The Royal Nepal Airlines (RA) is the
flag carrier of Nepal with flights to/ from Kathmandu
International Airport, 5 kilometres east of Kathmandu's city
centre, you will first have to deal with immigration. If
you do not have a visa, fill out an application form and wait in
the queues. You will need one passport-size photo and the exact
amount in cash US dollars - you can get dollars at the exchange
counter in the immigration area. If you already have a visa,
wait in the smaller queue.
The duty-free shop in the immigration hall has some good
bargains. Baggage claim is downstairs, where trolleys are available.
There is another exchange counter to the right as you exit customs,
but rates are better in town. There is also a government tourist
information desk, providing free city maps and brochures, and
a free hotel association booking service though mostly the
more expensive hotels. You can call lodgings yourself from one of
the free courtesy phones, though they do not always work.
Most taxis at the airport operate on a voucher system and
these are sold from the drivers' syndicate booth just inside or
just outside the arrivals exit. Prices are fixed in the high season
and are posted on a board. Many touts offer a "free" ride
if you stay at their lodge, but the fare and the tout's commission
will get added on to the room charge. This can roughly double the
price of the room, which is why you will probably end up moving
the next day.
Local buses offer a cheap but inconvenient alternative. They
leave from the main intersection at the end of the airport drive
- a 200 metre walk - and end at the City Bus Park, about 2 kilometres
from most guest houses.