Old Transportation from Tribhuvan International to Thamel

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Invoice of Nepal’s Visa on Arrival.

Thai Airways TG 319 was perfectly parked in Tribhuvan International Airport’s apron at exactly 14:08 hours. There wasn’t aerobridge which greet me, one by one passengers descended the stairs on either side of plane door.

Aviation security: “Hi, Sir….Please, directly stepping to airport building!“, While stepping closer while hold a handy talky and his hand clearly pointing at my face….Assertive with a dark skin and thick mustache.

Tribhuvan-Thamel pre-paid taxi invoice.

Me: “OK, Sir….I’m sorry“, without thinking, I put a black Motorola E4 into right pocket of Emba’s brown pants whixh I was wearing.

In the end, I failed to capture my face image along with Thai Airways TG 319 in one frame because of it. Then I began to enter in passengers queuing who entered into terminal building.

Wow….music in the taxi was cool.

My hands tightly gripped my backpack’s shoulder harnesses and my face saw from side to side, paying close attention to Tribhuvan’s interior, which momentarily felt like I was passing through a temple room. Red-brown brick patterned walls with several carved decorations were scattered in every corner of room. Then I was greeted by a line of Visa on Arrival application machines on left side. Without any command, I understood and immediately took a queue at machine in the middle.

In the queue, I was intrigued by behavior of a son who was inputting visa data for his mother who not tall. He ordered his mother to step closer.

Ring road situation towards Thamel.

Snap 01….Just her forehead which was captured….Failed.

Then he told his mother to tiptoe.

Snap 02….The photo was 100% her face….Failed again.

A second later, his mother while looking at me with full of smiles, stood on top of small cardboard which she was still carrying a while ago.

Snap 03….Yeaaaa….It worked.

Similar to India’s streets, yes?

I immediately went to payment counter after successfully printed out the VoA application form. No needed to queue long, I got my visa after handing over USD 25 to female staff who wearing blue saris and on middle-aged age. “Oh, Indonesia. Welcome to Nepal and enjoy your trip. ”, She said when ending our immigration transaction.

Now I was getting closer to arrival hall exit gate. Before I actually went out, I took very slow steps to read whole information in a hallway. Instantly I quickly stopped at information board which displayed transportation rate to several areas in Kathmandu. Finally, I was relieved to find the word “Thamel” which became my next destination. It was only cost 700 Rupee (USD 6) to got in a dull red minivan which could accommodate 4 passengers and its last row seats were removed and changed as luggage.

The dust was incredible.

Ticket seller: “Where will you go, Sir?” Asked to me while holding a wad of red transaction notes.

Me: “Thamel, Sir“.

Ticket seller: “Do you want private booking or shared booking?“.

Me: “Is there someone who is ready to join with me?“.

Ticket seller: “Come!… .Come!”, he asked me to follow him and out through airport door.

Competition in tourism services in Thamel area.

After a while, I finally entered an old car which looked like a Suzuki “Carry” (Carry is a brand from Suzuki manufacturing in Indonesia) from the 80s. The car slowly drove leaving Tribhuvan and down a dusty road. Yes, only dust which I remembered in the first time when I had to tell about this “Land of a Thousand Temples”.

At an intersection, the car stopped and was entered a man who dressed in dapper Bollywood style and accented with extraordinary English. Offers all kinds of tour packages, from hiking, rafting, trekking and canoeing. It was common knowledge that Nepalis were competing to earn money from their tourism excellence which was famous for the beauty of Himalaya. I told him that I had bought all tour packages which I was going to take while stayed in his country from Jakarta via online. Even though, in fact I never had any tour packages which I prepared. I prefered to follow my heart and foot in my Kathmadu and Pokhara exploration.

Hotel Holiday House for 1,100 Rupee (USD 9.4) per night.

Passing the Ring Road route, I continued to be stunned by road view which at a glance resembled to old Indonesia. Thamel, which was only 6 km away from Tribhuvan, was finally reached in 25 minutes.

Now I entered a famous tourist area in Kathmandu. Dropped down in an alley and taxi driver showed me which way to head towards hotel which I had booked.

Welcome to Thamel !

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Thai Airways TG 319 from Bangkok (BKK) to Kathmandu (KTM): White Blanket of Himalaya

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Thai Airways TG 0319 flight route: Bangkok-Kathmandu.

After Fajr, I rushed to find flight information board to make sure my connecting flight would be on time or maybe it would be delayed. I found it in main transit hall corridor.

My flights was on schedule….Nice.
The boarding pass which I’ve held since leaving Soekarno Hatta International Airport.

