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News and Events
The Change of Lukla Flights to Ramechhap (Manthali Airport) this Season:
What is happening?
Now it’s all certain! Tribhuvan International Airport has decided to operate the flights to Lukla from
Ramechhap (Manthali) airport.
What does this mean to you?
During this time, all flights to/from Lukla are rerouted from Kathmandu Airport to Manthali Airport,
Ramechhap as the Kathmandu Airport. Though the flight time will be comparatively shorter (50 minutes
for round trip), you are required to travel to Ramechhap from Kathmandu to catch your Lukla flight and
retrace the same route while returning back to the city. Due to this new arrangement, there are certain
things you should know before travelling to Lukla.
In the meantime, please be informed that there will still be a couple of flights from Kathmandu to Lukla
after 8 am once the airport opens but we don’t think it will be sensible to wait for those flights. The air
traffic and landings at the airport can cause delays and we all know that the weather in Lukla is slightly
notorious. The later the flights, the higher the chances for the weather in Lukla to go unfavorable. So,
the best option is to fly to Lukla via Manthali Airport.
Where is Manthali Airport?
Manthali Airport (493 m. /1617 ft) is situated approximately 132 km east of Kathmandu on the bank of
Tama Koshi River in Manthali, a municipality and headquarter of Ramechhap district. As it is the closest
airport in the eastern part of Nepal from Kathmandu, the airport poses itself as the best option to fly to
Lukla in the present situation. The airport also used to operate Lukla flights during air traffic congestion
at Kathmandu Airport (TIA) in the past.
How to get there?
You can travel to Manthali Airport by road. It takes about 4-5 hours to reach there depending on the
traffic. As you will have to reach Manthali early to catch your flight, you can either travel there one day
prior to the flight or leave Kathmandu very early in the morning around 3 am. In both cases, it’s better
to take a private transfer to Manthali as the local transfer timings do not match with the flight timings.
More specifically, you don’t get any early morning local buses. And in their regular run also, you can
never be sure about their punctuality.
*If you have booked your travel arrangements from travel agencies or directly with the airlines, they
should take care of your transportation, which in most likely case will be a private transfer.
Where to stay?
Manthali is not a very well facilitated place as it is not used to receiving a huge number of travelers.
Accommodation facilities are limited and the service is basic. Due to the present situation with many
travelers travelling via Manthali this season, it is very likely that you will not find an accommodation
easily. Also, flight crew and staffs from the airlines will be occupying most of the hotels in the area.
So, in this situation, a better option for you is to go for accommodations at Mulkot, from where
Manthali Airport is just an hour’s drive. Accommodations at Mulkot are far better and you will also
save the trouble of finding an accommodation in Manthali. BUT in this case you will need to hold the
same car which you are taking from Kathmandu to drop you in Manthali in the morning. That will add an
extra expense for you.
What we think is best for you?
To tackle this situation, we made a recent trip to Manthali to plan our operations and find the best
solution for you. We think that driving early morning to Manthali for 4-5 hours and then boarding the
Lukla flight half asleep will be very inconvenient for our clients. It will make your day very hectic and not
leave you in a good spirit to start your trek up to Phakding or Monjo.
The best way to deal with this change is to drive to Mulkot one day earlier. Mulkot is a small settlement,
from where Manthali Airport is just 37 km away (1 hour’s drive). This not only breaks the monotony of a
long drive but also makes things comfortable for you as Mulkot has good standard accommodation
facilities, which Manthali lacks. One can stay comfortably in a hotel in Mulkot, wake up at 5 am the next
morning and drive an hour to the airport for the flight. This will not make the day tiring at all and the
schedule of your trek will also not be affected. BUT in this case you will need to hold the same car which
you are taking from Kathmandu to drop you in Manthali in the morning. That will add an extra expense
Another reliable option – if you have pretty deep pockets – would be opting for a helicopter upgrade
and flying to Lukla straight from Kathmandu. The Kathmandu helipad area will not be affected and you
can have heli flight to Lukla from 6.30 am onwards. The upgrade could cost you a top up of USD 400-600
per person depending on the payload and availability.
Ramechhap (Manthali)-Lukla-Ramechhap: US$300/both way/person.
Ground Transportation Cost:
Car: US$85/Car (Kathmandu-Manthali) drop. US$20 Extra for overnight.
Jeep: US$125/Jeep (Kathmandu-Manthali) drop. US$35 Extra for overnight.
Should you require any further information please write to us.
Tel: +977-9851028080 / 9851079979 (Viber/WhatsApp)