Transportation - Get In
- Tribhuvan International Airport , Ring Road(located 5.5km east of the popular tourist neighborhood of Thamel), . is the largest and only international airport in Nepal. For Domestic Flight Information phone=+977 1 4113299. - Facilities: Foreign Exchange (one bank counter at the departure lounge and three bank counters at the arrival lounge), TIA Office Information Services, PRE-PAID Taxi. Nepal Tourism Board Information Counter: You can acquire information on host of topics on tourism. HAN (Hotel Association of Nepal) Counter: You can book any hotel of your choice from here. Get your hotel voucher and proceed to the assigned hotel. You can collect pamphlets, other materials on tourism. You may be offered free copies of "Nepal Traveler" an informative magazine which has all sorts of information about Nepal distributed by smart beautiful ladies just as you step out of the Custom area. -CIP Lounge (for business travelers, paying Rs 200 per person) - two Press rooms - Cargo facilities. -Post office. - Souvenir Shop. - Medical Services. - Internet services
Most international flights to Kathmandu arrive from Delhi, UAE, Qatar, orBangkok.
International airlines serving Kathmandu include:
- Pakistan International Airlines - Karachi.
- Nepal Airlines - Bangkok,Delhi, Dubai, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Osaka, Singapore and Shanghai.
- Silk Air - Singapore.
- Thai Airways - Bangkok.
- Qatar Airways - Doha.
- RAK Airways - Ras Al Khaimah, complimentary bus shuttle service between Ras Al Khaimah International Airport and neighbouring emirates (Dubai, Sharjah...).
- GMG Airlines - Dhaka.
- China Southern Airlines -Guangzhou.
- China Eastern Airlines - Kunming.
- Turkish Airlines - Istanbul.
- Malaysian Airlines- Kuala Lumpur.
- Biman Bangladesh Airlines -Dhaka
- Air Arabia - Sharjah.
- Air China - Chengdu.
- Air Asia - Kuala Lumpur.
- TUIFly - Amsterdam.
- Fly Dubai - Dubai.
- Druk Air - Paro and Delhi
- Etihad Airways - Abu Dhabi.
- Gulf Air - Bahrain.
- Dragon Air - Hong Kong
- Air India - Delhi and Kolkata.
- Jet Airways - Delhi, Mumbai.
- JetLite - Delhi.
- Korean Air - Seoul.
Commercial domestic flights are available to/from Bhadrapur,Bhairawa, Bharatpur, Biratnagar,Dhangarhi, Janakpur, Nepalganj,Pokhara, Simara, and Tumling Tar. Domestic flights take about an hour and cost USD100-175. The primary domestic airlines are air viva, Yeti, Nepal Airlines, and Buddha Air. Domestic flights are almost always delayed and afternoon flights run the risk of cancellation as delays from the morning compound.
Baggage handlers & concerns
Your luggage is vulnerable entering and leaving this airport. Do not keep anything of value in checked bags, and if you lock the bag, the zip may be forced open and broken. There is little to no security for your bags. You should also be aware that most luggage is treated quite poorly in Nepalese airports. It is recommended that all fragile and valuable items are kept in your carry on luggage.
Be aware that when you collect your luggage, an "airport baggage cart collector" may appear and assist you with a baggage trolley. Unless you insist on handling your own baggage, your items will be loaded on the trolley and will be conveyed with you to the entrance of the terminal. You will then be expected to pay a tip to this person. Arriving just beforehand in Nepal, you will often only have larger denomination foreign currency in your pocket, making the issue of a tip a bit of a problem. It's fine to pay the tip in foreign currency but make sure you have some small notes or coins on hand (even a couple of dollar are significant to many Nepalis).
Money exchange at the airport
Try not to exchange money at the airport as there are service charges and lower rates offered than what you can get in Thamel or elsewhere in the city.
Getting to and from the airport
There are no trains in Kathmandu and renting a car without a driver is not possible.
- Pre-arranged hotel transfers are available from most hotels and are included in most trekking/touring packages. Representatives will be standing outside the arrivals doors behind a barricade and will hold a sign identifying themselves. This form of transport is particularly helpful if you are a novice to Nepal, arriving late at night and unfamiliar with how things work in the country.
- Prepaid taxis cost NPR800 to Thamel. Don't give the receipt to the driver until you are at your destination and you are satisfied, as this serves as the driver's payment. If the driver asks for more money, don't give it. Tipping taxi drivers is not expected.
- Regular taxis are an easy way to get to the city but be prepared to negotiate the price beforehand, heavily. The cheapest rate that you can get to Thamel is NPR400-500, or if you go to the end of the parking lot and catch a taxi there, where the taxis do not have to pay the airport entrance fee, you may be able to get a rate of NPR200-300, which is close to the standard meter rate. Taxi drivers may try to extract some commission by showing you one or more hotels on the way.
