Traveling From India to Nepal
Nepal is the land of natural beauty with its soaring Himalayan mountains and world-famous national parks. This country is a great destination for hikers, spiritual travelers, and those who want to see Mount Everest with their own eyes.
Nepal is easy to reach from India and many travelers have begun adding on a trip to this small and interesting country to their India itinerary.
If you want to visit Nepal after India, then you've come to the right place. In this article, we will explain how to travel from India to Nepal including where to cross the border, methods of transportation, and some examples of popular India + Nepal itineraries.
- Nepal is a small landlocked country that is located in the Himalayan mountains and bordered by China and India.
- There are multiple border crossings between Nepal and India, but Sonauli is the largest and most popular crossing point.
- Traveling by air is the quickest and most convenient way to travel from India to Nepal and the most affordable flights take off from Delhi.
- It is also possible to travel to Nepal by bus or train, however, once you cross the border you will need to take a long-distance bus to Kathmandu.
- In Nepal, travelers can take a flight around Mount Everest, explore the temples of Kathmandu, trek around the Himalayas, or spot one-horned rhinos at Chitwan National Park.
Where is Nepal?
Nepal is a landlocked country that is located almost entirely in the Himalayan mountain range. The country is bordered by China to the north and by India to the south, east, and west. Nepal is located very close to the border with Bangladesh and Bhutan but is separated from these countries by small portions of the Indian states of West Bengal and Sikkim.
The geography of Nepal is very diverse from some of the tallest mountains to the Terai that is around 500 meters below sea level. Because of this, Nepal has a lot to offer in terms of terrain and scenery for travelers.
Nepal is most well-known for being home to some of the tallest mountains in the world including Everest, Shishapangma, and Manaslu. Because of this, Nepal is one of the top locations on the planet for trekking and mountaineering. Everyone who loves mountain views and rustic culture will love a trip to Nepal.
Borders of Nepal and India
The border between Nepal and India is around 1,751 kilometers in length and covers the western, southern, and eastern sides of the country. Some of the Indian states that border Nepal include Sikkim, West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand.
The India-Nepal border is an open border and nationals from either country can travel to the other without a visa or passport. However, nationals of other countries will be required to bring a passport and show documentation.
There are multiple border crossings between India and Nepal. The most popular crossing point for travelers is Sonauli. The Sonauli border crossing is the biggest and from here it is easy to find transportation onwards to Kathmandu.
The Sonauli border crossing is accessible in India from the town of Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh and leads to Bhairahawa in central Nepal. This is the biggest and busiest border crossing between the two countries. After crossing into Nepal, travelers will find that Bhairahawa offers connections to Kathmandu, Pokhara, and Lumbini.
Buses from Sonauli to Kathmandu take around 6 to 7 hours.
This border crossing can be accessed from Banbasa, Uttarakhand in India and is the most western border crossing available. This crossing is the closest to Delhi and other cities in northwestern India, but is also very rural and is not the easiest to access.
Getting from the town of Banbasa to the border requires a bus ride of around 3 hours.
Once travelers have crossed the border into the Nepali town of Bhimdatta, reaching Kathmandu requires a bus ride of around 15 to 17 hours.
This border crossing is on the far eastern side of Nepal and can be accessed from the town of Siliguri in West Bengal. Most of the travelers who use this crossing arrive from Darjeeling, Kolkata, or Sikkim. The trip from Darjeeling to the Panitanki crossing takes around 45 minutes to an hour.
After crossing into the Nepali town of Kakarbhitta, travelers can catch one of the regular buses to Kathmandu which takes around 14 to 16 hours. It is possible to make a stop at Chitwan National Park on the way from Kakarbhitta to Kathmandu.
This border crossing is accessible from Patna in the Indian state of Bihar. This crossing is best for travelers who want to reach Nepal from Kolkata or Bodh Gaya.
After crossing into Birganj, buses take around 6 to 7 hours to reach Kathmandu. You can also rent a shared jeep to Kathmandu which will be slightly quicker.
There are two other border crossings from India into Nepal which are located in Jamunaha and Gauriphanta in Uttar Pradesh. However, these two are difficult to reach on the Indian side of the border and are therefore less popular for travelers.
There are also other unofficial border crossings that are used by Indians and Nepalis, but these crossings don't have the facilities to allow foreigners to enter.
How to Get From India to Nepal
There are many different available methods for travelers planning their trip from India to Nepal. The easiest option and the one that is most chosen by travelers is to take a quick flight from Delhi to Kathmandu.
This is the fastest method and the Delhi airport also offers the most flight options at the most affordable prices.
Travelers who want to take in the beautiful scenery as they make their way up to the Nepal border can opt to travel by train or bus. These rides require travelers to have a lot of extra time and patience for the journey.
