Getting to Nepal by air is a fast and convenient option, especially with multiple airlines offering flights from all major cities across India. Having said that, only some of them are non-stop, with most routes having at least one stop in between. Currently, the only international airport in Nepal is the Tribhuvan International Airport in the capital city of Khatmandu, however a second is set to open in Pokhara by 2021.
The quickest journeys are from Varanasi, Kolkata and New Delhi, from where one can take a direct flight to Khatmandu of about 1-1.5 hours. These are offered by airlines such as Nepal Airlines, IndiGo, Air India, Buddha Air. While many other national as well as international carriers offer flights with layovers. From Mumbai, the duration of the journey depends on the number of stops along the way and could range anywhere from 5 to 9 hours long. It’s similar for flights from Chennai and Bengaluru, which usually have stops at either New Delhi or Kolkata. Additionally, international carriers like Air Asia, Bhutan Airlines, Etihad, Malaysia Airlines and more, have flights coming into Khatmandu.
If you do choose air travel, try to book tickets well in advance since flights can fill up quickly, especially during peak trekking season between October and November. Tribhuvan Airport itself offers limited facilities, but there are ground transportation options available. To get to the city centre only 6 km away, you can take the public bus till 6 pm, other local bus companies or metered and pre-paid taxis at all hours.
The main train line that runs for passengers between India and Nepal are from Gorakhpur town in Uttar Pradesh, ending its route across the Sunauli border at Janakpur. Finding trains from local Indian cities to Gorakhpur is easy as there are many options, like Chauri Chaura Express, Kashi Express, Sapt Kranti Superfast Express. Once there, public buses and some taxis are available to take you 6 hours away to Khatmandu.
With six border crossings with India, road travel is an economical and scenic way to reach Nepal. For those coming from Delhi or Varanasi, the most convenient crossing point is Sunauli, near Bhairahawa. There are daily direct air-conditioned buses from both cities available, as well as private cars for hire.
The other popular crossing is the Raxaul border accessible from Patna which leads you to Birganj in Central Nepal. Those travelling from West Bengal or Bihar can opt for this entrance, with bus services and hired cars available.
The next two frequented crossings include the Panitanki and Banbasa crossings that take you to Kakarbhitta and Bhimdatta in Nepal, respectively. Choose the first if you’re travelling from towns in North East India like Gangtok or Sikkim. And the latter if you’re coming from the Delhi and Uttarakhand side.
Nepal is inaccessible by water as it is landlocked.
Domestic flights can take you to different parts of the country, offering incredible views along the way. These are provided by three major airlines — Nepal Airlines, Buddha Air and Yeti Airlines. There are smaller seasonal operators as well.
Most flights take off from Khatmandu, landing at airstrips across Nepal including Pokhara, Bhojpur, Biratnagar, Lukla, Lamidanda, Tumlingtar, Dolpo, Phaplu and Jumla, amongst others. Given the extreme weather conditions, flights don’t always take off on time as clear skies are the key to a safe journey and landing. Do note that while air travel considerably cuts your travel time between destinations, it also adds to your cost as flights can be expensive.
By Foot / Cycle
Trekking trails or town roads, walking will always be a part of your commute in Nepal. It’s vital to carry the appropriate footwear — sturdy trekking boots and nothing less.
Biking is another popular way to get around especially in Khatmandu and Pokahara. As long as you’re wary of oncoming traffic on the main streets! You can hire basic cycles for the day for about INR 350-450, while some stores rent out advanced mountain bikes for INR 850-1000. The latter is perfect for adrenaline-junkies or those looking to tread off the beaten path.
By Car / Taxi
There’s no self-drive option in Nepal, navigating these roads is a task for the locals who know them best. And it’s very easy to hire a private car with a driver for between INR 4000-6000 a day. Taxis are also available, though you will have to negotiate a fare yourself and the ride may not be as comfortable. Tour packages can be arranged to include private car transfers.
Nepal’s primary mode of transport in terms of connectivity, frequency and cost-effectiveness is the bus system. Local buses go everywhere, from big towns to outskirt villages, though they are usually crowded and best used for day trips. There are also public and private long-distance buses for which you will have to book tickets in advance. No matter if you take an economy or deluxe coach, the journey can get bumpy depending on road conditions. For safety purposes, it’s best to avoid bus travel at night.
Now that you know the best ways to get to Nepal, it’s time to check out our amazing Nepal Tour Packages, where all arrangements and every need is looked after by us at Thomas Cook. Nepal tourism is absolutely amazing and there are many places to visit in Nepal too. Also check out the best time to visit Nepal.