Getting to Nepal
Travelling by air
Nepal's only international airport is Kathmandu's Tribhuvan Airport. If you want to see the mountains as you fly into Kathmandu, make sure you sit on the right-hand side of the plane. You can fly directly to Kathmandu from London, Paris, Frankfurt, Vienna, Amsterdam, Doha, Dubai, Dhaka, Karachi, Munich, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Paro, Lhasa, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bangalore, New Delhi, Mumbai, Patna, Calcutta and Varanasi. Charter flights can also be arranged for large movements. All flights feature business class and amenities of international standards. Many a time, the Captain offers a guided sightseeing of the Himalaya for no extra charge!
Nepal Airlines, Thai Airways, Qatar Airways, Indian Airlines, Pakistan International Airlines, Biman Bangladesh, Gulf Air, Indian Airlines, Air Sahara , Jet Airways, Austrian Air, Martinair, Air China, Druk Air fly to Nepal regularly. Air fares fluctuate with the changes in exchange rates and are to be paid in foreign currency by foreign nationals. Only Nepalese and Indian nationals are permitted to pay in rupees for air passage between Nepal and India. Departure flight tickets should be reconfirmed three days in advance to avoid inconveniences by possible flight cancellation or changes in the flight schedule. Overweight luggage charges are levied in foreign exchange.
Customs: All baggage must be declared and cleared through the customs on arrival at the port of entry. Passengers arriving at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) without any dutiable goods can proceed through the Green Channel for quick clearance without a baggage check. If you are carrying dutiable articles, you have to pass through the Red Channel for detailed customs clearance.
Import: Apart from used personal belongings, visitors are allowed to bring to Nepal free of duty cigarette (200) or cigars (50), distilled liquor (one 1.15 liter bottle), and film (15 rolls). You can also bring in the following articles free of duty on condition that you take them out with you when you leave: binoculars, movie or video camera, still camera, laptop computer, and portable music system.
Export: It is illegal to export objects over 100 years old (sacred images, paintings, manuscripts) that are valued for culture and religious reasons. Visitors are advised not to purchase such items as they are Nepal's cultural heritage and belong here. The Department of Archaeology (tel: 4213701, 4213702) at Ramshah Path near Singha Durbar has to certify all metal statues, sacred paintings and similar objects before they are allowed to be sent or carried out of the country. Handicraft dealers and travel agents are able to assist you in this process. For more information on customs matters, contact the Chief Customs Administrator, TIA Customs Office; tel: 4470110, 4472266.
The departure tax for international flights is US$15, or US$10 to destinations on the Indian subcontinent.
Travelling by road
The classic overland routes between Nepal and India are still popular. Buses are usually the quickest and easiest form of transport between Nepal and India. There are three main crossing points: Sunauli-Bhairawa, Birganj-Raxaul Bazaar and Kakarbhitta-Siliguri. The Sunauli border crossing is the best one from Varanasi, the Birganj crossing is the easiest from Kolkata, and Kakarbhitta is the obvious choice from Darjeeling. A trickle of travelers enter Nepal at the Mahendrenagar-Banbassa border crossing in the extreme west of Nepal, which is handy for travelers coming overland from Delhi who do not want to visit Varanasi. The crossing between Nepal and Tibet via Kodari is open to organised groups but not to individual travelers heading north. Be prepared with alternative plans if you're thinking about using this route, because landslides regularly make it impassable during the monsoon.
All visitors entering Nepal by land must use no other entry points other than:
- Belhiya, Bhairahawa
- Mahendra Nagar