As a follower of eating on time, by 06:00 hours, I was busy to looking for halal food. Now only halal which would be the my requirement….Because I couldn’t choose a menu with street food price, of course. Exploring 3rd floor of Suvarnabhumi, I finally stopped at Silom Village.

Couldn’t find a “Halal” logo….Finally, I stopped at a “Non-Pork” restaurant.
My menu: fried rice chicken served with salted egg for THB 220 (USD 7.34)

I closed breakfast that morning by sipping a cup of warm tea which was able to expel the wind in my body after a night of cold sleep in the main corridor of transit hall and continued at prayer room.

Then I headed to gate C10 to wait for Thai Airways TG 319. This time I only needed to step one more floor via escalator to reach the gate.

Corrido into gate.
Those were gates at Suvarnabhumi International Airport.

While waiting for boarding time, it was better to charge my smartphone as the only documentation tool which I carried….As usual, I was the amateur backpacker. I also tried to reread an itinerary which I was ready to use for my exploration in Kathmandu and Pokhara.

Interesting spot in departure hall area.

My boredom in seeing planes in Suvarnabhumi International Airport runway was broken by presence of Thai Airways, BOEING 777-200 type. Paid close attention to loading process so that I didn’t feel boarding time arrived on time.

Thai Airways TG 319 was preparing to immediately fly for 3 hours 33 minutes.

Entering aircraft cabin and in a blink my eyes became fresh. Apart from the beauty of flight attendants, also because airplane seats have colorful seat covers. Plane cabin looked like colorful candy.

TG 0319 cabin.

I sat at right side of cabin and flanked by two young girls. On the right, a Chinese girl who I didn’t know what her name was and a Japanese girl on the left whose her surnamed was Kawaguchi….Very beautiful with her ponytail.

I sat down while feeling a little sorry for being unable to quickly choose an airplane seat after online ordering ticket. This caused my opportunity loss to sit in a ideal position for photographers, i.e window seat. Because this flight would be very close to some of peaks of Himalayas which would show off their snow blankets.

When that moment happened, almost half of passengers stood up and faced to right window. It was the position where I sit. I couldn’t take pictures very well and prefered to still sit and recorded brief flight sessions right over Himalayas in my brain memory. It was still beautiful memorized, until this article was published….Amazing flight.

Started to filling out an immigration form which was given by a cabin crew.

The landing process was equally attractive. The view presented residential building of Kathmandu residents which were dominated by brownish square shape. Now I was ready to set foot in Tribhuvan International Airport which had become a gateway to Nepal for the last few decades.

Aviation security: “Hi, Sir. Please, directly stepping to airport building!”, He said, forbidding me to take a selfie image under Thai Airways.

Me: “OK, Sir….I’m sorry“, I answered with a little annoyed….Hmmh.

The arrival hall which wasn’t too luxurious and was only equipped with an old screening gate, made me smile because I felt like on Indonesia’s 80s era.

Then I submitted a Visa on Arrival application at visa issuing machine and then paid for USD 25 at a counter which was guarded by elderly female staff, I finally entered Nepal.

Let’s following my adventure in Nepal!

Are you looking for a flight ticket from Bangkok to Kathmandu? You can buy it through 12go Asia. This is the link:  https://12go.asia/?z=3283832

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Transportasi Lawas dari Tribhuvan International ke Thamel

Faktur pembuatan Visa on Arrival Nepal

Thai Airways TG 319 terparkir sempurna di parking lot Tribhuvan International Airport tepat pada pukul 14:08. Tak ada juluran aerobridge menyambut, satu persatu pelawat menuruni tangga di kedua sisi pintu pesawat.

Aveseq: “Hi, Sir….Please, directly stepping to airport building!”, sembari melangkah mendekat dengan menggenggam handy talky dan tangannya jelas menunjuk mukaku….Sangar dengan tubuh tegap gelap dan kumis tebalnya.

Nota pre-paid taxi Tribhuvan-Thamel.

Aku: “OK Sir….I’m sorry”, tanpa pikir panjang kumasukkan Motorola E4 hitam ke kantong kanan celana coklat Emba yang kukenakan.

Akhirnya aku gagal memasukkan gambar wajah beserta Thai Airways TG 319 dalam satu frame karenanya. Lalu aku mulai menyelip dalam iringan penumpang yang menyemut memasuki terminal.

Duh….musiknya jossss.

