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The 18-Hour Trip from Kuantan, Malaysia to Kathmandu, Nepal April 12-13, 2018

The 18-Hour Trip from Kuantan, Malaysia to Kathmandu, Nepal

Location: Kathmandu (city), Nepal

Excitement about Kathmandu
With my visa expiring, I had to leave Malaysia for Kathmandu, Nepal. Why Kathmandu? I don't really know. But the place excites me - and that's good enough. I researched and planned as much as I can on how to get there, but didn't really plan or research on what I do when I get there - that was the plan.

Backward Itinerary
Since the trip to Kathmandu entailed many steps and transfers (walk to Hentian Bander station, bus to TSK, bus to TBS, bus to KLIA2, plane for Kathmandu, bus ride to Ratna Park, walk to hotel), I had to work my itinerary backwards to ensure I don't miss any transfer. It's not enough to just add-up the travel time.

eg - if I have to leave Kuantan at 5am to catch my 11am flight, is there a bus leaving that early? If the first bus leaves after 5am, then it means I leave Kuantan the day before on the last bus trip and figure out where I sleep - and I had to keep going backwards to ensure the transfer availability. If I couldn't get the info online (or if the info is conflicting), I had to make a separate trip to the bus terminal just to find out the actual schedule. This process took a lot of time and effort.
The 18-Hour Trip from Kuantan, Malaysia to Kathmandu, Nepal
plane over Kathmandu

Identifying all Variables
I was OC listing down the entire process on a timeline on my phone. That way, I wouldn't have to do any thinking anymore - I'll simply follow the instructions. eg - 1pm upon arrival at Kathmandu, exchange $ to NPR (for bus fare), upon leaving the airport, walk past the rotunda, walk left to the bus stop and flag-down the Ratna Park bus, NPR20.

Chaos at Tribhuvan International Airport
It got confusing upon landing in Kathmandu. At the airport, it wasn't clear where we line up. I saw an Immigration line-up saying "15/30 day Visa". I thought this was where I buy the visa. When my turn came, after lining up a long while, I was told I had to buy the visa first in a different line! Me, together with other travelers lining up, stepped out to go to the visa purchase line.

Going to the Money Changer, there was pandemonium - guys from a certain ethnic origin were crowding and cutting into each other. There was no line but more like a mob. Airport personnel were oblivious.

After all that delay, I came to the baggage carousel - my baggage wasn't released yet. It took 2 hours for me to get my baggage. Apparently, there were many misplaced baggages so they didn't know on what baggage carousel to place them on. Sigh!

The Snag
Everything was going perfect until I got off at Ratna Park. My hostel was a good 1km walk through a maze of narrow roads within Thamel (with 24 kilos on my backpack). I was completely reliant on my Maps.Me app on my phone. I had the route mapped-out with bookmarked landmarks from the bus station to the hostel. And then my phone battery died! I had a power-bank, but it wasn't charged. I was blind as a bat from there on. All I had was a printed document showing, "8848 Hostel, Thahity, Thamel, Kathmandu". It wasn't a full proper address - Thahity is still a big area and 8848 Hostel is newly built so people don't even know it exists. I asked so many people for directions but I could hardly understand their English. They would point out the general direction but still I got lost, going around in circles with my heavy load under the hot sun and dusty road. I finally got to the hotel - exhausted. But I was happy I made it and could finally rest and get some sleep.

Ending Thoughts
With every new destination, I make an all-out effort and challenge myself identifying all the variables to ensure a flawless journey. However, there is always something I inadvertently leave out. I have yet to make that perfect score. This time, my oversight was not having charged my power-bank.

Now, with 30 days to spend in Kathmandu, my first visit, not knowing the language, culture or tradition, not having any itinerary, and roughly $200 left, I begin a new mini-life.

--- TheLoneRider
YOGA by Gigit Yoga by Gigit | Learn English Learn English | Travel like a Nomad Nomad Travel Buddy | Donation Bank Donation Bank for TheLoneRider

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Reader Comments:

Rosemarie GendiveRosemarie Canada
(Apr 16, 2018) I didn't realize you'd be heading there so soon. I'll be keeping an eye out for the next post/pictures

Melissa Anne ThomasMelissa USA
(Apr 18, 2018) Do you have any connections there? I hope you have a magical time!

(April 18, 2018) ...having a magical time already with no connection whatsoever. Like Burning Man, I came alone and now I've met many wonderful people

Dindo VelasquezDindo Philippines
(Apr 18, 2018) Hey Gigit, good luck to your Kathmandu adventure

Lester AlcariaLester Alcaria
(Apr 18, 2018) Goodluck Kuya Gigit all the best!

Judy MarianuJudy Marianu
(Apr 18, 2018) How long are you in Kathmandu - I will be there tomorrow?

(April 18, 2018) Hey Judy !!! I will remain here until May 12. I'd love to catch up with you. I'm in the Thamel area at 8848 Hostel...nice place to meet people.

