Nepal — Transportation
Nepal Taxis and Car Rental
Renting a car to drive yourself through the mountains is almost unheard of in Nepal, but getting a car with a driver is very cheap after you’ve enjoyed a bit of haggling. Travel agencies can also provide you with a car and driver at great rates, but be sure to get a quote from several companies before settling on one.
Visitors are discouraged from driving themselves as even if you’re experienced, the poor driving skills of Nepalese locals, ignorance of traffic rules, mountainous road conditions, and constantly-changing weather make for a dangerous combination. If you’re not risk-averse, Kathmandu has a selection of rental companies, although getting a car here is comparatively expensive.
From Kathmandu’s airport to town, the best taxi service is a government-sponsored set-up which requires pre-payment and charges fixed rates to most city districts. Don’t expect luxury vehicles, but an added bonus is that you get to avoid the crowds at taxi stands. Meters are uncommon, with drivers charging what they think you can pay, and haggling expected.
For travel around Nepal’s cities, taxis are a cheap option and easier than negotiating your way around the even cheaper bus routes. Hiring a cab for a full day of sightseeing in and around Kathmandu is a value-for-money decision, but trying to do the same thing through a hotel concierge will likely double the price.
Nepal Trains and Buses
Although Nepal boasts one train line, it’s of no use to tourists. Buses are the premier means of public transportation and are incredibly cheap and incredibly uncomfortable. They run everywhere there’s a road and stop for anyone, anywhere. For long-distance travel, booking several days in advance is advisable.
Saijha Yatayat, the government bus service uses all the main routes between cities and towns with the exception of the far west and far east of Nepal. The downside is the condition of the buses and the lack of fixed schedules. Comfortable, but pricy tourist buses run between the capital and Pokhara, Sunauli and Nagarkot, and are likely your best bet.
Dozens of private bus companies use everything from minibuses to ancient wrecks held together by wire and optimism for longer distances or overnight trips. Local Nepalese buses carry people with their animals and goods, and stop more often than they go. These are best avoided unless you’re happy with a very cultural experience.