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How to Get a Visa and Travel to Nepal
According to Nepal government statistics, just over 800,000 foreigners traveled to Nepal in 2011. Though the exact figure is not available, every year thousands of foreigners travel to Nepal to work and live. Living cost in Nepal is very cheap. You can get a hotel room in Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, for as little as US$15 per night, breakfast costs US$3, and you can get lunch or dinner for as little as US$5. However, this does not mean you don’t get quality service. International hotel chains like De La, Le Meridian, and Hyatt operate hotels in Nepal.
Nepal government offers different types of visa.
Diplomatic Visa is offered to the employees of foreign embassies.
Tourist Visa is granted to any foreigners who wish to visit the country.
Non-tourist Visa is granted to the foreigners who wish to work in the social and economic developments projects, those who are representatives of international media, or foreigners who work in the international agencies.
Business Visa is offered to the foreigners who intend to do business in Nepal, and those who have obtained license to make investment in Nepal.
Residential Visa is granted to the foreigners who intend to stay in Nepal, persons with international reputation, or person who has invested minimum of one thousand dollars.
Non-residential Nepali Visa is granted to any foreigners with Nepalese origin.
Study Visa is granted to the foreigners who have obtained approval from Nepal government to study in Nepal.
Transit Visa is offered to the foreigners who are willing to use Nepal's airport to visit another country.
How to get visa to Nepal
It is easy to get into Nepal. You can obtain visa upon arrival at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, or Nepal-China and Nepal-India land border crossings. Make sure you have photos and US dollars to pay for visa fee. Your passport must have at least six months of validity and a free page for the stamp. Nepal government grants different types of visa. You can download visa application form from Nepalese embassy in Washington DC (www.nepalembassyusa.org) or London (www.nepalembassy.org.uk)
Visa fees for the tourist visa
If you are from the SAARC countries (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Maldives, and Bhutan), and China you do not have to pay visa fees. Children below the age of 10 need a visa to travel to Nepal, but the entry is free.
US$ 25 for 15 days stay
US$40 for 30 days stay
US$100 for 90 days stay
You can change your single-entry visa to multiple-entry visa (if you are considering to visit Nepal’s neighbors) by paying additional US$20.
Note:charges vary for other types of visas.
When your visa expires, you can extend visa for fifteen days from immigration offices in Kathmandu and Pokhara at the cost of US$30 (payable in local currency), and plus US$2 for every day you stay in Nepal.
If you are planning to stay in Nepal for a long time, it is advisable to get 90-day visa. Nepal government does not allow foreigners to stay for more than 150 days on a tourist visa in a single calendar year. For the initial 120 days, you can simply extend visa by paying the extension fees, but to stay more than 120 days, you are required to show the return air ticket.
To extend your visa you need your passport, visa fee, one photo and application form. You can apply for visa extension in the immigration offices, Sundays through Friday (Sunday is working day in Nepal) 10 am to 4:30 pm. If you apply before 2 pm, you can get the extension on the same day.
Immigration offices are located at Exhibition Road in Kathmandu, and Ratna Chowk in Pokhara. There is no provision to apply online for visa extensions.
According to 1950 Nepal-India Friendship Treaty, Indians do not need a visa to travel to Nepal, and Nepalis do not need visa to get into India.
You can also directly apply for visa in Nepalese embassy in your country. If there is no Nepalese embassy in your country, you can visit the embassies in other countries.
For visa details log on to www.immi.gov.np
How to travel to Nepal via air
Traveling to Nepal could be relatively expensive because Nepal is not on the major transit routes. There are no direct long distance flights from Europe, Americas or the Australasia. You have to stop in East Asia or Middle East.
From Asian countries
The most popular route to Nepal is from Thailand. Thai Airways and Nepal Airlines, Nepal’s flagship carrier, operates daily flights from Bangkok to Kathmandu. Other convenient flights to Nepal are from Honk Kong, Kuala Lumpur (Indonesia), Singapore, Seoul (South Korea), Guangzhou (China), New Delhi/Mumbai (India), Dhaka (Bangladesh), Islamabad (Pakistan), Qatar and Dubai.