Kedua tanganku erat menggenggam shoulder harnesses backpack dan muka mendongak menoleh ke kanan-kiri memperhatikan dengan lekat interior Tribhuvan yang sekejap berasa melintas dalam ruangan sebuah kuil. Tembok bermotif bata merah coklat dengan beberapa hiasan ukir tersebar di setiap sudut ruangan. Kemudian aku disambut dengan sederet mesin aplikasi Visa on Arrival di sisi kiri. Tanpa perintah apapun, aku faham dan segera mengambil antrian di mesin sebelah tengah.

Dalam antrian, aku tergelitik dengan tingkah laku seorang anak yang sedang melakukan input data visa untuk ibunya yang berpostur pendek. Diperintahnya si Ibu untuk mendekat.

Suasana Ring Road menuju Thamel.

Cekrek 01….Jidatnya saja yang terfoto….Gagal.

Kemudian disuruhnya si Ibu untuk berjinjit.

Cekrek 02….Fotonya 100% muka….Gagal deui ahhh.

Sedetik kemudian si Ibu sambil menatapku penuh senyum, berdiri di atas kardus kecil yang beberapa waktu lalu masih ditentengnya.

Cekrek 03….Yeaaaa….Berhasil.

Mirip jalanan di India ya?

Aku segera menuju konter pembayaran setelah berhasil mencetak form aplikasi VoA. Tak perlu lama mengantri, aku mendapatkan visaku setelah menyerahkan Rp. 337.500 kepada staff perempuan bertubuh tambun berkain sari biru dan berumur setengah baya. “Oh, Indonesia. Welcome to Nepal and enjoy your trip.”, sapanya mengakhiri transaksi imigrasi kami.

Kini aku semakin dekat dengan pintu exit di arrival hall. Sebelum benar-benar keluar, aku melangkah pelan sekali untuk membaca segenap informasi di seluruh selasar. Sekejap aku cepat merapat ke papan informasi yang menampilkan harga transportasi menuju ke beberapa area di Kathmandu. Akhirnya lega mendapati tulisan “Thamel” yang menjadi tujuanku berikutnya. Hanya berharga Rp. 87.000 untuuk menaiki sebuah minivan merah kusam yang mampu menampung 4 penumpang dan bangku baris terakhir dilepas dan dirubah sebagai bagasi.

Debunya ruarrrr biasa.

Penjual tiket: “Where will you go?”, menanyaiku sambil memegang segepok nota transaksi berwarna merah.

Aku: “Thamel, Sir”.

Penjual tiket: “Do you want private booking or shared booking?“.

Aku: “Is there someone who ready for join with me?”.

Penjual tiket: “Come!….Come!”, menyuruhku untuk mengikutinya keluar pintu bandara.

Perlombaan para jasa wisata di area Thamel.

Sesaat kemudian, akhirnya aku memasuki sebuah mobil lawas mirip Suzuki carry keluaran tahun 80-an. Mobil itu melaju pelan meninggalkan Tribhuvan lalu menyusuri jalanan penuh debu. Ya, hanya debu yang kuingat pertama kali ketika harus bercerita mengenai “Negeri Seribu Kuil” ini.

Di sebuah perempatan, mobil berhenti dan memasukkan laki-laki berpakaian necis ala film Bollywood dan beraksen english luar biasa. Menawarkan segala rupa paket wisata, mulai dari hiking, rafting, trekking dan cannoing. Sudah menjadi rahasia umum bahwa warga Nepal berlomba-lomba mengais rezeqi dari keunggulan pariwisata mereka yang tersohor berkat keindahan pegunungan Himalaya.  Aku berujar kepadanya bahwa semua paket wisata yang akan kujalani selama di negerinya sudah kubeli dari Jakarta via online. Padahal nyatanya tak pernah ada paket wisata apapun yang kusiapkan. Aku lebih memilih melangkah menyusuri kata hati dan kaki saja dalam eksplorasi Kathmadu dan Pokhara.

Hotel Holiday House seharga Rp. 130.000.

Melewati jalur Ring Road, aku terus tertegun dengan pemandangan jalanan yang sepintas mirip Indonesia tempoe doeloe. Thamel yang hanya berjarak 6 km dari Tribhuvan akhirnya tertempuh dalam 25 menit.

Kini aku memasuki area turis terkenal di Kathmandu. Diturunkan di sebuah gang dan driver taxi menunjukkanku ke arah mana harus melangkah menuju penginapan yang telah kupesan.

Welcome Thamel !

Selimut Putih Himalaya dari TG 319

Jalur terbang Thai Airways TG 0319 Bangkok-Kathmandu.

