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Transportation in Nepal

Tourism Academics

Nepal is a landlocked country, with India and China forming land borders with the country. Nepal's transport system consists of the modes of travel in the country. Since the country is mostly mountainous and has a rough and rugged terrain, the transport system in Nepal is an interesting phenomenon. Due to the landscape of the country, roadways and airways are the only modes of transport in the country. Railways have not been able to develop a lot because of the mountainous land surface. Nepal's transport system is mainly concentrated on its roads. Roads in the country are mainly concentrated in the Terai region of the country. This is the only region, where there is some flat land. A large road network is being built by the Nepal transport authority to increase and improve the conditions of roads in Nepal. There are about 15 national highways in the country, apart from the many small feeder roads. There are also many village and agricultural roads. The total length of roads in Nepal stretches to about 28,000 kilometres. The International Airport at Kathmandu is the sole international airport in Nepal, while there are 49 domestic airports in the country. The domestic airports enhance the growth and development of the economy of Nepal. The international airport in Kathmandu connects the country to other international destinations. The transport and communication system in Nepal is constantly being updated and upgraded with time. The facilities are being improved and infrastructure is being developed to make Nepal an advanced country.

By Air

The national flag carrier is the Royal Nepal Airlines. Capital Kathmandu is linked by air services to cities such as New Delhi, Hong Kong, Karachi, Dubai, Bangkok, Lhasa, Paro, Dhaka, Singapore. Major international airlines that operate scheduled air services to Nepal are mentioned below.

Nepal Airlines (National Flag Carrier)

New Delhi, Bangkok, Singapore, Hong Kong and Osaka via Shanghai

Biman Bangladesh airlines


China Southwest Airlines

Paro, New Delhi


Abu Dhabi, London

Indian Airlines

New Delhi

Pakistan Int'l Airlines


Qatar Airlines

Doha, London

Singapore Airlines



Thai Airways


By Road 

There are several entry points by road route. Among road transportation entry points, Birganj, Belahia and Kakarvita are entry points at the Indo-Nepal border, while the Kodari entry point is at the Tibet (China)-Nepal border. Birganj is the most common place for entry of tourists travelling overland.

Entry Point


Kakarvita, Jhapa

Eastern Nepal

Birganj, Parsa

Central Nepal


Central Nepal at the Northern Border with the Autonomous Region of Tibet, China

Belahia, Bhairahwa

Rupandehi, Western Nepal

Jamunaha, Nepalganj

Banke, Mid-western Nepal

Mohana, Dhangadhi

Kailali, Far Western Nepal

Gadda Chauki, Mahendranagar

Kanchanpur, Far Western Nepal

Purang, Muchu

Simikot, Far-Western Nepal at the Tibet, China-Nepal Border

Planes are the best way to reach remote parts of the mountainous country. Nepal Airlines operates air services in the interior parts of the country. Besides it, airlines like Buddha Air, Yeti Airlines, Guna Air, and Tara Air also provide air services, both regular and charter, to various destinations in Nepal. The most widely known tourist flight is Everest Experience which takes one above the marvellous snow-capped mountains. One can even have a look at Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world, from the sky. The Everest Experience is definitely an experience one never forgets

Helicopter charters are becoming increasingly popular in Nepal, especially in the tourism sector for sightseeing. A helicopter journey is very useful for tourists who desire to drink the tourism cup in Nepal but don't have much time to spare. The helicopter journey is very thrilling and rewarding. The experience of looking at snow-capped peaks from the sky is unforgettable. Lots of domestic companies like Fishtail Air, Air Dynasty, Manang Air, Simrik Air etc. provide helicopter services.

Buses are the cheapest means of transport in Nepal. They apply for both long and short journeys. While on bus journeys one gets a chance to freely interact with the locals and taste indigenous dishes on the way. Tourists who have sufficient time must definitely try local buses. Tourist buses are also run by private bus companies and travel agencies.

