The sole international airport in Nepal is Tribhuvan International Airport, which is situated immediately east of Kathmandu’s Ring Road. Despite the fact that Nepal is a popular tourist destination, most flights from anywhere will make a stop in Asia or the Middle East along the route. As a result, whether you’re traveling from Europe or North America, anticipate lengthy travel hours.
With the improvement in political stability in recent years, more airlines have begun to provide flights to Nepal.
There are just a few amenities in the terminal building. There includes an immigration hall, a customs desk, a tourist information booth, and a currency exchange counter where new visitors may get their visas. After regular planes arrive, the latter may only have services accessible for a brief period. A number of airline ticket desks, an immigration area where your visa and exit card are checked, a security section where passengers and their luggage are searched or scanned, and numerous departure lounges are all located in the departures area. There is a modest shop concession where you may purchase beverages and snacks.
It is possible to have passport pictures taken and immigration forms picked up at tables in the rear of the arrivals area, however your immigration process will be sped considerably if you bring some of your own passport photos and completed visa papers downloaded from Nepal Immigration. Although you may get an immigration card on your trip, you will still need a long form visa application, which you may obtain either online or at the airport’s arrivals hall. Joining any lines is pointless until you have your application form, passport pictures, and visa payments in hand.
Visitors may find it more convenient to conduct currency swaps in the city where they are staying. Thamel, for example, offers a plethora of currency exchange booths with reasonable prices and fast and efficient service. Visa costs may be paid in most major currencies at the airport, although US dollars are preferable.
All “representatives” of the tourism sector are obliged to stay 10 meters away from the front entrance of the airport. Many will be screaming and waving big placards in an effort to get you to hire them as your guide, cab, hotel, or baggage carrier. Before crossing the line, make your decision. Be warned that when you exit the airport’s immigration area and retrieve your baggage, someone with a luggage cart will most likely approach you and offer assistance. This person will accompany you to the exit doors from the airport and to your transportation, unless you insist to carrying your own baggage and luggage cart, and will then demand a gratuity. Even in a foreign currency, having some small denomination notes or coins to use as a tip is helpful. Tipping may be problematic for many tourists who come with just travellers checks or high denomination banknotes.
If possible, book your first night’s lodging ahead of time and request that someone from the hotel greet you. Complimentary airport transportation is available at many hotels and guest homes. It’s conceivable that if you’ve made plans with a trekking agency, they’ll pick you up from the airport as part of the package. If you’ve made such arrangements, someone from your hotel or trekking organization will be wearing a placard to identify themselves. If you are new to Nepal, and particularly if you are coming late at night and are unfamiliar with the city and how things operate in Nepal, any of these two later alternatives are excellent possibilities.
The cost is fixed.
Taxis can be booked before you leave the premises, but if you’re prepared to haggle, you may be able to obtain a better deal. The ideal approach is to agree on a fee with the driver ahead of time. A cab trip to Thamel or Boudha should cost less than NPR500, although this is not always the case. Otherwise, book a cab at the airport’s pre-paid kiosk. This will almost certainly cost more than a fee negotiated outside, although it may save time.
A strike is the only other scenario that might make getting to the city more difficult (bandh). These are less frequent today than they were a few years ago, although a coalition of political parties called one during the week running up to the November 2013 elections. Strikes tend to impact cabs less later in the evening than during the day, and in any event, if you’re coming, there’s not much you can do except wait and watch what happens. It’s a good idea to check whether any strikes have been called before going and make plans accordingly. A journey to the airport in the morning or evening may be a viable option. Your hotel or hiking company may be able to assist you as well.
By car or motorcycle
Renting a vehicle with a driver is simple in Nepal; but, you’ll need to negotiate to obtain a good deal. If you visit during the summer, you should rent an air-conditioned vehicle. Hiring a vehicle without a driver in Nepal, as well as renting a car in India and driving it over the border, is virtually unheard of.
Many tourists arrive on Royal Enfield motorbikes from India. Foreigners are required to pay customs at the border, although the majority do not. It’s simple to sell the bike in Nepal since other tourists are searching for motorcycles to go back to India.
If you’re traveling from India, you’ll discover that driving in Nepal is far less stressful. The roads are fantastic, and the new east-west highway, which is now being built with Japanese assistance, will offer up new locations for anyone interested in seeing Nepal on a motorcycle.
Please verify the current condition of gasoline before renting a motorcycle. There were gasoline supply issues in late 2009, which may leave motorcyclists stranded. Unless you lease a Royal Enfield, a bike rental should cost about NPR500 per day (Pulsar, Hero Honda, scooter).
Tourists are also infamous for attempting to charge huge sums of money for ‘damage’ that may or may not have been caused by you while returning the bike. As a result, be careful to do a full damage assessment before leaving, and report any attempts to defraud you to the local authorities if the hirer tries to defraud you on your return.
The greatest way to see Nepal on a motorbike is to enter through the Banbasa-Mahendra Nagar border crossing. Just beyond the border crossing, the Mahendra Highway (built with India’s help) is a blast to ride.
To cross the border, you must pay a daily toll of NPR120 and a one-time transport permit of NPR50; the police may request these two papers at any moment throughout your journey.
There are five tourist-friendly border crossings. Sunauli-Bhairawa is the nearest border crossing to Varanasi, Raxaul-Birganj is the closest to Patna and Kolkata, and Siliguri-Kakarbhitta is the closest to Darjeeling. In Nepal’s far west, the Banbassa-Mahendrenagar border crossing is the nearest to Delhi. The Bahraich-Nepalganj border is the nearest to Lucknow, which is the most accessible destination from Delhi by air or rail.
Independent travelers are permitted to enter Nepal through Kodari, but only organized groups are permitted to enter Tibet via Kodari.
Between Sirsiya in southern Nepal and Raxaul in India, cargo and passenger trains run. Foreigners, with the exception of Indians, are not permitted to enter the border. In Janakpur, the internal railway network is restricted to a few kilometers.