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Old 5th February 2010, 23:35   #1
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Default A basic guide to traveling into and in Nepal

Hi brothers and ladies,

After my recent trip to Nepal I have thought it would be a good idea to share my experiences in Nepal so that fellow travellers to this magic land may benefit. This is not a travelogue. That is here : [COLOR=#800080]http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travelogues/74614-trip-bhutan-led-nepal-guns-buddha-bhp.html[/COLOR] (A trip to Bhutan that led to Nepal - Guns, Buddha and BHP)

My trip into Nepal started at the Sonali Border in UP. This is one of the most favoured entry point by road traffic due to its proximity to larger Nepali cities. We drove from there to Butwal (24 kms from Sonali) onwards to Kathmandu (240 kms from Butwal) and back to Butwal. From there along the border on the Nepali side to exit at Mahendra nagar.

Entry at Sonali:

The border is open 24 hours i hear but better to attempt any entry in day time as once you enter Nepal you enter India about 15 years back.

1: On the right hand side 50 feet from the border you will see "Indian Immigration". Nothing to do here for Indians, foreigners need to register here.

2: 15 feet from the Immigration on the left hand side of the road is the Customs office. Declare all electronics other than mobiles here. Take a customs release form. They will ask for a bribe. Not required. They cant do anything to screw you over if you dont bribe.

3: Drive into Nepal and 50 feet inside on the left side you will see a 2 room building, a bank in one room and a "bhansali" in the other. The Bhansali is nepal's idea of the RTO. OUtside the room there will be a booth where you will be given a Gate Pass. Take that and enter the room and walk into the next room to give the gate pass and get a permit made out for as many days as you need. Cars are charged 400 NR (Nepali Rupees) a day. Take the permit for at least 1 day additional as if you want to stay longer (you will want to) then the only other place to extend this is in the airport in Kathmandu and if you dont you will be fined heavily. You will need to have at least 2 photocopies of your License and RC ready here. After the permit is made go to the adjoining room and pay the money and entry in two other windows. You will leave with 3 documents from here. A pink reciept for the money, A white day permit, and a gatepass. Keep them safe , will be check regularly.

4: Leave the car parked where it is and walk back about 15 feet to the traffic checkpost on the left of the road where you will need to make an entry and recieve a Temporary License Plate in Nepali. There is no ifficial charge for this but the cops will ask for 300 NR . Negotiate. You will receive a Green Number Plate and a white card, Indian Tourist Vehicles Checking Card. Keep them carefully. Will be checked very often

5: Once you are done here you are free to enter Nepal. Proceed to Butwal, about 24 kms from Sonali. As you enter the town you will reach a roundabout. Go straight. You will see a bus station on the left, Bang opposite it on the right hand side is a broken down sarkari building for the route permit. Enter the compound and go to room number 5 for a route permit. Get a route permit for all places you will go as well as th eplaces you may exit from. This is VERY important and can prove costly if you miss this. Add as many places as possible there is no additional charge for number of places. Once you are done you are set to go. Remember this office is only open from 9 am to 4 pm and Nepal is 15 mins ahead. Shuts on Sat Sun. Plan ahead.

You are all set for driving in Nepal !

Driving in Nepal:

1: The roads and rules are similar to India.

2: They drive MUCH better than us. They are more considerate esp wrt high/low beams. Please respect and follow the pattern.

3: On highways, we are used to truckers blinking the right indicator telling you to overtake. Well in Nepal it meas that the trucker can see traffic coming in the opposite direction ! so beware.

4: Fuel bunks are small and dinghy and fuel quality is suspect but you have no choice, ATMs are few and unreliable so stock up on cash.

5: The roads are only undivided two lane and just moderate in condition. The main highway is H1 from that leads to Kathmandu.

6: Keep all papers with you and the Green Number Plate prominent on the wind screen.

7: Keep small change (10's and 5's in NR) for bribes. You will be stopped at every checkpost (there are many) and will be asked to make an entry in the register. That is there way of collecting a 'fee'. Negotiate. Dont be afraid of the guns, they wont use them on you.

8: Stock up on fruits, tho there are many dhabas they are restricted to full thalis only.

9: Meat is meat in Nepal so you may get Pork or Beef or Mutton depending onwhat the cook decides not you. Chicken is expensive but the safest option.

10: People will help with directions. Just ask

11: They have a unique system of checkin gyour speed on the ghats. They will issue you a time card at the first check point ( and get a 'fee' from you ) and will explain how long you need to take to reach the next check post. If you reach earlier , they warn you the first time and fine you the next.

