Useful country information

Train operator in Nepal:

There are no trains in Nepal, other than an obscure

branch line from India of limited interest to travellers.

 

 

Time zone & dialling code:

 

GMT+5hours 45 minutes all year round.  Dial code +977.

Currency:

 

1 =  114 Nepalese rupees.  $1 = 74 Nepalese rupees

Visas:

 

All except Indian citizens need a visa.  Tourist visas can be bought at all official frontiers for around $25 (15 days) or $40 (30 days).  The visa fee must be paid in US$ cash, and you'll need 2 passport photos.  Alternatively, visas can be bought from Nepal embassies - The Nepalese London embassy website is www.nepembassy.org.uk.

Tourist information:

 

www.welcomenepal.com     Tripadvisor Nepal page

Page last updated:

 

8 November 2013.


Travel to, from & within Nepal...

  Indian trains: The AC2 sleeper on the Delhi - Varanasi Express

  London to Kathmandu overland by train

  Delhi to Kathmandu by train+bus

  Varanasi to Kathmandu by bus

  Calcutta to Kathmandu by train+bus

  Kathmandu to Lhasa (Tibet) by bus

  Travel within Nepal

Right:  Indian Railways will take you from Delhi to Gorakphur, from where it's a short hop by bus to Nepal...

Sponsored links...

 

London to Kathmandu overland

How to travel overland by train from Europe to Nepal...

It is possible to travel from London to Kathmandu overland by train and bus via Turkey, Iran, Pakistan & India.  It will take a minimum of 2-3 weeks (preferably more, as you'll probably want to stop off on the way and explore), and you should consider it more as an adventure or expedition than a routine way to travel there.  The main difficulty is getting an tourist visa for Iran, although this is becoming easier - see the London to Iran page.  If you can get a visa, the only logistical problem is building an itinerary around the weekly train from Istanbul to Tehran and the twice-monthly trains towards to Pakistan border.  There are also security problems in southeast Iran to consider - see the official travel advice for Iran and Pakistan at the British Foreign Office website, www.fco.gov.uk.  If you are still interested, see the London to India & Nepal Overland page.

India to Nepal overland...

Delhi to Kathmandu by train + bus...

It's quite easy, cheap, and an adventure to do this journey overland.

Traveller's reports...

Traveller Robert Marten reports:  "We travelled AC2 overnight to Gorakhpur booked in London through S.D.Enterprises (www.indiarail.co.uk).  The train was 3 hours late due to fog(!?), arriving after midday.  Then we took a very crowded ordinary bus from Gorakhpur to the Indian border town, Sunauli.  We paid Indian Rp.55 each though I was told by another local that the normal fare was Rp. 45.  We were also nearly taken in by what we decided was a scam - two different people offered us "tickets" from Gorakphur to Kathmandu for Rp.450 - saying that we could pay Rp.225 in Gorakhpur and then another Rp.225 once we crossed the border - we concluded that in effect all they were doing was charging us Rp.225 for the bus from Gorakhpur to the border. Our bus to the border took about 3 hours.  Then we easily negotiated the Indian & Nepalese Immigration.  So we found ourselves in Nepal at about 4pm.  After a bit of shopping around we booked tickets on the 5pm overnight bus to Kathmandu for Indian Rp.230 per person and arrived in cold Kathmandu shortly after 5am."

Varanasi to Kathmandu by bus...

Calcutta or Darjeeling to Kathmandu by train + bus...

Kathmandu to Lhasa by bus...

There's no railway from Nepal to Tibet through the Himalayas, at least not yet, but the Kathmandu to Lhasa journey can be done by road, either on an organised tour or (possibly) by bus.

Weekly Nepal-Tibet bus service? 

Since around 2005, the internet has been full of reports of a Kathmandu to Lhasa bus service starting, then being withdrawn, then starting again.  However, the most reliable information suggests that there is indeed a weekly Kathmandu-Lhasa bus service, running since April or May 2010.   It's possibly open to foreigners, but possibly not.  Departure day & time from Kathmandu are not known, but in the other direction it leaves Lhasa every Friday at 10:00.  The fare is 520 RMB, children under 140cm half price.  It's a 955km trip, but journey time not known.  If you find out any more, please email me!

Organised tours between Nepal & Tibet...