When traveling by bus or train, you will need to cross the border at one of the crossing points mentioned above. There are buses available to Kathmandu and other major Nepali cities from most Nepali border towns.
Fly From India to Kathmandu
Flying into Nepal offers travelers the most time-saving and convenient method of travel to this beautiful country. If you choose to fly into Kathmandu, you will be treated to views of the Himalayas during your descent into the city. The most affordable flights to Kathmandu are from Delhi.
|From||To||Flight Duration||Airfare||Popular Airlines|
|Delhi||Kathmandu||1 hr 40 min||65 USD||Air India, Nepal Airlines, IndiGo, and Bhutan Airlines|
|Mumbai||Kathmandu||2 hrs 30 min||85 USD||Nepal Airlines|
|Varanasi||Kathmandu||1 hr 30 min||200 USD||Buddha Air|
|Kolkata||Kathmandu||1 hr 20 min||100 USD||Air India, Buddha Air|
Delhi offers the cheapest flights to Kathmandu and also offers multiple flight options a day from many different airlines. The Indira Gandhi International Airport also operates flights to Kathmandu every day of the week. The first flight from Delhi to Kathmandu leaves daily at 7:40 am and the last flight is at 9:05 pm.
Mumbai is the best option for travelers coming from Goa. Due to Jet Airways' closure, the only airline that offers direct flights from Mumbai to Kathmandu is Nepal Airlines. These flights are available at 5:25 pm on Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday.
While it is more expensive than the other options, it is also possible to fly to Kathmandu from Varanasi. Most of the flights from Varanasi connect through Delhi but there are also 2 direct flights that are offered by Buddha Air. These direct flights only operate Monday and Friday. For connecting flights through Delhi, IndiGo is a good option.
Lastly, guests who are spending time in eastern India have the option of flying to Kathmandu from Kolkata in West Bengal. Buddha Air operates three direct flights a week from Kolkata. These flights take off at 9:05 am on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Air India also offers some direct flights from Kolkata.
Travel Overland by Train
Travelers who want that typical India train experience or want to save some money can choose to travel to Nepal by train. The major crossing for train travelers is Sonauli which can be reached from Gorakhpur.
Once you arrive at the Gorakhpur train station, it will be a three-hour journey to the border crossing point which will cost around 3 USD on a local bus. There is also an option to take a shared Jeep.
The train from Delhi to Gorakhpur takes around 14 hours and costs around 18 USD. This train runs several times a day but it is a good idea to catch one that arrives early in the morning so you have plenty of time to reach the border crossing and then catch a bus to Kathmandu. Buses to Kathmandu from the border crossing point are only available in the morning.
The train from Varanasi to Gorakhpur takes around 7 hours making it one of the best train options. There are multiple trains available from Varanasi to Gorakhpur every day. It is ideal to arrive in the early morning so that you can catch a morning bus to Kathmandu from the other side of the border. Another option would be to stay in Gorakpur overnight and then cross the next day.
There is also a train from Kolkata to Gorakhpur, but the travel time is 20 hours and tickets are quite expensive.
Once you have crossed the border at Sonauli, you'll have to catch a bus to Nepal's major cities. The bus to Kathmandu from Sonauli will take around 6 to 7 hours. There are many types of buses operating this segment including crowded public buses and the bigger air-conditioned tourist buses.
Travel Overland by Bus
Traveling such a long-distance overland by bus is a good way to travel cheaply but is often a long and uncomfortable journey. The good news is that recently, Delhi Transport has started offering bus services directly to Kathmandu. There are no bathrooms available on the buses, but the driver will make periodic stops along the way.
This bus journey from Delhi to Kathmandu takes around 30 hours. A one-way ticket costs around 35 USD.
There is also a direct bus available from Varanasi to Kathmandu. This bus takes around 15 to 16 hours and costs around 20 USD.
Necessary Travel Documents
Most foreigners will need a tourist visa to enter Nepal, however, Nepal makes getting a tourist visa quite simple by offering a visa on arrival option that at the airport in Kathmandu as well as at all land crossings.
To obtain a visa on arrival, you will need to bring passport-sized photos and the amount of currency necessary to pay your visa fee. It is a good idea to come prepared with USD because some border crossings will only accept U.S. dollars for visa payments.
Travelers will be given the option of buying a visa lasting for 15, 30, or 90 days. A 15-day visa will cost 25 USD, a 30-day visa will cost 40 USD, and a 90-day visa will cost 100 USD.
The visa on arrival process is very quick and simple. It only requires travelers to fill out a short form which can also be filled out online 15 days before arrival to make the process even faster.
