A Snafu at Kathmandu’s Airport

KATHMANDU, Nepal — Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched, or so the saying goes. For this leg of my trip, my lesson was: Don’t assume your travel plans will happen until you’re on the runway.

I had read that an Indian visa came with a few restrictions, one of which was a specified time between which a visitor could leave the country and return. While multiple entry is allowed, travelers must remain out of India for 90 days before coming back.

This restriction became clear at Tribhuvan International Airport when trying to board my flight from Kathmandu to New Delhi. Since I had left India less than three months prior, I was not yet allowed to return. The discovery was what I had feared — and even inquired about after walking across the India-Nepal border, having specifically asked a border guard.

I should’ve known better.

Although there was a mention of such restrictions in my Lonely Planet guide, it had been unclear to me exactly how it worked.

Now, here I was, stranded in Kathmandu’s airport, with a friend awaiting me in New Delhi and unable to board a flight.

Bewildered, I asked a few passengers around me if they had encountered such a snafu in their travels. Someone suggested visiting a travel agent to make other arrangements in the hope that maybe — maybe — there was a way to work it out.

So, I left the airport and headed back to Kathmandu, fingers crossed.

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