Selepas Subuhan, aku bergegas mencari keberadaan flight information board untuk memastikan apakah connecting flightku akan tepat waktu atau mungkin delay. Aku menemukannya di koridor utama transit hall.

Penerbangan sesuai jadwal….Nice.
Boarding pass yang telah kupegang sejak meninggalkan Soetta.

Sebagai penganut paham makan tepat waktu maka menjelang jam 6 pagi, aku sibuk berjibaku mencari makanan halal. Kini hanya halal yang akan menjadi syaratnya….Karena aku tak bisa memilih makanan harga kaki lima tentunya. Menjelajah lantai 3 Suvarnabhumi akhirnya aku hinggap di Silom Village.

Tak bisa menemukan logo “Halal”….Aku singgah di “Non-Pork” resto.
Menuku: fried rice chicken served with salted egg seharga Rp. 99.000

Sarapan pagi itu kututup dengan menyeruput secangkir teh hangat yang mampu mengusir angin dalam  tubuh setelah semalaman tidur kedinginan di koridor utama transit hall dan bersambung di mushola.

Lantas menujulah aku ke gate C10 untuk menunggu Thai Airways TG 319. Kali ini hanya perlu menaiki satu lantai lagi melalui escalator untuk mencapai gate.

Koridor menuju gate.
Itu dia barisan gate di Suvarnabhumi International Airport.

Sembari menunggu boarding time, lebih baik mengecharge handphone sebagai satu-satunya alat dokumentasi yang kubawa….Biasa, amatiran. Aku juga berusaha membaca kembali itinerary yang telah siap kugunakan untuk eksplorasi Kathmandu dan Pokhara.

Spot menarik di area departure hall.

Kebosananku akan lalu-lalang pesawat di runway Suvarnabhumi International Airport dipatahkan dengan kehadiran Thai Airways berjenis BOEING 777-200. Memperhatikan proses loading dengan seksama hingg tak terasa waktu boarding pun tiba tepat waktu.

Thai Airways TG 319 sedang mempersiapkan diri untuk segera terbang selama 3 jam 33 menit.

Memasuki kabin pesawat sekejap mata menjadi segar. Selain karena kecantikan para pramugari juga karena bangku pesawat yang memiliki seat cover penuh warna. Kabin pesawat terlihat bak permen warna-warni.

Kabin TG 0319.

Aku duduk disisi kanan kabin dan diapit 2 perempuan muda. Sebelah kanan berkebangsaan Tiongkok yang entah siapa namanya dan seorang gadis Jepang di sisi kiri yang kutahu namanya bermarga Kawaguchi….Sangat cantik dengan kuncir kudanya.

Duduk sembari sedikit menyesal karena kalah cepat memilih bangku pesawat pasca pemesanan tiket secara online. Hal ini mengakibatkan hilangnya kesempatan duduk di posisi istimewa bagi para photographer yaitu window seat. Karena penerbangan ini akan sangat dekat sekali dengan beberapa puncak pegunungan Himalaya yang akan memamerkan selimut saljunya.

Saat momen itu terjadi, hampir sebagian penumpang berdiri dan menoleh ke jendela sebelah kanan. Itu adalah posisi dimana aku duduk. Aku tak bisa mengambil gambar dengan baik dan lebih memilih untuk duduk tenang dan merekam sesi singkat penerbangan tepat di atas Himalaya itu dalam memori otakku. Masih terbanyang indah hingga tulisan ini terbit….Amazing flight.

Mulai mengisi immigration form yang diberikan oleh awak kabin.

Proses landing juga tak kalah memikat.  Pemandangan yang tersaji adalah deretan bangunan tempat tinggal penduduk Kathmandu yang didominasi bentuk kotak kecoklatan. Kini aku bersiap menginjakkan kaki di Tribhuvan International Airport yang telah menjadi gerbang wisata Nepal dalam beberapa dekade terakhir.

Avseq: “Hi, Sir. Please, directly stepping to airport building!”, Ujarnya melarangku mengambil foto selfie tepat di kaki Thai Airways.

Aku: “OK, Sir….I’m sorry”, menjawab dengan sedikit kesal….Hmmh.

Arrival hall yang tak terlalu mewah dan hanya dilengkapi dengan screening gate uzur membuatku tersenyum karena aku seakan berada di Indonesia era 80-an.

Mengajukan aplikasi Visa on Arrival dalam mesin penerbitan visa dan kemudian membayar Rp. 337.500 di sebuah konter yang dijaga oleh staff perempuan tua, akhirnya aku shah memasuki Nepal.

Ikuti petualanganku di Nepal yuk!

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