Indian citizens do not need a visa to enter Nepal but will need to show their passport at the airport upon arrival.
Extend Your India Trip to Nepal
If you plan on visiting India but are also interested in the striking Himalayas and hiking opportunities available in Nepal, then you can extend your trip for 3 or more days to explore this incredible country.
Travelers who plan on visiting the Golden Triangle cities (Delhi, Jaipur, and Agra) in India can easily make a quick trip to Nepal from Delhi after they have finished exploring India.
In Nepal, there are plenty of options for things to see including Kathmandu, Mount Everest, and Chitwan National Park.
India's Golden Triangle
The Golden Triangle travel route is the best itinerary for first-time visitors to India because it includes the country’s most classic sights such as the Taj Mahal, palaces of the Maharajas, and seat of the British Empire.
Travelers will start their journey in Delhi where they can explore the old city with is bustling Chandni Chowk bazaar, famous Jama Masjid mosque, and impressive Red Fort. Here travelers can also take a street food tour and explore the narrow lanes of the busy markets by rickshaw.
After Delhi, travelers will head to Agra which is the home of the Taj Mahal. Check out this sparking Mughal tomb at sunrise or catch the perfect view from the gardens of Mehtab Bagh. In Agra, don't miss the impressive Agra Fort or Tomb of Itmad-ud-Daulah.
Lastly, head to the Pink City of Jaipur. Here you can explore the City Palace, walk through the streets and their pink houses, or get expansive views of the surrounding area from the Amber Fort.
Kathmandu is the capital city of Nepal and the place where most visitors will start there journeys in this country. In Kathmandu, the best thing to do is to explore the city and its ancient parts.
Check out the famous Durbar Square which is full of stupas and hidden temples or shop for souvenirs and prayer flags in Thamel. Make sure to eat some of the famous momos or Nepali dumplings.
Once you have explored the city area, most travelers head to the outskirts which are full of gorgeous Hindu temples.
Head the western hills of Kathmandu to climb up the 365 steps to Swayambhunath Temple. This temple is sometimes called the Monkey Temple due to the adorable but mischievous furballs you'll pass on the way up.
The Swayambhunath Temple is a complex containing both Buddhist and Hindu architecture along with a Tibetian monastery.
You can also check out the Pashupatinath Temple which is the most important Hindu temple outside of India.
Everest is one of the main attractions that draws travelers to Nepal and there are plenty of ways to experience this beautiful area of the Himalayas.
The most popular method to view Everest is to catch a scenic flight from Kathmandu's airport. Scenic flights often take place in an 18-seat plane where each person has their own window. These flights explore the entire range near Everest while pointing out each mountain to travelers.
It is also possible to drive a car to Tibet's North Everest Base Camp. Here you can take in the views of the incredible snowcapped peaks that soar around you.
For those who would like to trek in Nepal, make sure you are prepared for a difficult journey. The trek to Everest Base Camp takes around 2 weeks and is a difficult route. Over the two weeks, you can spend three to six hours hiking a day and can choose to either stay in a tent or in a tea house. There are also five Everest Summit Lodges that offer more comfortable accommodation along the way.
Chitwan National Park
Chitwan National Park is one of the biggest attractions in Nepal and draws travelers who come to catch a glimpse of some of the park's rare wildlife. This park covers more than 932 square kilometers of forests and marshlands and is also one of the best places in Asia to spot rare wildlife such as one-horned rhinos, deer, monkeys, over 500 species of birds, wild elephants, and the Gharial Crocodile.
Chitwan National Park also contains a population of around 120 Bengal tigers although they don't like the noisy tourist vehicles and are harder to spot.
The park offers many safari options and ways to explore the park including by car, boat, or on foot.
Craft Your India and Nepal Itinerary
There are plenty of incredible ways to experience both India and Nepal. At Asia Highlights, we pride ourselves on tailor-making private tours for our travelers.
If you are interested in traveling to India and Nepal, please take a look at the itinerary below and use it as inspiration when tailor-making your own incredible trip.
Day 1: Arrive in Delhi, India
Upon your arrival at Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi, you will be met by our representative and transferred by private car to your hotel. In Delhi, we've booked a beautiful colonial heritage hotel where you can spend your time unwinding at the spa or head out to start exploring this historic city.
Day 2: Explore Old Delhi with its Bustling Markets and Ancient Monuments
Today, your guide will meet you in the morning and take you to Old Delhi which was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, the same man who built the Taj Mahal. Here you can explore the spice and jewelry markets before heading to Jama Masjid, the largest Mosque in India which holds up to 25,000 worshipers during Friday prayers.
After exploring the Jama Masjid, head to the nearby Red Fort which is an impressive large sandstone structure.
