Getting round Nepal is straightforward with the correct planning – Lonely Planet

Video Getting round Nepal is straightforward with the correct planning – Lonely Planet

Regardless of being solely a smidge greater than New York state, Nepal is usually a difficult place to discover due to the mountainous terrain, the poor situation of many roads and automobiles and the difficult and unpredictable climate, notably throughout monsoon season.

Though a variety of low-cost transport choices can be found, delays and cancellations are widespread, so it is best to construct some flexibility into your itinerary. Whether or not you select to journey by bus or bike, bike or aircraft, right here’s our information to navigating Nepal.

Buses are the most affordable approach to journey round Nepal

Buses are by far the most affordable and hottest approach to journey lengthy distances in Nepal. As a draw back, they’re additionally comparatively sluggish and uncomfortable, and schedules and the journey occasions prompt by operators must be taken with a pinch of salt.

Buses often depart from the primary bus stand or bus park, which may usually be discovered on the sting of city. In smaller villages, the bus may cease on the roadside – ask locals the place the bus pulls in. Kathmandu has separate bus stands for native companies across the Kathmandu Valley and long-distance buses to locations corresponding to Pokhara and border crossings to India.

In addition to full-sized buses, small minibuses run on some shorter routes to cities round Kathmandu and Pokhara. The nation has lately began electrical minibus companies, an indication of rising environmental consciousness in a nation notably uncovered to the dangers from local weather change.

Breakdowns are widespread, however points are usually fastened by the roadside inside a couple of hours; for those who do not need to wait, you may usually flag down one other bus heading in the identical path. Landslides may also block roads throughout the monsoon, resulting in delays lasting a number of days.

How protected are the buses in Nepal?

Street security is a critical difficulty in Nepal and accidents involving buses usually are not unusual – pre-pandemic, there have been round 13,000 street accidents per yr, of which 19% concerned fatalities. It is best to keep away from touring by bus at evening, when many accidents happen.

Additionally word that buses in Nepal may be extraordinarily crowded, with passengers sitting on the ground and even on the roof. Getting on initially of the route affords one of the best probability of getting a seat; begin shifting in the direction of the doorways earlier than the bus will get to the place you need to get off. For extra private area, follow vacationer buses.

Bus lessons in Nepal

A number of lessons of buses function in Nepal – this is a information.

  • Native buses These usually make brief hops, linking villages to bigger cities; they cease recurrently and squeeze in as many passengers as attainable.
  • Odd These buses are the spine of native transport, and so they supply restricted consolation however discount costs, making frequent stops alongside the way in which.
  • Specific These companies are sometimes faster, extra comfy, and make fewer stops on long-distance routes.
  • Deluxe Posher categorical buses, which include further perks like air-conditioning, curtains, and generally loud music or TVs screening native motion pictures.
  • Vacationer Buses These fashionable buses shuttle between standard locations corresponding to Kathmandu and Pokhara and are quicker, however costlier; e-book tickets prematurely.

Bus tickets

For many lessons of bus, you should purchase tickets straight from the driving force once you board, or from reserving counters on the bus stand. To seek out the category of bus you are after, ask at ticket counters or test with the bus firm workers shouting out the names of locations on the bus stand. For vacationer buses and deluxe buses, you should purchase tickets from journey brokers or by way of motels.

At busy occasions, e-book tickets for deluxe and vacationer buses a couple of days prematurely, notably throughout the peak season (October and November) and round main spiritual festivals. Journey companies can do that for you for a small payment. Costs for bus journey are very pocket-friendly – you may pay Rs 600 (US$5) from Kathmandu to Pokhara on an strange bus, or Rs 700-1000 (US$5.20-7.50) on a vacationer bus.


Giant items of baggage are typically saved on the roof – padlock your baggage shut, climb up onto the bus roof and safe your baggage to the railings earlier than the bus units off, and maintain a beady eye out every time the bus stops, as thefts usually are not unusual.

Buses are the primary type of public transportation in Nepal however count on a bone-shaking experience © Emad aljumah / Getty Pictures

Hiring a automobile and driver brings extra freedom

Hiring your individual set of wheels provides you rather more freedom to discover independently and get off the crushed monitor, particularly in distant areas the place public transport is restricted or rare. Though there are not any self-drive rental vehicles in Nepal, journey companies throughout the nation can set up a automobile (or jeep) with an area driver.

Day charges are considerably decrease than in North America or Europe, and break up between a number of folks, this is usually a surprisingly economical approach to get round. Anticipate to pay between US$60 and US$100 per day, together with gasoline.

It’s typically cheaper, although additionally much less comfy, to rent a taxi for a day – haggle straight with the driving force to agree on a value. If you wish to drive your self, you’ll must convey your individual automobile into Nepal through one of many border crossings from India, with all of the related crimson tape.

Lease a bike for a Nepali street journey

One standard approach to self-drive is to rent a bike in Kathmandu or Pokhara. You will want a world driving allow or a nationwide driving license that lets you experience bikes – a daily automobile license is just not enough. Rental companies will ask you to go away your passport behind as a deposit. Make certain your journey insurance coverage covers you for using a bike – few rental retailers present insurance coverage, which leaves you totally responsible for accidents and harm.

Nepal is just not a spot for inexperienced motorcyclists: the roads are perilous and accidents are widespread. Use your horn on blind corners and all the time give approach to any bigger automobile, notably buses and vehicles.

