Terrified tourists fled Kathmandu within an hour of touching down at Nepal's International Airport yesterday, after learning of violence surging through the capital. I had flown in with them on Thai International Airways Flight TG319 from Bangkok and minutes before we boarded the plane, King Dipendra's death was announced on television in the departure lounge. Many tourists had already cancelled holidays to Nepal. The Airbus A300 was only about 20 per cent full. Stewardesses said the flight would normally be nearly full. On arrival, tourists were met by several hotel transfer mini-buses, only to be told it was too dangerous for the buses to leave the airport. From the terminal building we could hear the roar of protesters a few hundred metres from the airport security fence. Buses passed outside with dozens of chanting, shaven-headed protesters on their roofs, punching the air. I talked to a New Yorker who had just flown in from Bangkok via Hong Kong on my flight. 'I have always wanted to see Nepal, and decided to stop over here for a few days. But it's too dangerous. I'm getting out if I can,' he said. He and another tourist who were booked into the Hyatt Regency Hotel grabbed their bags from the minibus and dashed back into the airport. Within 30 minutes they were in the air again with other tourists who never left the airport, travelling back to Bangkok in the same plane. I waited by the vehicle with my wife, but we were told it might be nightfall before it was safe to go to the hotel. There were rumours that vehicles had been attacked. Several staff from various hotels feared they would be beaten because they had not shaved their heads as a show of respect for the massacred royal family. The roads were blocked by protesters. Eventually, we decided to set out for the Hyatt Regency on foot, and Hyatt staff dragged our cases in a tortuous route through the back streets, away from the demonstrations. As word came through that tear-gas was being thrown nearby, the staff dodged into other streets and alleys until we reached the safety of the hotel compound after about 45 minutes. Shortly after our arrival the curfew was imposed. Meanwhile, hundreds of tourists were said to be holed-up in hotels in the city centre, unable to leave because of the rioting. The flight I had arrived on returned to Bangkok almost empty because tourists could not make it to the airport. And the hopes of getting out were dimming as the Royal Nepal Airlines cancelled international flights from Kathmandu, and Gulf Air followed suit. I had planned to trek near Pokhara, and had bought air tickets on Friday, hours before the royal family was massacred. All domestic flights from Kathmandu have now been cancelled.