Cars & Motorbikes

Cars and motorbikes can be rented in Kathmandu, Pokhara and other prominent towns. For driving a bike, you are required to have a driving license and passport from your home country. Riding a bike in old parts of Kathmandu is a relishable driving experience. Cars and vans usually come with drivers, but you can drive them yourself too. Car hire can make your tour very comfortable and faster.

Rickshaws (two-seater tricycles) are very useful for short trips. They can ply easily even in narrow lanes and crowded markets. One is advised to negotiate the fares beforehand. Many tourists find rickshaw trips very enjoyable.

Three-wheeler Auto rickshaws

Auto rickshaws are used to travel to various corners of the towns, although finding them after sunset is a bit difficult. Numerous taxi companies operate in Nepal. All these auto rickshaws, cabs and tempos carry black plates with white numbers, for it has been mandatory by the authorities.

Transport Sector Key Statistics



As of 2007

Length of Roads



Main Roads



Paved Roads



Access to All-Season-Roads (within 30 mins walk)



Road Density - LAND

km/1,000 sq. km.


Rail Track Length



Total No. of Ports









Dry Port



Kathmandu is connected with India through roads which pass through very picturesque highways. Tourists are allowed to drive their own cars. However, their vehicle must have an international carnet. Buses run regularly from border entry points to Kathmandu. Interior parts of the country are also linked by buses from Kathmandu.

Nepal has railway connections with its neighbouring country, India. Two short stretches of the railway are Raxaul (India) to Amlekhganj (Nepal) as well as Raxaul (India) to Janakpur (Nepal). Capital Kathmandu has no railway connectivity. However, buses are available for Kathmandu from Janakpur and Amlekhganj.

Nepal can be entered by air and road. Air transport in Nepal is easier and more comfortable than road journeys since Nepal is a mountainous country. Most tourists in Nepal enter through the Tribhuvan International Airport which is 5 miles or 8 kilometres from the heart of Kathmandu.

Local Transportation in Nepal

Local transportation is not a problem in Nepal. Different modes of transportation are available according to your budget and preference. Try and stick to the modes that are normally preferred by the visitors such as cabs and auto-rickshaws. Following are the different modes of local transportation in Nepal: -

Local Bus

These are arguably the cheapest modes of transportation in Nepal but are too crowded for comfort. It is very likely that you will have to share your seats with poultries at times. Also, on occasions, be prepared to wait, as some buses will not move until full to a certain quota.

Tourist Bus

These are relatively comfortable but are only operational on wide inter-city roads. This is always full of tourists therefore book a few days ahead with any travel agent (or your hotel will book it for you).

Another choice is to rent a motorcycle. And it can be rented in the Thamel area at a low cost. Most of the bikes in the stable are Royal Enfield Bullets or Yamaha RD 350. These are good

Hire Mountain Bike/ Ordinary Bicycle

Mountain bikes and ordinary bicycles are cheap and the best form of transportation for economy tourists. One can hire them at Thamel, Rani Pokhari and Jhochhen.

Long Distance Bus Service

Long-distance day or night bus services are available from Kathmandu to all cities of Nepal. A new bus park has been constructed at Gongabu on the Ring Road near Balaju from where buses depart for different destinations.

Domestic Air Service

Nepal Airlines (RA) has an extensive network of air services in the interior of Nepal. It has scheduled connection flights from Kathmandu to Taplejung, Bhadrapur, Rajbiraj, Bhojpur, Phaplu, Lukla, Lamidanda, Tunmlingtar, Rumjatar, Biratnagar, Simara, Janakpur, Ramechhap, Bharatpur, Meghuli, Pokhara, Jomsom, Manang, Baglung, Bhairahawa, Nepalgunj Chaurjhahari, Surkhet, Dang, Dolpa, Jumla, Bajura, Baitadi, Dipayal, Darchula, Mahendranagar, Dhangadi, Tikapur and Sanfebagar. Besides RA, other private domestic airlines also provide regular and charter services to popular domestic destinations.

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