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LUKLA AIRPORT IN NEPAL; A PILOTíS FAVORITE OR A NIGHTMARE?
Industry: Destinations       

Well, if you dare to crane out of the airplane window during landing at Lukla Airport, the views will get embossed in your memories forever!

(TRAVPR.COM) NEPAL - December 29th, 2015 - Well, if you dare to crane out of the airplane window during landing at Lukla Airport, the views will get embossed in your memories forever!

Now what’s so catchy about the view?? I reckon, ‘thrilling’ would be the more appropriate term. Initially, a white haze of clouds seems to engulf the surrounding mountains. Then, as the aircraft gradually descends, a tiny gray strip at an elevation of 9,100 feet will appear in the distance, almost camouflaged by surrounding greenery. Hold on….this 65 by 1,500-foot patch of asphalt is the runway. At its southern end is a 2,000-foot drop into a valley. At its northern end, a stone wall and a hairpin turn!

If all goes well, you'll hit the tarmac with little more than a few bumps and lurches. That odd sensation of traveling uphill is not an illusion: the runway has a gradient of 12 percent—meaning when a plane takes off, it plunges downhill toward a 2,000-foot abyss.

The airport closes during fierce winds and poor visibility, but since the weather in the mountains are quite capricious, a flight may already be airborne when conditions aggravate out of the blue.

Here’s something that can chill your bones: there is no safety net at Lukla Airport. The 1500-foot runway abruptly drops off into a river valley below, and if you don't take off successfully your plane will hurtle to a violent end thousands of feet up in the Himalayas.

Although it isn't the highest airport in the world, it is certainly one of the most dangerous. The runway is situated 9000 feet above sea level and is flanked by the rugged Himalayas on all sides. As with Paro Airport in Bhutan, the geography offers no margin for errors when it comes to landing or takeoff.

The runway itself is at a 12% incline, which necessitates even more skill and careful planning on the part of the pilot, as do the clouds that obscure the runway on a regular basis. Fittingly, the airport is the launch pad to climbing Mount Everest, allowing the thrill seekers to begin their adventure the moment their plane hits the sky for Lukla.

Namche Bazaar – this is where you gear up to conquer the largest mountain in the world

Most explorers aspiring to put up with the oddities of Mount Everest ready their supplies in the bustling markets of Kathmandu before heading to the nerve-racking ascent to the summit.

However, even explorers and adventurers forget to pack things sometimes. In this eventuality, they can stop at the Namche Bazaar, the final major outpost of civilization before the desolate mountain climb begins in earnest.

Built along the side of a Nepalese hill, the settlement gradually increased in size with the swell in demand for supplies and equipment that came with the deluge of explorers following in the footsteps of Sir Edmund Hillary’s successful Everest ascent. The marketplace village now includes all the modern amenities as internet cafes, a currency exchange, locally-renowned bakeries, and even a small Irish pub. In addition to picking up any supplies you might need before attempting to climb the world’s highest peak, you can also make a stop at Namche’s Museum of Sherpa Culture to learn more about the history, the Sherpa people.

Limited by the geography of the area, Namche Bazaar contains no more than 60-some dwellings amidst the various business endeavors, but the village still manages to hold the distinction of being the wealthiest district in Nepal. If you find yourself making the trek to the top of Everest, be sure to stop in the mercantile community and pamper yourself.

http://www.marrontreks.com

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