- Local buses pickup and drop-off at the airport gate, 0.5 km from the terminal. The buses generally do not have fixed schedules and are often crowded and painful but cost only NPR10. Ask the cashier about where the bus stops.
There is frequent and cheap bus service between Kathmandu and nearly all parts of Nepal. However, due to poor roads and frequent delays the buses are some of the slowest and least comfortable in South Asia.
- Balaju Bus Station (North Bus Station, Gongabu Bus Station?), Dupchewsor Marga? (There are 'mini buses' which criss cross the main roads of the city for about NPR20.). Buses: India (Patna,Gorakhpur, Varanasi (₹1,350, India-Nepal friendship Bus Service, leaves Varanasi at 1pm and arrives to Kathmandu at 5am), andLucknow), Pokhara, and Chitwan
- Kalanki Station (south) (There are 'mini buses' which crisscross the main roads of the city for about NPR20.). Buses: India (Patna,Gorakhpur, Varanasi (₹1,200), and Lucknow), Pokhara, and Chitwan
Tourist buses (NPR800, 6-7h) and crowded local buses/microbuses (NPR400-600, 6-7h) travel the 200 km journey between Kathmandu and Pokhara almost every 15 minutes starting at 07:30 through late afternoon. Night buses are available, but the ride is painful. Greenline operates a convenient bus every morning between the popular tourist areas of Thamel in Kathmandu and Lakeside in Pokhara (USD20, lunch included). The road is winding and includes many hairpin bends and offers wonderful views of hills and rural Nepalese lifestyle. The drivers will generally not drive too fast but some will calmly weave in and out of the stream of opposing traffic and slam on the brakes when a stop is required, making for a scary ride if you look out the front window. During the rainy season, there may be problems with the roads and flying may make more sense.
Buses and minivans run between Kathmandu and the Nepalese border town of Kodari, across the Sino-Nepal Friendship Bridge from the Tibetan city of Zhangmu. The 123 km journey takes 6+ hours and costs NPR500. Buses depart until the early afternoon. Private jeeps (USD60 for up to 4 people) are a quicker option, and can make this journey in 4 hours.
Transportation - Get Around
If you fly in, be sure to pick up a free Kathmandu Valley map at the airport. The first thing some visitors notice about Kathmandu is the general lack of house numbers and street names except for major roads such as Tri Devi & Ring Road (loops around the city). In most cases directions are given relative to the nearest chowk or tole (an intersection or square, often with a market) or a noteworthy location or building (such as a temple or restaurant)
It is possible to get around Kathmandu by foot, but some may not always find the walking pleasant. It's worth considering, however, whether any form of public transport would be easier or more convenient than walking when you consider the crowds, the narrow streets and lanes, the traffic and everything you might want to see.
By rickshaw or taxi
If you consider public transportation for anything more than wandering around a specific area, there are several options. Pedal rickshaws can be found around the tourist areas of Thamel and taxis are everywhere. It's often difficult to go more than a short anywhere without being offered the services of both forms of transport. Negotiate a price before you get in a taxi or rickshaw. If you can't agree, ask another driver. Prices go up after dark and in less busy areas. Taxis are easy to find; they park near all major streets & have fare-meters. After 22:00 it can be very difficult to find taxis away from central tourist areas or major hotels. It should be possible to hire a taxi from Thamel for NPR300 one-way to Patan and around NPR1,200 to Bakhtapur from Thamel or the airport. For longer trips and to hire a taxi by the day negotiate with the driver. Haggle hard and you will easily find another driver if you are not satisfied. The meter is your best bet if you are not confident enough to negotiate, however very few drivers will agree to using them. Sometimes the proper operation of meters can be suspect so if you know exactly where you're going, it might be better to negotiate a suitable price in advance.
The Tempos, small three-wheeled buses, and microbuses are a very cheap (NPR15) way to get around the city. The Tempos come in two varieties - green (electric) and blue (petrol) and run on predefined routes through the city. These routes are numbered, sometimes with both Nepali and European numbers. There does not seem to be a map of the routes in existence, but you can get the hang of their paths quite quickly by asking and observing what numbers go on which road. Microbuses are typically minivans with a surprising number of seats crammed in - they have a "conductor" who leans out of the door and shouts the destinations, which are also often written on the front (in Nepali). If you have time, you can ask if they are going your way and hop on. These also typically cost NPR15.
There are also buses for longer trips within the valley, i.e. Patan, Bakhtapur, Boudha, etc. that can be used for trips in and around town. Blue buses & green buses constantly drive in circles/loops around the city on "Ring Road" - for NPR15-20 - depending on the distance. Every bus has a cashier/attendant who can tell you where it stops & alert you upon arrival. Riding the buses with the local people can be very pleasant & interesting. The buses are typically very old and rough.