Rachel ConsingRachel Philippines
(Apr 18, 2018) I don't think I could have handled all that stress! You're one cool traveler, Git

Jojo BalbuenaJojo Balbuena
(Apr 18, 2018) Ingat pinsan

Anne AdonaAnne Adona
(Apr 18, 2018) Very inspiring, Gigit!

Emily Precious TiuEmily Precious Tiu
(Apr 13, 2018) Going to the Himalayas, Git? Amping! 🙂

Sonam Jaimisha KumarSonam Jaimisha Kumar
(Apr 13, 2018) Your going to Nepal... Was my home for 6months 🙏

Next stop: 7 Days in Kathmandu

Google Map

Kathmandu (city), Nepal

important places in Kathmandu ESSENTIAL LANDMARKS
  • Tribhuvan International Airport Tribhuvan International Airport - Kathmandu's international airport
  • Ratna Park bus terminal Ratna Park bus terminal - one of the main bus terminals with buses going to the airport
  • Thamel Thamel - Kathmandu's tourist area for hotels, trekking tours, restos, cafes, money changers, cargo forwarders, etc.
  • Durbar Marg Durbar Marg - Kathmandu's upscale shopping area
  • Jhochhen Jhochhen - popular counter-culture neighborhood during the hippie era
tourist attractions in Kathmandu TOURIST ATTRACTIONS
  • Basantapur Durbar Square Basantapur Durbar Square - formerly the haunt of Nepalese royalty, now an UNESCO World Heritage site for its historical significance and traditional Nepalese architecture
  • Shechen Monastery Shechen Monastery - one of six mother Tibetan Buddhist monasteries from the late 17th century
  • Boudhanath Boudhanath - one of the biggest stupas in the world, once plied over as an ancient trade route over the centuries
  • Kopan Monastery - best to visit together with Boudhanath as they are not too far from each other. Foreigners come here to learn Buddhism. Open to the public Saturdays only
  • Pashupatinath Temple Pashupatinath Temple - a Hindu temple located on the banks of the Bagmati River. Another UNESCO World Heritage site. Maha Shivaratri festival late Feb or early March with more than 65,000 devotees
  • Harati Devi Temple Harati Devi Temple - devoted to the worship of Harati Devi. It houses a museum, stupa and library
hotels in Kathmandu HOTEL
  • 8848 Hostel 8848 Hostel - newly opened, backpacker friendly, resto/bar, central location, clean, wifi, a/c, full breakfast
    Thahity, Thamel, Kathmandu, Nepal
trekking in Kathmandu TREKKING
  • Top of the World Adventure Top of the World Adventure - trekking, tours, jungle safari, river rafting, peak climbing, hiking, expedition
    Thamel Marg, Kathmandu, Nepal
meditation in Kathmandu MEDITATION
  • Meditation Dhamma Shringa - Vipassana Meditation Centre
  • Meditation Dhamma Kitti - Vipassana Meditation Centre

Travel Tips for Kathmandu

  1. Kathmandu is dusty and you'll need a mask
  2. if on a budget, cheap staple comfort food in Kathmandu is momo, local price in local eateries at NPR 60/10 pieces

How to get to Thamel (Kathmandu) from the Tribhuvan International Airport

  1. You can take a cab for about $7
  2. Ratna Park bus terminal Airport by bus to Thamel (Ratna Park Bus terminal)
    But if you want to save money and don't mind roughing it, you can take a bus. Walk out of the airport and turn left on the rotunda just outside the airport gate. This takes you to the main road where buses ply. The bus signs are in Nepali, but you can hear the bus conductor shouting, "Ratna Park". NPR 20, 30 minutes

Travel Tips for Nepal

Nepal Blogs by TheLoneRider


  1. Visiting Boudhanath, Nepal's Largest Stupa Apr 19, 2018
  2. Vinyasa Yoga with Dipendra at the Mandala Yoga Studio and Spa, Kathmandu Apr 18, 2018
  3. Hatha Yoga with Madhab Prasad Dhakal at Sawar Yoga Studio, Kathmandu Apr 17, 2018
  4. Fitness in Kathmandu Apr 15, 2018
  5. 7 Days In Kathmandu April 13-20, 2018
  6. The 18-Hour Trip from Kuantan, Malaysia to Kathmandu, Nepal April 12-13, 2018

  8. India Visa Snag May 9, 2018
  9. Exploring Lumbini - Buddha's Birthplace May 5, 2018
  10. Storming out of Dhamma Janani on the 4th Day May 1-5, 2018

  12. Visiting Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave, Pokhara Apr 26, 2018
  13. Exploring Devi's Falls, Pokhara Apr 26, 2018
  14. Trekking to the World Peace Pagoda Apr 26, 2018
  15. Exploring Pokhara, Nepal Apr 20, 2018
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