In the afternoon, explore Qutub Minar, the location where Qutubbin Aibak announced the creation of the Muslim Sultans. Then wander through Humayun's Tomb, one of the inspirations for the Taj Mahal.
Day 3: Travel from Delhi to Agra
In the morning, explore New Delhi by visiting the gorgeous colonial buildings of Victory Square and the iconic India Gate.
In the afternoon, you will travel to Agra via private car. The journey will take about 4-5 hours. Upon arrival, take a few hours to relax and eat dinner in your resort hotel.
Day 4: Take in the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort
Wake up before sunrise to head to the world-famous Taj Mahal. Here you will watch as the white marble walls of this garden tomb change color from the blue hue of early morning to brilliant oranges and pinks as the glimmering walls reflect the sunrise.
Spend some time exploring the grounds and interior of this world wonder. The Taj Mahal took 20,000 workers 20 years to build and the inner walls are inlaid with thousands of precious stones including lapis lazuli, mother of pearl, and ruby.
In the afternoon, spend time at the impressive Agra Fort where the builder of the Taj Mahal was imprisoned during the last years of his life.
Day 5: Travel from Agra to Jaipur
Explore the tomb of Itmad-ud-Daulah, often called the Baby Taj due to its similarities in style and beauty to the world wonder.
After lunch, take a private car to the Pink City of Jaipur which will take around 5-6 hours. Upon arrival in Jaipur, relax in your heritage hotel that was once the home of the maharajas and wealthy spice traders.
Day 6: Explore the Forts and Palaces of Jaipur
Start your day at the Hawa Mahal or 'Palace of the Winds' with its ornate pink facade and rounded balconies. Here you can take photos of this iconic Jaipur structure and then head to the famous Amber Fort.
The Amber Fort sits like a crown on the crest of a hill and offers a panoramic view of the Maota Lake and town below. Inside the Amber Fort, you'll find many beautiful palaces including the famous Sheesh Mahal or Palace of Mirrors.
In the afternoon, continue to explore the gorgeous markets and monuments of the Pink City or head to the home of a Jaipuri local to take a cooking class and to learn how to make authentic Indian food.
Day 7: Fly to Kathmandu
Today, you will transfer to Delhi via private car to catch your short flight from Delhi Airport to Kathmandu in Nepal. As your plane descends, you will get incredible views of the towering Himalayas in the distance.
Spend your first afternoon in Nepal exploring the chaotic and narrow alleyways of Kathmandu as rickshaws and children run past medieval temples. Here you can explore the Thamel shopping district or get some peace and quiet at the Garden of Dreams.
Day 8: Morning flight around Everest
Wake in the early morning to take a private transfer to Kathmandu's Airport and board a small plane to Mount Everest. This 50-minute flight will take a small group of passengers around the tallest mountains in the Himalayan range where you will get breathtaking views of the towering peaks.
The air hostess will point out each mountain and also provide you with a map of the range. The plane is an 18-seater and every seat is a window seat.
In the afternoon continue exploring Kathmandu with a visit to Hanuman Dhoka, the royal palace, or Durbar Square with its many stupas and temples.
Day 9: Kathmandu Valley
Spend your last day in Kathmandu exploring the ancient structures and temples in the surrounding valley. Climb the 365 steps of Swayambhunath Temple or head to Nyatapola Temple, the tallest temple in Nepal and one of the few structures that survived the 2015 earthquake with only minor damage.
While in the valley, you can also explore the medieval city of Bhaktapur.
Day 10: Fly home
Today, you will take a private transfer to the Kathmandu airport where you will catch your flight home.
Tailor-Make Your Trip
By tailor-making your private tour, you will be able to choose the activities that suit you best and explore each country more deeply with unique cultural experiences. Traveling via private car with a knowledgeable guide is the best way to learn about the local culture and people of the country you are visiting.
In India, your tailor-made tour will give you options for which activities you prefer to do whether that is participating in a cooking class in Jaipur, spending time in an elephant sanctuary, or taking a detour to search for wild tigers in Ranthambhore National Park.
Once you reach Nepal, there are plenty of options for travelers to tailor their journey. Outdoor lovers can spend some time trekking through the country with an experienced trekking guide.
You can choose the difficulty level of your trek whether you would like to hike to the base camp of Everest or Annapurna or spend some time hiking in the valleys. The difficulty and duration of the hike are entirely up to you!
Explore India and Nepal with Asia Highlights
Want to experience the classic wonders and rich culture of India and then the stunning peaks and wildlife of Nepal? At Asia Highlights, we can help you plan your dream trip that is tailor-made to suit your travel wants and goals. Leave the planning and stress to us so that you can just relax and enjoy your journey.