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Nepal Travel By Bus

Nepal Travel By Bus
Public, Tourist & Private

Travel through Nepal is quite an experience especially for those traveling longer distances like on the East-West Highway from Kathmandu to Pokhara. The road is long and winds through the mountainous landscape and has some steep gradients. The roads in Nepal do not always have the highest quality having sections with deep potholes and the occasional narrowness caused by seasonal landslides. For those traveling along Nepal’s highways for the first time (or traveling in Nepal for the first time) and are not used to the driving norms might have some anxiety. The large buses, trucks, motorbikes and other vehicles zip along the windy roads and will even pass each other faster than you can process their plan to do so. However nerve racking the first time experience may be, this is still a popular choice for transportation method in Nepal.

Booking a bus from Kathmandu to Pokhara (or any of the other main travel destinations in Nepal like Chitwan, Lumbini, etc.) can be an easy task or a difficult task. First, for those wanting to have travel by bus an option while staying in Nepal they should know the types of bus services available. There are two main forms of bus travel in Nepal – the first being public transportation and the second being tourist buses with a third option of a privately hired bus.

Public bus in Nepal is a common mode of transportation for most locals and although people that travel to Nepal use it, it is not usually the preferred method of transport for visiting tourists for many reasons. Most travel agents will not recommend public transportation for travelers on a time schedule because it is an extremely slow experience it can take up to 10 hours to cover the 200 kilometer distance between Kathmandu and Pokhara. The buses stop frequently to pick up and drop off passengers wherever they see them along the road not necessarily at a bus stop. They are crowded and are known to be uncomfortable and since the roads are long and windy many passengers get sick and relieve themselves out the windows adding on the unpleasantness.

Tourist buses in Nepal are usually kept much cleaner than public buses and are made to be more comfortable for sitting for a long time which well makes up for the slightly higher price compared to the public bus. It is important to book a ticket for a tourist bus at least a few days before you plan to travel to guarantee a seat, but during the time of year with heavy traveler flow the more time in advance you book a seat the better a chance you have in keeping your travel plans on track. If you are prone to motion sickness then it is a good idea to take some medicine for this about 2 hours before starting the journey which can be bought at one of the many local medical shops. These buses run regularly (and are usually limited to) between Kathmandu & Pokhara, Pokhara & Chitwan, Pokhara & Lumbini and to the town of Bhairahawa approximately 7 kilometers from the Indian border.

Private buses
act just like a private vehicle and can be hired to go almost anywhere there is a road in Nepal whereas the tourist buses are only approved to run for the few routes.

Tourist bus fares are usually a fixed price wherever you go with no room to bargain a price which keeps it fair for all who travel to Nepal. To travel by bus in Nepal there is information available at all travel agencies as well as a few ads around the streets. It is safer to buy tickets from an agency versus someone advertising to get you a deal. It is possible to travel by night bus leaving at dusk and arriving by dawn, however the roads are much safer visibility-wise during the day.

In Kathmandu and Pokhara there is a bus park where almost all of the public (and tourist) buses launch their journey for the day. It is recommended to arrive early in order to give yourself ample time to find the correct bus and to get situated with your bags. It is also recommended to travel with your bag in sight especially on a public bus. If on a public bus and your bag makes it to the roof, you might want to sit with it in order to deter any would-be theft.

The benefits of taking a bus versus a flight to any of these destinations (besides the price) is you get the chance to see the a different part of Nepal that you would be missing had you flown. Along the routes you can see interesting geography, the beautiful scenery of the countryside and it also gives you a chance to meet other travelers. Whichever bus route you take during your travels in Nepal will undoubtedly be an interesting and fun experience.

To view pre-designed Nepal travel packages, see our programs page orĀ the encyclopedia for more Nepal Travel items.