Getting around Nepal

Air

Destinations such as Lukla, Pokhara, Simikot, Jomsom, Janakpur and Bharatpur are served by domestic flights. Nepal Airlines (www.nepalairlines.com.np) operates an extensive range of scheduled services, dropping trekkers at the main hiking routes. Yeti Airlines (www.yetiairlines.com) and Buddha Air (www.buddhaair.com) are also popular carriers. Internal flights can be booked via Nepal Air Flight (www.nepalairflight.com). Morning flights tend to be affected less by inclement weather.

Note: Airfares must be paid in foreign currency by foreign nationals.

Air passes

Air passes aren’t common in Nepal, but Tara Air (www.taraair.com) and Buddha Air (www.buddhaair.com) offer periodic deals.

Departure tax

200NPR is charged for domestic flights prior to departure.

Road

International Driving Permits are required to drive in Nepal. Drivers should be cautions; driving standards are poor and so are the roads. Car hire is not available in Nepal, but it is possible to hire drivers. Tourist buses run frequent service throughout the country.

Side of road
Left
Road quality

The road infrastructure in Nepal is limited. Road quality is also poor; potholes abound and landslides frequently close roads, particularly mountain roads which can be impassable during monsoon season (June to September).

Car hire

There are no self-drive hire cars in Nepal. Travellers must hire a car and driver.

Taxi

Taxis drivers are ubiquitous. Fares are cheap by Western standards, but do negotiate a price before entering the cab. Tipping is appreciated but not expected.

Bike

Bicycles and motorcycles can be hired in larger towns and cities. You’ll need an international driver’s license to rent a motorbike, but some vendors turn a blind eye if you don’t have one. Helmets and facemasks are advised. Check the horn works too – you may need it.

Coach

Tourist buses provide transport to destinations throughout the country. They tend to be better equipped, more comfortable and safer than local buses. They also make stops on long journeys for lunch and tea. Tickets can be booked through hotels and tour operators.

Local buses are cheaper, but tend to be packed and poorly maintained. Conductors collect tickets onboard.

Regulations

The minimum driving age is 18.

Breakdown service

N/A

Documentation

An International Driving Permit is valid in Nepal for 15 days, after which a local licence is required. A temporary licence is available from local authorities on presentation of a valid national driving license.

By road note

Drink driving is not tolerated in Nepal and police checkpoints are common during holidays and festivals. Strikes – known locally as bandas – frequently bring Nepal to a halt, closing the country’s roads. Keep abreast of the news before you travel.

Getting around towns and cities

There are frequent bus services in populous towns and cities. Private minibuses are also available.
Taxi: Metered taxis are plentiful in Kathmandu; at night, the meter reading plus 50% is standard. Private taxis are more expensive and fares should be agreed before departure.
Tempos: These metered three-wheel scooters are slightly cheaper than taxis.
Rickshaws: These operate throughout Kathmandu. Fares should be negotiated in advance.

Rail

It is not currently possible to travel across Nepal by train.

Rail passes

N/A

By rail note

N/A

By water

Ferries are used for river and lake crossings, but tend to be overcrowded.

By water note

N/A

Newsletter