12: Withing Kathmandu park your car at the hotel or parking ( 100 NR a day) and use public transport. Less hassle and easier.

Exiting Nepal at Mahendranagar:

At Mahendranagar you just have to return the license plate and move on to the Indian Border.

1: You will come to a CISF checkpost. A thourough check will ensue and no bribes here.

2: Before you reach the border you will see a small hut belonging to the Irrigation Dept. Get a pass made for 35 Rs to cross the barrage.

3: Next will be customs. Show your customs declaration here and declare any othe goods here. If you have shopped heavily you may need to bribe here.

4: Go ahead and you will reach the Sutlej Beas Barrage. This is open only on special times

6 to 7 am
12 to 2 pm
5 to 6 pm

These were the times when I came in and may change. they do allow you on request. Make it sound lik an emergency. Once you cross the barrage you are back in India for good. !


Some General Points to Consider:

1: Nepalis are friendly and gentle but like any tourist town you will need to haggle.

2: Food is tasty and home cooked. Just be carefull with the coice of meat.

3: Convert Indian Rupees (IC in local lingo) to Nepali Ruppes (NC) often as fuel stations often as for NC. You can use IC freely and the convesion rate is 10 IC = 16 NC. Do not take denominations greater than 100 Rs into Nepal, they are not accepted and if Indian customs catches you with them they may charge you with counterfeiting.

4: Bargain, Bargain, Bargain.

5: Stay away from touts. You can do most things yourself.

6: The cost of repairs in Nepal is high, try to avoid check ups unless vital. Carry oil and spares.

7: Enjoy the scenery and the air

Drive slow.

I will post pictures of all the forms once I get time. I will continue to add stuff as I remember. Please let me know if you guys have any questions.
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Old 6th February 2010, 00:26   #2
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buddha, Thanks man.
We were looking for this info. Great post. Really appreciate the same
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Old 6th February 2010, 00:33   #3
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Great info, thanks.
All these immigration offices and border check posts - do they observe office timings/ holidays or are they open 24x7?
Where do we look for forms, etc in web-sites?
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Old 6th February 2010, 00:48   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laluks View Post
buddha, Thanks man.
We were looking for this info. Great post. Really appreciate the same
You are welcome, hopefully it will be useful to some of the others

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Great info, thanks.
All these immigration offices and border check posts - do they observe office timings/ holidays or are they open 24x7?
Where do we look for forms, etc in web-sites?
Dont know for sure, but my experience has been 24X7. The forms not availiable online simply because they are filled only by the officials. No forms are to be filled by us. They do thier job pretty well. Thw only office with timings that I know of is the route check office in Butwel. 9 am to 4pm and no Sat Sun.
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Old 6th February 2010, 01:59   #5
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Hey buddha thanks for the tips. These definitely will be helpful
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Old 6th February 2010, 03:14   #6
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Budhha - great stuff, reminds me of my trip to Nepal via mehandragarh in Nov, the bansali charged was 300 IC/day, and yes the time card issued was a pain. What I learnt was that the average speed determined per the card works to approx 38-40 kms/hr and that is due to the fact that the hilly region starts towards Kathmandu (their capital) and they consider it sensitive area. BTW, the time card starts from Mongling onwards till kathmandu. Though the time check is observed almost all over Nepal(the check post guys keep scibbling on your pink slip and other docs..) I remember we crossed thru Bardia National park, a distance of 17 kms in 15 mins flat ! reason being we crossed it around 1930 hrs, was cold, dark, lonely and remember we were cutting right thru a national park. The check post guys at the other end stopped us, tried to fine us, their claim, this distance should have been covered in min 25 minutes !, we apologised, stated our ignorance, being tourists and wowed to abide by the rules in the future, they let us go !! though we also have a lot of positive memories from the trip !!
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Old 27th August 2010, 20:07   #7
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Ridinthru'
That stretch in Bardiya National Park is like that always. Very strict. We used to run passenger bus in that route. We were not allowed to blow our horns. We cannot be late than their prescribed time nor can we be quicker. If we are late, they say why are you late, did you try to hunt for animals, if we are too quick they say, you are a risk to animals.

I remember once, one of the passenger in our bus, ate a banana and threw the skin out of the window near that check post. This was not allowed. The army guy came and ordered him to pickup the banana skin and keep it inside his pocket and asked him to throw it only after he crossed the national park.

