city and the largest metropolis of the country, Kathmandu.
One of the main airports in Kathmandu is the Tribhuvan International Airport. It is well-organized, with all the basic facilities and services making travel comfortable and hassle-free journey into the city. There is another airport at a distance of 200 kilometres from Kathmandu city- the Pokhara Airport which is not fully constructed yet but in use.
1. Tribhuvan International Airport
Tribhuvan International Airport is the only functioning international airport in Kathmandu. It serves both domestic and international flights. Currently, it bases thirty international airlines. So if you are travelling internationally, you will land up commuting to and from Tribhuvan International Airport. It may not be huge but it is enough to host the tourists flowing into the country. The number of international airports is said to double as per its development plan. The location of the airport is very convenient for tourists as it is just 1 km from the famous Pashupatinath Temple and one can make a visit to the temple on their way.
Distance and Transport
Distance from Kathmandu City: 5.56 kilometres east of Kathmandu city. It is a twelve to fifteen-minute drive into the city. 1. Taxi: One can take a metered taxi into Kathmandu which costs 200-250 Nepalese Rupee. It is definitely one of the most convenient modes of transport but a little expensive as compared to others. The ride takes about twenty minutes into the city. Taking a walk up-to Ring road will get you a cheaper taxi. There will be many luggage pickers available outside the airport to help you. Fares differ during the day and night. 2. Bus: A bus stop on the ring road is available for you to take cheap transport. It takes 30-40 Nepalese Rupee only. However, with a load of luggage, it might not be the most convenient option. 3. Car Rentals: There are car rental kiosks at the airport in the arrival halls to help you hire a car. International services like Avis, Budget and Hertz will help you get a rental car. Holding an international license helps you get one. This option is convenient but costs more than the other transportation modes. 4. Hotel shuttles: Some hotels are generous enough to get you a hotel transfer free of cost while some take a minimal charge. It seems to be the easiest way to commute if you are travelling directly from or to your hotel.in this case you will need to contact your hotel prior to your arrival or departure. 5. Car parking: Long-term parking is available to the left as you exit the airport in case you want to park your car for a longer time. The short-term is located right outside the terminal building. It holds a capacity of 275 four-wheelers at a time only.
Services and Facilities
1. ATMs: A number of international and local bank ATMs are stationed at this airport in Kathmandu in case of last-moment money withdrawals, transfer or deposits.
2. Foreign Exchange Centres: Foreign exchange counters are available at the airport as well. One placed at the departure zone and two in the arrival halls for your convenience. They come extremely handy for tourists travelling internationally.
3. WIFI: If anything makes a traveller happy, it is free WIFI available at the airport. They can easily connect to wifi-(Free_TIA_Worldlink_Wifi) and enjoy the internet service. Another WIFI service is (TIA-Wifi-Departure) available after passing through immigration in the departure zone.
4. Nepal Tourism Information Kiosk: Obviously, tourists need an itinerary when they get to Kathmandu without a fixed travel plan. The Nepal Tourism Board Information kiosk gives you all the details you need to head and travel across the country. For help with hotels, they also help with hotel bookings in case you don’t have one. It gives a host of knowledge required on Nepal’s tourism.
5. Post Office: There is a post office facility available for postal services from the airport.
6. Press Rooms: If you’re travelling for business and need a space at the airport then Tribhuvan International Airport has you sorted. There’s not one but two press rooms to hold your conferences. In case one is busy you wouldn’t have to wait for long hours and use the other room. One can hold a capacity of 30 people whilst the other can hold 40.
7. CIP lounge: For commercially important persons (CIP) arriving at this airport in Kathmandu, one might need to rest or take some time off at the airport. The lounge can be accessed in this case. They are spacious with restrooms charging 450 Nepalese Rupee per head. You will not have to fill in the formalities by yourself as lounge personnel will help you with it.
8. Cafeteria and Restaurants: Obviously one needs a sip and some bites at the airport sometimes. For this, places like Thai Royal Silk Lounge is at the departure zone of the international terminal building on the first floor after completing the immigration formalities. Radisson Hotel is located on the first floor of the departure hall of the international terminal building. Other than these, there are various tea/coffee shops like A.B.P. mart, Karki multiple trade and suppliers where you can binge on some snacks as well.
9. Medical services: In the case of medical requirements, the airport helps in arranging ambulances and provides medical assistance when needed. Basic pharmaceuticals and first aids are also available.
10. Cargo Facilities: There are different cargo offices available at this airport in Kathmandu for incoming and outgoing cargo processing. There is a separate for cargo services.
11. Senior citizen and Feeding Rooms: Where can one find stipulated rooms assigned for senior citizens to rest and mothers who need private chambers to feed their new-born children? Well, the airport has this facility. These are available at both departure (near sterile hall) and arrival (after immigration) lounges. This facility is very unique and rare to find at airports across the world. It is commendable to have this facility.
12. Baggage Wrapping Service: In the case of baggage wrapping, there is a facility to do that at the airport. Available in front of the check-in counter 'A', it is stationed at the departure hallway.
13. Self Check-in: For easy self-check-in services, there are booths where you can select your seats and withdraw your boarding pass without having to queue up or wait until you get to the counter. The service is being offered by Jet Airlines and Turkish airlines for their passengers.
14. Baggage Arrival: In case of misplacement of luggage or late arrival of baggage, one can go up to the baggage arrival help desk to know the status of your luggage or help track down any missing baggage.
2. Pokhara Airport
Commenced way back in 1958, the airport serves to the small town of Pokhara with a meagre population of only a few thousand. In spite of serving a small town, it has a pivotal role in a diversion Airport to Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu. With growing popularity as a tourist spot, the Nepal government has initiated its massive renovation as an international airport. The new runways will be 8200 feet long along with a breadth of 147 feet. There will also be multiple parallel taxiways. It is planned to kick start from 2021. It is a Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal undertaking and it interconnects Kathmandu and Jomsom with occasional flights to Manang.
Distance to Kathmandu City: 200 kms which is a 6-hour drive. Operating Airlines: Buddha Air, Sita Airlines, Nepal Airlines, Tara Air, Simrik Airlines, Yeti Airlines. Serves: Pokhara, Nepal Airport Codes: IATA – PKR, ICAO - VNPK
The Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu is well serviceable with some exclusive facilities. There is great scope for improvement and the airport is yet to grow into a professional hub. However, it does not fall back in hospitality and makes sure of a very easy trip to and from Kathmandu. In case you are planning to visit here, you exactly know how to make a breezy entry into the valleys of Nepal through these two airports in Kathmandu.