Getting Into Nepal

Autumn from late September to mid-November and spring from late February to late March are high seasons for tourist flow to Nepal’s only international airport in Kathmandu. While some other travelers may enter Nepal by land after visiting the neighboring countries of Bhutan, Tibet or India.

  1. By Air
    There are twelve major international airlines that connect with Kathmandu, the capital city. Royal Nepal Airlines (RA) is the national flag carrier with flight connections to India (Delhi, Mumbai & Bangalore), Hong Kong, Thailand (Bangkok), Japan (Tokyo), Qatar (Doha), China (Guangzhou), Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur), and U.A.E (Dubai) as of March 2020. The biggest international airlines flying to Kathmandu are the Emirates (Abu Dhabi), Qatar Airways (Doha), and Turkish Airlines (Istanbul).

    Other international airlines connecting Kathmandu to other parts of the world are Biman Bangladesh Airlines (Dhaka), Sichuan Airlines & Air China (Lhasa), Druk Air (Paro, Bhutan), Indian Airlines (Delhi, Kolkata & Varanasi), Malaysia Airlines, Etihad Airways (Dubai & Abu Dhabi), Korean Air (Seoul), Air India, Oman Air (Muscat), and Thai Airways (Bangkok).

    There are no direct flights to Kathmandu from the US and Canada. So, the options will be either flying into hubs of Europe or the Middle-East on Thai Airways, Cathay Pacific or Singapore Airlines and then proceeding on a connecting flight to Kathmandu. One can expect to spend anywhere from 20 to 26 hours for the entire flight journey. There aren’t any direct flights from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa either.

    The options of getting into Nepal from these countries will be traveling with Thai Airways or Singapore Airlines to Bangkok or Singapore and getting connected to Kathmandu. As airfares to Kathmandu and Delhi are more or less similar from Australia and New Zealand, one may fly to Delhi first and get connected there, or else may travel overland from there (which is quite hectic). From South Africa, there are regular flights of Thai Airways and Singapore Airlines to Bangkok and Singapore respectively, from where travelers will be connected to a flight to Kathmandu.

  2. By Land
    Nepal shares borders with India on the eastern, southern and western sides, while China’s Tibetan Autonomous Region lies on the northern border. So, if you’re thinking to enter Nepal via road, you can either enter through India or from Tibet (China). The most common border crossings for tourists entering from India are: Kakarvitta, Raxaul-Birgunj, Sunauli-Belahiya, Bhairhawa, Nepalgunj, Dhangadi, and Mahendra Nagar. Other crossings near Janakpur, Biratnagar and Ilam rarely admit foreigners.

    The Kodari Pass between Zhangmu and Kodari on the Friendship Highway is the entry point to Nepal from China. The border crossing between Gyirong and Rasuwa Gadhi also has recently been accessible to international travelers entering from China. Tourists entering Nepal by land must also carry their passports.

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