These army guys are generally very strict towards Nepalis--why not-when most poachers would be local Nepalis.

Advise to anyone driving in Nepal: Always follow the traffic rules especially about the passing light at night head and dim. I have seen many Indian cars and trucks not doing it. Maybe it is not followed as religiously as in Nepal.

If you are a foreign vehicle, always drive slow, if you get in an accident and hurt others, you will get in big trouble.

The general rule here is that if a motorbike comes and collides with a jeep, it will be jeep's mistake. If a jeep collides with a truck, it will be truck's mistake. So the bigger will always be the culprit. Now imagine if a man is hit by truck. Whatever the circumstances, it will be truck's mistake.

Do not ever overtake in bends and corners, even at night. There can be vehicles which have broken down around the corner.

Since Nepal is mountainous, there are lots of uphills and downhills. While coming down a hill, slow down with gears as much as possible. Apply brakes when downshifting alone isn't enough. I have seen many Indian vehicles crashing at the end of downhills. Most probable cause, the brake pads heated up reducing the efficiency of the brakes.

Otherwise, driving in Nepal if fun.
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Old 30th August 2010, 17:45   #8
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Thanks Buddha & Nepalken
Do they have authorized service stations like Maruti, Mahindra or Tata?
or one has to rely on local service mechanics?
I have heard there are a lot of Toyota vehicles there though.
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Old 30th November 2010, 23:37   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buddha141 View Post
You are welcome, hopefully it will be useful to some of the others



Dont know for sure, but my experience has been 24X7. Thw only office with timings that I know of is the route check office in Butwel. 9 am to 4pm and no Sat Sun.
No friend, border is open from 8am in the morning to 10 pm. the timings changes with the climate, during cold season, the border closes early. There is no time when the border is open 24x7. Border will remain closed during election or other things in Indian side or during any strike in Nepal side.

In nepal sunday is a working day. Only saturday offices will be closed. I had taken my car a lot of times to kathmandu, but never made the so called route permit. None of my friends ever made it too and in none of the check post we were asked for a permit. As far as i know for private indian vehicles one needs only bhanzar , rc and a valid license. am using an Indian registered car in Nepal for my personal use for the last 2 yrs or more.

Quote:
Originally Posted by schitre05 View Post
Thanks Buddha & Nepalken
Do they have authorized service stations like Maruti, Mahindra or Tata?
or one has to rely on local service mechanics?
I have heard there are a lot of Toyota vehicles there though.
Yes, there is authorized service stations for hyundai, maruti, mahindra,tata etc in nepal. For bikes, hero honda, bajaj and all are present.
but please note that its only in important towns. even then its not a big issue. if you plan to change the spare part of Hyundai vehicles, then you will get original Korean made !!
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Old 2nd December 2010, 23:37   #10
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Good travelogue. I might follow your footsteps er .. treadmarks someday

Quick Question - What about vehicle insurance? Your India insurance is not valid outside the borders.
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Old 3rd December 2010, 00:14   #11
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Thanks a lot. The information you provided is pretty exhaustive and valuable. I considered going to Nepal last year but skipped due to security concerns. I am not sure much of it is true.

Dont you have pics of the tour? Would love to see them.
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Old 3rd December 2010, 08:07   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TaureanBull View Post
Dont you have pics of the tour? Would love to see them.
@TBull - He's posted a travelogue here - http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...uddha-bhp.html (A trip to Bhutan that led to Nepal - Guns, Buddha and BHP)

It has few pics though & not sure if @buddha141 is checking this site regularly.
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Old 27th May 2012, 06:36   #13
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Default Re: A basic guide to traveling into and in Nepal

I'm flying from bangalore to delhi. From delhi to haldwani by 6 hour train, from Haldwani to Mahendernagar.
is that a good and faster way to enter nepal ? or any other faster way suggestion? (I know Delhi - kathmandu flight, i wanted to know about other possible options)
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Old 16th July 2012, 20:31   #14
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Default Bangalore to Nepal by Armada jeep

I am going for annapurna circuit trek in october 2012. update me about the logistical preperation to be undertaken to enter nepal and also applicable charges for permits and other fees.
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Old 16th July 2012, 23:25   #15
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Default Re: Bangalore to Nepal by Armada jeep

This thread should provide a vast amount of information: (Self driven road trip, Siliguri (W.B) to Kathmandu (Nepal))
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