Escape from Kathmandu by Kim Stanley Robinson: travel book review

by Dave from The Longest Way Home ~ June 7th, 2012. Published in: Travel blog » Reviews.
Escape from Kathmandu the book

Escape from Kathmandu the book

There’s nothing quite like reading a book about the place you are traveling in

I was sure that someone somewhere must have written a book based in Nepal that didn’t involve climbing a mountain, volunteering, or finding Buddhism. To cut it short I was looking for a Nepalese Shantaram or Are you experienced.

I asked for Mr. Risal’s help from Paradise Book Shop. I explained what I was looking for. He handed me Escape from Kathmandu. Was it a sign? Should I be thinking of leaving? Or was it just what I was looking for? I read the back cover and cringed a little, only a truly comedic book could pull this off.

About Escape from Kathmandu by Kim Stanley Robinson

George Fergusson lives most of the year in Nepal as a trekking guide. Freds is his buddy and the two go off on a trek by way of a scientific expedition only to find a Yeti. Yes, the abominable snowman. The Yeti however is not so abominable so they try to rescue it from pursuing scientists. Enter all manner of craziness from the CIA to the Nepalese governments secret Shangri-La and several scientists pursuing all.

Sound a little too far-fetched? Well it is and like I mentioned at the start only a book written with outstanding wit could pull this off.

My thoughts on Escape from Kathmandu

I enjoyed the first few chapters which describe Kathmandu and Nepal very aptly. Even during the wild turn of events when they discover the Yeti are quite amusing. Unfortunately the book takes this romp and draws it out into several scenes which for me ran on for far too long.

Dressing the Yeti up as a person and riding a bike with one just seemed to push the boundaries too much with little comedy to make up for it. There is a scene when they meet a certain former President of the U.S.A. which does deliver nicely on the political handshake quite well.

For me though, it wasn’t enough to pull the book through.

To read Escape from Kathmandu or escape from reading  the book?

It’s not that bad. Perhaps I was really looking for something else and this book simply didn’t deliver. Kim Stanley Robinson has created a light-hearted romp that delves into some serious issues. If it was all of one and none of the other I’d like it more.

It’s certainly not a book I would read just for the sake of traveling Nepal. It’s one I’d read before coming to the country. And I’d probably want to have a liking for bizarre scenes and maybe a drink or two to enhance the experience.

Purchase options:

If you’d like to buy this book, please consider purchasing it through my amazon affiliate stores below: I get a tiny, tiny commission of about USD$00.14. Maybe enough to one day save up and buy a Kindle so I can keep these books with me as I travel.

Escape From Kathmandu (

Escape from Kathmandu (

Due to Amazon’s system I can only realistically offer the .com and distributors. To readers outside of these two Amazon zones please try your local listings!

If you’d like to read some more travel reviews on books, movies and guides I’ve read then please visit my travel review section.

Have you read a really good travelogue? If you have, can you leave the name of the book in the comments, I am always on the look out for good travelogues!

This is an additional feature reviewing Escape from Kathmandu the book

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6 Great responses to Escape from Kathmandu by Kim Stanley Robinson: travel book review

  1. Mark says:

    He’s best known for Science Fiction, surprised to see him venture in travel fiction but that’s maybe where the yeti stuff comes into it.

  2. trevor warman says:

    how about BURMESE DAYS (George Orwell) when in Burma… !!!!

  3. Tim says:

    Have you read any Nepalese books on the civil war?

    • I’ve only ever seen a few in Pilgrams books store in Thamel KTM. Many are very one sided. Education and literacy in rural areas no doubt thwarted some interesting stories. I’ll look again though. Thanks for the suggestion.