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Follow us to Everest - Kathmandu

Over the next few weeks we are going to be making our way, along with many of the climbing teams, towards Everest. And where better to start than the gateway to the Himalaya - Kathmandu.

Almost every single trekker, climber and visitor to Nepal flies into Kathmandu. A few still go overland from Delhi, but with today's time constraints, every minute is precious and you just want to get there.

As a destination I think Kathmandu itself must be on every travellers list. Well known for it's colouful and mystical past, the city still retains a lot of it's ancientness, although very sadly some of that has been lost in the earthquake of 2015.

If it is your first trip to Nepal, coming into Tribuvan International airport can feel chaotic, to say the least, and be aware that if you haven't carried your bags much yet, this might be the first place you need to do as there never seems to be enough trollies. Not to mention having to x-ray them on the way out of the airport!

As you come out the exit be prepared for lots of people, and keep hands on your luggage at all times as it will get taken from you and carried to your taxi/bus/car which you will then need to pay for.

If you have booked your own accommodation sometimes they offer an airport pick up service, and it is worth it to avoid all the hassel outside and people trying to grab your kit and sell you rooms. If you are with a group then mostly there will be someone to pick you up outside the airport with a sign.

Otherwise go for the prepaid taxis, just before you exit the airport.

And of course it's usually really hot, just to add to all the noise and stuff going on.

If it is your first visit to Asia, get ready for an assault on the senses as you leave the airport. Kathmandu is just.... different.

We all love everything about it. From it's noisy, bustling streets, it's ancient buidlings, it's fake North Face jackets to the tangle of wires every time you look up. It is the storm before the calm. You may either love it or hate it, but one thing is sure you will love the people.

They say that many people come to Nepal to visit it's mountains, but the thing they come back for is the people.

And as you make your way onwards on this trek that is the one thing you will find out.

Most tourists stay in the area of Kathmandu called Thamel. Filled to the brim with cafes, equipment stores, bars, restaurants selling everything you could possibly need for a trip to the mountains. Most trekkers and climbers don't spend more than a day or so here. Just enough to get through some of the jet lag and pick up some last minute essentials, and perhaps a quick afternoon of sightseeing. If you don't have time to do much, try and squeeze in a visit to Durbar Square or Boudhanath Stupa.

I always think it's best to leave the sighseeing till you get back from your trek or expedition. When you are really physically tired and more in a frame of mind to be a tourist.

Right now all you can really think about is that flight to Lukla tomorrow morning, and that feeling of excitement tinged with a slight anxiety that the real adventure is just about to start.

Best get that bag packed. Make sure it doesn't weigh more than 15 kgs otherwise you will be wearing all your clothes for your trip to the airport!

Always enough time left though for an Everest beer!

Tomorrow it begins.

Bhaktapur - after the earthquake

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