Nepal Diaries: Introduction


While me and Shipra try and make time to see the world, the pace is quick. Sometimes we head out for a weekend, and other times, we are relaxed and unwinding. With my dad being a working professional, it is hard as it is to get his time for the parents to join us for a vacation now and then. However, we managed to get the parents to agree to making some time in June, and we decided to make a short family vacation so that we could all catch up on life and some conversations.

Swaymbhunath, near Kathmandu

Swaymbhunath, near Kathmandu

Nepal has long been on my list of places to go, and it was only a short flight away for the folks as well to fly in from Delhi. For them, it was a short flight of less than two hours from Delhi. For me, Shipra and my brother, it was slightly longer at about 2:30 hours runway-to-runway. The fact that Indian currency works fine in Nepal, as well as Indians don’t need to apply for a Visa to get into Nepal kind of eased the decision as well.

Flights

My parents intended to visit us in Mumbai after the Kathmandu trip, which allowed me to make a DEL-KTM-BOM-DEL reservation for all of them on Jet Airways. Economy tickets were not very expensive with INR 16,000 for all the sectors included for them. On top of this, I upgraded the DEL-KTM segment with miles from my account, and it came pretty cheap at 6600 JPMiles per head. On the way to Mumbai, we lucked out with some op-ups which I asked them to use.

DEL-KTM-BOM-DEL routing

DEL-KTM-BOM-DEL routing

For Shipra, myself and my brother, I chose to use mileage redemptions for the flights. It was with good reason. Using Jet Airways to fly direct to Kathmandu was costing us over INR 23,000 per person for a round trip, and costs could have quickly gone out of hand. Having said that, I had already qualified for my JetPrivilege Platinum and did not need more tier points. My brother does not chase status on Jet Airways, and so only Shipra was going to be left chasing status in this case. Since each segment was only going to get her 1 TP, it made no sense to take the revenue ticket even in her case.

We looked at JPMiles, as well as Etihad Miles, and in the end, I used about 9,500 Etihad Guest Miles per segment to book the 3 of us in Economy between Mumbai and Kathmandu. Shipra’s brother had some expiring JPMiles, so we also put those to good use by booking a one-way Kathmandu – Mumbai segment using his expiring JetPrivilege miles. The same ticket costed 12,000 JPMiles.

We could have easily staked out business class, but I figured it was a short flight so no need to waste miles on business class, since we were going to anyways have access to the GVK Lounge before departure, which could be a good pit stop for a pre-flight meal.

Hotels

We were five of us, including me, Shipra, my parents and my brother, so we needed a big apartment, or a couple of hotel suites to take us all in. Fortunately, there was a Hyatt Regency hotel in Kathmandu, so this part was easy to take care of. Hyatt Regency Kathmandu was one of the three chain hotels in Kathmandu, others being from IHG and Radisson, and the only 5-star hotel amongst these.

Also, it was a category 1 Hyatt hotel. This allowed us to book the hotel for 2,500 points + USD 50 per night, and applying Diamond Suite Upgrade certificates to upgrade the rooms to suites, instead of paying USD 450+taxes per night for the suites (rooms were going at USD 120 + taxes per night). The points paid for themselves, almost, since we were able to count these nights towards the Hyatt promotion ongoing right now, which got us 5,000 points per head in return. As Diamond members, we also were comped entrance to the Regency Lounge, and full breakfast apart from airport pickup and drops.

Our little condo (not!) in the Himalayas!

Our little condo (not!) in the Himalayas!

However, Nepal is not all about Kathmandu, so we spent some time in the hills as well, at a very nice resort which Shipra discovered. At approximately USD 167 for a large apartment which could house all of us, this was the perfect place to disconnect from the world fully. Our all-in cost at this place worked out to be about USD 250 per night.

Bottomline

In the end, this was a much needed vacation for all of us, together. Shipra will be writing this trip report and I’ll get back to working on the one for our honeymoon, which should be back in action shortly. Watch this post for all the links to the rest of the trip report which is going to be published in quick succession.

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About Ajay Awtaney

Ajay is a financial services pro, working to bring order to the chaos of the financial industry on an everyday basis! Beyond that, he dons the hat of India's favourite frequent traveller, trying to help people elevate their travel experience via tips and tricks they never knew before, or introduce them to the world of miles and points. Armed with an MBA from MDI Gurgaon and graduate degree in computer science from the University of Delhi, Ajay brings a systematic and objective approach on the table for his audience in dissecting travel and loyalty programs in India and around the world, and how to benefit from them. Ajay has been quoted in various reputed traditional and online media including The Hindustan Times, Inside Flyer, Bloomberg, DNA India, Conde Nast Traveller, The Telegraph, Mumbai Mirror, Mint, MoneyLife and The USA Today.

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Comments

  1. Hi Ajay,

    Glad to know you visited Kathmandu.

    Well only if I knew in advance, I would have loved to welcome you in airport!
    And a drink too!

    Anyway which hill station you are talking about? Is it Pokhara?

    Cheers
    Santosh Gautam

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