Flying to Nepal from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh can cost as little as UD$120, whereas air tickets to Nepal from East Asian countries cost approximately US$500.
From Australia and New Zealand
You can fly to Nepal from Australia and New Zealand through Hong Kong, Bangkok, Singapore, Seoul, and New Delhi. Air tickets from Australasia costs around US$1000.
From Canada and USA
Nepal is just on the opposite side of the globe from North America. You can either choose eastern or western route. However, taking the western route is relatively cheap. If you want to travel to Nepal from Canada, make East Asia as your transit point. Flying from Vancouver to Kathmandu via Europe and Middle East is relatively expensive compared to East Asia transit. When you are flying from the United States, you can make a change in New Delhi, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Singapore or Seoul. Jet Airways can take you from New York with stops in Brussels and New Delhi. Air tickets to Nepal from North America cost around US$1200.
Etihad, Gulf and Qutar Airlines operate easy flights from the UK to Kathmandu with a change in the Middle East. However, the most convenient flight from London to Kathmandu is via Jet Airways with a stop in New Delhi. Etihad, Gulf and Qatar and Jet Airlines operate convenient flights from Paris, Frankfurt and other cities with a stoppage in Middle East and New Delhi. Air ticket costs approximately US$1000.
How to travel to Nepal via land
You can get into Nepal from India through five border crossing. And there is only one land route to Nepal from Tibet. Nepal government allows foreigners to bring their own vehicles but they are required to show international driving permits to the officials.
If you look at the map of Nepal, you can see the country is brick shaped. India is on the three sides and Tibet is on the northern side.
Following are the border crossings between India and Nepal. The amount you pay to reach Kathmandu from these border crossings range from US$8 to US$25.
Sunauli is the most popular border crossing between Nepal and India. Lots of foreigners who get into Nepal through land choose this crossing point. If you are in New Delhi, you have to travel 22 hours in a train to Gorakhpur, from Gorakhpur Sunauli is three hours drive. Sunauli is close to Lumbini, the birthplace of the Buddha. From Sunauli you can either go to Bhairawha, which is one hour drive, and then take 35 minutes flight to Kathmandu; or board a bus that will take you to Kathmandu in 8 hours.
Kakarbhitta is the eastern border crossing which connects Nepal to Indian cities like Darjeeling, Kolkata and Sikkim. Karkabhitta to Kathmandu is 17 hours bus drive. But it is advisable to make stoppage at Narayanghat and then go to Chiwtan National Park.
Mahendranagar, the far western town in Nepal, is the most convenient border crossing if you are in New Delhi and want to travel to Nepal. There are regular buses from New Delhi to Mahendranagar. Mahendranagar to Kathmandu is 15 hours in a bus. If you want something exciting, you can stop at Bardiya National Park on the way to Kathmandu.
Nepaljung is another border crossing. The nearest Indian town from Nepaljung is Lucknow. From Nepaljung regular day or night buses are operated. If you want to fly to Kathmandu, it will take you 45 minutes.
Raxaul-Birjung border crossing is an easy route if you are entering Nepal from Kolkata or Patna. Patna to Raxual is eight hours bus drive, from Kolkata it is 16 hours. You can board a day or night bus service in Birjung and reach to Kathmandu in eight hours.
Getting into Nepal from Tibet can really be challenging because of high altitude and volatile political situations in Tibet. From Lasha in Tibet to the Tatopani border crossing in Nepal is a difficult journey and the highway is often closed during rainy season (May-August). On the way to Kathmandu from Tatopani, you can stop at Bhote Koshi River for lifetime experience of bungee jump over the Bhote Koshi gorge.
Traveling inside Nepal
Nepal is a mountainous country. Though the cities in the hills and plains are well connected with roads, settlements in the mountains are isolated. However, Nepal has intricate network of air routes. You can not only fly over Mount Everest, but also land on Tenzing-Hillary Airport, which is one of the world’s most dangerous airports.
Aviation in Nepal is heavily depended on weather conditions, sometimes foreigners are stranded for weeks in the mountains. So, you should be careful while flying in rainy season and during the winter.
You can also hire motorbikes or cars, but remember to drive on the left hand side of the road.
There are no Trains inside Nepal.