Apart from this possibly-non-existent weekly bus service (if indeed it is running and equally importantly, if it's open to foreigners), the only way foreigners are legally permitted to travel between Lhasa & Kathmandu in either direction is with an organised tour.  The cheapest tours cost about $400 (ask for a budget tour, there are more expensive options with better accommodation) and take 8 days, 7 nights for the 955 km journey.  For journeys from the Nepal end, try Tashi Delek Nepal Treks & Expeditions (www.tashidelektreks.com.np) who do tours leaving Kathmandu for Lhasa every Tuesday & Saturday March to November, and every Saturday  November to March.  For journeys starting at the Tibet end, try Tibet International Travels & Tours (www.tibetintl.com).  Allegedly, these companies operate the tours, although you'll find other agencies reselling those tours, for example www.heiantreks.com, www.trekkingtibet.com (recommended by one seat61 correspondent), www.visitnepal.com/getaway (departing Kathmandu every Saturday April-October, $450 + $100 Tibetan permit) or do a Google search for other agencies.

Once in Lhasa, there are trains onwards to Xian, Beijing or Shanghai.  If you have any feedback or recommendations, please email me!

Travel within Nepal...

There are no trains in Nepal, other than the end of an obscure branch line from India which is of limited interest to travellers.  However, regular buses link most centres.


Find hotels in ...

 

◄◄ Hotel search & price comparison.

www.hotelscombined.com checks all the main hotel booking sites at once to find the widest choice of hotels & the cheapest seller.  It was named as the World's Leading Hotel Comparison Site at the World Travel Awards 2013 and I highly recommend it, both to find hotels in even the smallest places and to check that another retailer isn't selling the same hotel for less!

www.booking.com is my favourite booking site, as it's really clear and you can usually book with free cancellation and so confirm your accommodation at no risk months before train booking opens.

Other hotel sites worth trying...

Backpacker hostels...


Travel insurance & health card...

 

 

Columbus direct travel insurance

Get travel insurance, it's essential...

Never travel overseas without travel insurance from a reliable insurer, with at least 1m or preferably 5m medical cover.  It should also cover cancellation and loss of cash (up to a limit) and belongings.  An annual multi-trip policy is usually cheaper than several single-trip policies even for just 2 or 3 trips a year (I have an annual policy myself).  Here are some suggested insurers.  Seat61 gets a small commission if you buy through these links.

In the UK, try Columbus Direct or use Confused.com to compare prices & policies from many different insurers.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over 65 (no age limit), see www.JustTravelCover.com.

        If you're resident in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland or the EU, try Columbus Direct's other websites.

  If you're resident in the USA try Travel Guard USA.

Get a spare credit card, designed for foreign travel with no currency exchange loading & low or no ATM fees...

It costs nothing to take out an extra credit card.  If you keep it in a different part of your luggage so you're not left stranded if your wallet gets stolen, this is a form of extra travel insurance in itself.  In addition, some credit cards are significantly better for overseas travel than others.  Martin Lewis's www.moneysavingexpert.com/travel/cheap-travel-money explains which UK credit cards have the lowest currency exchange commission loadings when you buy something overseas, and the lowest cash withdrawal fees when you use an ATM abroad.  Taking this advice can save you quite a lot on each trip compared to using your normal high-street bank credit card!

You can avoid ATM charges and expensive exchange rates with a Caxton FX euro currency Visa Card, or their multi-currency 'Global Traveller' Visa Card, see www.caxtonfx.com for info.

Get an international SIM card...

Mobile phones can cost a fortune to use abroad, and if you're not careful you can return home to find some huge bills waiting for you.  I've known people run up a 1,000 bill in data charges just by leaving their iPhone connected during a simple trip to Europe.  However, if you buy a global SIM card for your mobile phone from a company such as www.Go-Sim.com you can slash the cost by up to 85% and limit any damage to the amount you have pre-paid.  It cuts call costs in 175 countries worldwide, and you can receive incoming calls and texts for free in 75 countries.  It's pay-as-you-go, so no nasty bills when you get home.  It also works for laptop or PDA data access.  A Go-Sim account and any credit on it doesn't expire if it's not between trips, unlike some others, so a Go-Sim phone number becomes your 'global phone number' for life.

 


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