Nepal Transportation - Air, Train, Bus, Taxi, Rickshaw

Nepal, home to the mighty Mount Everest, is one of the most frequently visited Asian country in the world by the mountaineering enthusiasts. The dynamic landscape of Nepal consists of golden monasteries, century-old temples, and a gorgeous view of the Himalayas, quintessential villages, and exotic jungles. Traveling in Nepal is a fascinating experience, something that includes the right mix of exploration and adventure.

Traveling around the country could be a bit challenging. Due to mountainous terrain, fluctuating weather, rickety vehicles, usually a handful of trips go according to the charts. Added to the mix is a broken road, thanks to the 2015 earthquake, which has only exaggerated the difficulties. The ingenuity of the locals usually gets the passengers to their destination in the end, but the entire leg of the journey would take more than anticipated time. Usually, experienced travelers avoid visiting the country during important festivals.

Pros and Cons of Nepal Transportation

The Nepali terrains are mountainous, and therefore traveling around them could be a bit difficult for an average traveler. However, Nepali locals are very friendly and try their best to help the visitors in reaching their destination.

Due to the uneven territory, Nepal does not have an elaborate railway network. Also, the devastating 2015 earthquake has compromised the roads and highways of the country – making traveling difficult but not impossible.

With time, Nepal transportation has witnessed the introduction of modern e-rickshaws and app-based cab services. These cabs are slowly making the lives of the locals as well as travelers better.

Getting Around in Nepal

Nepal Transport Service, one of the largest Nepalese bus lines in the country. This public transport system, with its headquartered in Kathmandu, is helping the Nepali citizens to travel within the cities. Apart from intercity buses, the visitors can opt for the following Nepal transportation services:

Tribhuvan International Airport (KTM) is the only international airport of Nepal and connects the country to almost 40 cities throughout the world. Airlines operating through the airport: Nepal Airlines, Buddha Air, Himalaya Airlines, Saurya Airlines, Simrik Airlines, Yeti Airlines, Sita Air, Shree Airlines, Tara Air. Among them Nepal Airlines and Himalaya Airlines are the international carriers operational in the country.

Being a landlocked country in the Himalayan terrain, Nepal transportation system is mostly dominated by the roadways. Nepal’s railway network, maintained by Nepal Railways Corporation Ltd, mostly consists of two railway lines: Jainagar–Janakpur and Raxaul–Sirsiya. There are certain talks about extending the railway network and opening new rail routes within the country. However, with a mountainous terrain opening new railway routes would be difficult.

Tempo Services
The tempo is basically an outsized auto-rickshaw, which runs on predestined routes in larger cities of Nepal. The ancient diesel tempos of Kathmandu were recently replaced by more environment-friendly tempos and minibuses running on petrol.

Although there are certain pre-destined pickup and drop points along the routes, the drivers can pick up or drop off the passengers at anywhere along the way. Interestingly, passengers wishing to get down just tap on the roof of the bus and magically the bus stops. For western travelers, it could be an interesting experience.  

Cycle-Rickshaw or Auto-Rickshaw
Cycle-rickshaws, man driven rickshaws, are quite common in Nepali cities. Major metropolises like Kathmandu or Pattan, or small towns like Terai, are filled with these archetypical rickshaws. Being environment-friendly and conveniently available, these form of Nepal transportation is a good way in the narrow streets and the urban vibe of the country. Usually, two people can sit comfortably on these rickshaws.  

Another mode of city transportation is three-wheeled auto-rickshaws, a common fixture of the urban areas. Previously, these auto-rickshaws ran on diesel. However, due to its impact on the environment cities have slowly transitioned them to environment-friendly electric models.

P.S: For cycle-rickshaws, the fares are not always fixed, and are highly negotiable.

The Modern Age E-Rickshaw
The e-rickshaw or electronic rickshaw is probably the most recent introduction to the Nepal transportation in urban areas. Rickshaws in these areas can come a long way. Initially, rickshaws were paddle-powered, and later petrol engine-based three-wheelers were introduced for the convenience of the urban population.   

The recently introduced e-rickshaw running on the rechargeable battery is more environment-friendly and is a sustainable option. These rickshaws can run on the speed of up to 20km (12.4 miles) per hour.

Another mode of Nepal transportation in the urban areas is the metered taxis. Found in larger towns of Nepal, these cabs can be hired for long-distance or local trips. These taxis have black license plates, while the private cars which operate as cabs for intercity routes have either green or red plates.

Passengers can flag down these taxis anywhere. Usually, the drivers could be found scouting for travelers at popular tourist destinations like Bhaktapur, Kathmandu or Patan. Unfortunately, most taxi drivers decline using the meter (in an attempt to overcharge tourists). Ideally, haggling with the taxi driver to set down a suitable fare is always advisable.

App-Based Cab
Recently, several app-based taxi and ride-sharing services have come up in Nepal. Most of these operators exist in Kathmandu are planning on introducing this Nepal transportation service in other cities of the country. These services rely on an active internet connection for cab bookings, have pre-fixed rates, and are a convenient mode of transport within the city. The taxi fare usually ranges from N₨ 250 to 500 for the trip, but the taxi fares are also subjected to change.

Traveling in Nepal is an adventure, giving the vacationers a chance to get lost in the unknown terrains. Home to stunning trekking routes, gorgeous temples and monasteries, and charming Himalayan villages – Nepal is a traveler’s paradise. 

Further Reading:

5 Things about Safety in Nepal

Helicoper Tour in Nepal

Nepal to India Train Journey

Travel Tips

Main Religion in Nepal

Nepal trip from India

How to Get to Nepal