Nepal is a landlocked country, with India and China forming land borders with the country. Nepal’s transportation system consists of the modes of travel in the country. Since the country is mostly mountainous and has a rough and rugged terrain, 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 up 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 agriculture roads. The total length of roads in Nepal stretches to about 28,000 kilometers. The International Airport at Kathmandu is the sole international airport in Nepal, while there are 42 domestic airports in the country. The domestic airports enhance the growth and development of the economy of Nepal. The international airport at 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.
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: -
These are arguably the cheapest mode 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.
These are relatively comfortable but are only operational on wide inter cities 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). A welcome break from local buses but it is much safer. The only saving grace is the fact that everybody gets a seat to sit.
These are good for short jaunts if you don't have much luggage and don't mind a bit of cramp space. Bargain before you get in, and don't be afraid to walk away and try another.
These come in two types. One is a three-wheeled electric or propane-powered microbus for 10-13 passengers. They run in different routes around the city. The other type is a newer Toyota van running the same routes at a higher price and a bit faster and safer. It is more comfortable and is slowly taking the place of former.
There are two types of taxis in Nepal. The first one is called "private", which can be hired anywhere both on route and day basis, the other one is interestingly called "10 Rupee", which don't leave for destination until they are full.
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 machines and are the best for long hill rides
An Airport Tourist Bus now shuttles passengers between Tribhuvan International Airport and downtown Kathmandu. Metered taxis are also easily available. One may also avail of the prepaid taxis upon arrival.
There are many buses and minibuses available at Ratnapark (Old Bus Park) which depart to different destinations in the valley. There is also a Trolley Bus Service which starts at Tripureswor (near the Dashrath Stadium) and runs along the Arniko Highway and ends at Surya Vinayak (Bhaktapur). Bus services operate from early morning (5 or 6 am) till 8 or 9 p.m.
Consult Kathmandu Valley map to find out the direction of your destination. Hail a taxi, which is easily recognizable by its taxi sign on top and black license plate. As a rough guide, a trip inside the city will cost anywhere between Rs 20/- to 200/- (depending on the distance). No tip is expected. A metered taxi from the airport to downtown will cost about Rs 150 to Rs 200. Private taxis may charge slightly higher than the ordinary taxis. There is also an arrangement of Night Taxi service operated by the major hotels. the fare is slightly higher than the metered taxi. One can rent a private car through a travel agent or a car rental company.
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 the different destinations.
Domestic Air Service
Royal 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 domestic airlines such as Buddha Air, Cosmic Air, Lumini Airways, Gorkha Airlines, Karnali Air Services, and yeti Airways provide regular and charter services to popular domestic destinations.