Transportation in Nepal

There are two ways to get to Nepal, by plane and overland from India and Tibet. Kathmandu's Tribhuvan Airport is Nepal's only international airport and direct flights from Europe, North Amercia or Australia are few and you may have to make switches of airlines and/or aircraft en route. Buses are generally the easiest and quickest form of transport between Nepal and India. Getting around Nepal is easy by air, bus, car, foot or taxi.

Flying into Khatmandu is a spectacular sight and if you want to see the mountains make sure you sit on the right-hand side of the plane.

This Nepal transportation guide will help you find your way to and from the country. Taking a local Nepal tour is a great way to get around and get more of an authentic experience. For more local travel information, take a look at our sites below:

- Kathmandu
- Pokhara

Nepal Transportation Guide

Getting there

By Air

Nepal is well connected to the major cities of Asia and Europe by air. However, direct flights to Nepal from some of these destinations are few, and tourists from Australia, North America and Europe may have to make switches of airlines and/or aircraft en route. Many tourists also fly into Nepal from India. The airport levies a departure tax of Rs.1695 payable in Nepali rupees for international flights, and a tax of Rs.1356 for flights to Indian destinations.

Tribhuvan International Airport is the only international airport at Nepal. Many airlines fly in and out of this airport, with stopovers in the Gulf or in west European cities. To get the bird's eye view (literally!) of the mountains, sit on the right hand aisle of your aircraft!

For transport from the airport to the city (or from the city to the airport), we recommend Green Path Transfers, who offer eco-friendly airport transfers in hundreds of destinations around the world, including Kathmandu and Pokhara.

Visit our partner Air Valid for Airline Reviews and Information about Nepal.

By Bus

The bus network between Nepal and India is extensive and used by many travellers. In fact, the easiest way to get to Nepal from India is by bus. Many times it is also the quickest way to cover this distance. There are five points of entry but most tourists use only three. For tourists coming from Varanasi and Delhi, the entry point at Sunawli - Bhairawa is the most convenient. For those entering from Kolkata, the entry point at Birganj - Raxaul Bazaar is ideal, while entry at Kakkarbhitta - Panitanki is the most convenient one for tourists coming from Sikkim or Darjeeling.

There are a few travellers who also enter Nepal from Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal and Delhi at the Mahendranagar - Banbassa entry point. If you wish to cross from Tibet to Nepal and vice versa, you can take the route via Kodari. However, this route is open only to structured groups and not to individuals. You will need to have an alternative plan of action if you are taking this route since landslides during the monsoons block the road completely.

Getting around Nepal

To get around within Pokhara and Kathmandu, you can use bicycles, cycle rickshaws, auto rickshaws, three-wheeled tempo buses, buses and unmetered and metered taxis.

By Bus

Public bus transport is the main mode of road travel in Nepal. But travelling by the public buses of Nepal is an exercise in extreme sports and adventure tourism! They are most inexpensive but terribly uncomfortable and painfully slow, rarely exceeding a speed of 30 kilometres per hour. On the other hand, there are also fatal accidents and head on collisions. So do avoid public bus travel after dark. Buses ply on all paved roads, which are few, and on unpaved ones as well, of which there are many. You may also find yourself sharing space with livestock and farm produce!

It is safer to travel on tourist buses in Nepal, which connect Kathmandu, Chitwan and Pokhara. You can cover long distances in 12-seater vans, air conditioned minibuses and 6-seater Tata Sumo vans. There are also many buses that ply day and night from Kathmandu to all other cities of Nepal. These buses depart from the new bus depot at Gongabu, which is located on the Ring Road near Balaju.

City Buses

Microbuses, minibuses and ordinary buses operate from the old bus park (Ratnapark) to various locations in the valley. But within Kathmandu, you can also travel by the tempos, which are safe, although they run on battery power.

By Air

The national carrier, Royal Nepal Airlines has an extensive network of domestic flights and very reasonable fares. However, their reservation systems are erratic and the fleet of aircraft is almost ancient! There are about six private airlines which are more dependable and fly newer planes at a marginally higher cost. But all flights are subject to routine delays and cancellations either due to adverse weather conditions, industrial action or security issues. Book your tickets at least a week before your date of journey and keep reconfirming your reservation to ensure that it does not slip off the passenger list in the event of a full flight! Airlines make reservations only against hard cash.

By Car

It is definitely safer to hire a chauffeur-driven vehicle to move around Kathmandu. Tourists are prohibited from hiring cars on a self-drive basis. The adventurous tourist can hire a small motorcycle to get around the city, but this is not very safe.

On Foot

Walking is the most reliable and preferred form of mobility anywhere in Nepal. It is also the preferred mode of carting goods. Porters carry more goods on foot than by any other mode of transport!

Metered Taxis

Taxis in Nepal are identifiable by their black license plate and the taxi sign atop the vehicles. The journey by metered taxi from the airport to the heart of the city costs between Rs 200 and Rs 400, while travel within the city costs between Rs 20 and Rs 200 as per the distance travelled. Tipping is optional. Private taxis cost a little more than metered taxis. Some hotels offer their guests a night taxi service at a marginally higher fare. There are also car rental companies and travel agents through whom you can hire private taxis.

Hired Mountain Bike/ Ordinary Bicycle

Sometimes, it is quicker to cycle your way around Kathmandu and other Nepalese cities. You can hire both ordinary and mountain bikes at cheap rates at Lumbini, Pokhara, Kathmandu, Jhocclen, Rani Pokhari and Thamel. Cycling is becoming very popular with tourists, especially for short hauls.