Journey tip: strikes can convey transport to a standstill

Nepal is vulnerable to political troubles, and bandhs (strikes, known as by unions, political events or group teams) can convey transport to a halt throughout the nation. If there’s a strike, it is best to not attempt to journey, as automobiles that try and cross blockades are generally focused by offended crowds. The federal government often offers a particular bus service taking passengers to Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan Worldwide Airport.

The airport at Lukla within the Everest area is reached by one of many world’s most dramatic flight paths © Vadim Petrakov / Shutterstock

Airplanes can shorten journey occasions

Nepal has an intensive assortment of small airstrips, together with many in distant mountainous areas. Home flights are supplied by a mixture of authorities and personal airways – Nepal Airways, the nationwide service, has a variety of home routes, serving in every single place from Simikot within the far west to Taplejung within the far east, utilizing a tiny, growing older fleet.

Its two fundamental non-public rivals are Buddha Air and Yeti Airways. Each fly to locations throughout the nation, together with Pokhara and bigger cities within the Terai. The busiest route within the nation is the flight from Kathmandu to Lukla, the trailhead for treks to Everest Base Camp.

Most companies originate or terminate in Kathmandu, however the western metropolis of Nepalgunj within the Terai acts as a hub for flights to the northwest. Whoever you fly with, you may get a grandstand view of the Himalayas en route if the skies are clear.

Flights are typically cheaper than in Europe and North America (you may pay round US$120 from Kathmandu to Pokhara) and flying is usually a nice time-saver compared to touring by street, although this comes with a a lot greater carbon footprint.

Notice that delays, cancellations and re-routings are widespread – Nepal Airways has a popularity for being extra unreliable than a lot of its privately-owned rivals. Small planes are used for home flights, so baggage allowances may be smaller than for worldwide routes.

Is flying in Nepal protected?

It’s essential to keep in mind Nepal’s patchy air security document. There have been quite a few deadly crashes in recent times, so weigh up the time saved towards the hazards (and keep in mind that street journey comes with its personal dangers). You’ll be able to obtain the newest security report from the Civil Aviation Affiliation of Nepal.

Mountain biking provides you a wholly new perspective on Nepal © Saro17 / Getty Pictures

Biking is a wonderful approach to discover Nepal

Nepal is among the world’s nice mountain-biking locations, and cycle touring can also be an possibility within the Terai. Past the congested, traffic-snarled middle of the Kathmandu Valley, there are various choices for long-distance and multi-day cycles, together with in lots of trekking areas. One standard route is the fulfilling five-day experience from Kathmandu to Pokhara through the historic Newari city of Gorkha.

Though you may experience many routes by yourself, hiring a information or occurring an organized tour is really helpful, notably for those who’re a comparatively inexperienced rider. Bike rental is straightforward to arrange in touristy areas – attempt specialist mountain biking operators corresponding to Daybreak Until Nightfall and Himalayan Single Monitor in Kathmandu.

Why I really like mountain biking in Nepal

Zipping alongside again roads and historical trails on a mountain bike is my favourite approach to discover rural Nepal. It provides you the independence to journey at your individual tempo and veer off on impromptu detours and aspect journeys everytime you select, whereas additionally offering a rewarding bodily problem.

Furthermore, biking has taken me to numerous locations in Nepal I’d in any other case have missed – villages surrounded by terraced fields, remoted Himalayan viewpoints, little-visited areas of nationwide parks. Simply ensure you take a superb, up-to-date map with you, because it’s straightforward to get misplaced!

Strolling Nepal’s trekking trails is by far probably the most thrilling approach to see the nation © Moroz Nataliya /Shutterstock

Trekking will be the solely possibility within the mountains

Many areas of Nepal can solely be reached on foot, and 1000’s of individuals come to Nepal particularly to go trekking within the Himalayas. Essentially the most well-known trekking areas are the Annapurna Massif close to Pokhara, the Langtang Valley close to Syabrubesi, and the Everest area, northeast of Kathmandu. Most trailheads close to Pokhara and the Lantang Valley are accessible by bus; trekkers heading to Everest often fly into the tiny airstrip at Lukla.

Use rickshaws and taxis to journey round Nepal’s cities

Ubiquitous in Kathmandu and different cities and enormous cities, cycle-rickshaws and autorickshaws are low cost and handy methods to get round city areas. There are not any fastened costs – you’ll need to haggle with the driving force. Tempos – giant autorickshaws that comply with fastened routes – are additionally helpful; flag them down on the street and faucet on the roof once you need to get off.

There are quite a few taxis with meters (and black license plates) in Kathmandu, Pokhara and different cities. They are often flagged down or discovered loitering close to the sights in touristy areas. You’ll need to strongly encourage the driving force to make use of the meter (in the event that they refuse, negotiate an affordable fastened value earlier than setting off).

Kathmandu additionally has a bike ride-hailing app, Tootle, which may be helpful when attempting to navigate town site visitors at busy occasions. Nonetheless, security is a consideration; with the chaotic site visitors, you may be safer in a taxi.

Accessible journey

Sadly, getting round Nepal is usually a problem for vacationers with disabilities. Pavements and avenue crossings are uncommon, although a number of the costlier motels have wheelchair-accessible rooms. You will discover few wheelchair services, ramps or lifts. Hiring a automobile and driver is an effective possibility for getting across the nation, whereas horses or mules can usually be employed for treks. For extra info, try Lonely Planet’s Accessible Journey On-line Sources.

You might also like: Uncovering Kathmandu’s cosmopolitan tradition: why you are going to need to linger longerThe greatest locations to go to in Nepal, from mountains to Buddha’s birthplace15 of one of the best issues to do in Nepal: expertise the Himalaya

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