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Getting from Delhi to Kathmandu

Delhi or New Delhi – as the names are interchangeable – is the second largest metropolis and capital of India. It is also a major travel hub in the area whether you plan to travel domestically or internationally.

Kathmandu is the capital of Nepal, once thought to be the inaccessible Shangri La. Now it’s a major hub for international travelers and a vacation spot catering for all budgets.

Quick summary

If you don’t want to worry about changing from a train to a bus and crossing the border on foot, then the bus is your best option (and the cheapest). Otherwise, for about 2.5 times the cost of a bus ticket, you can fly and get between Delhi and Kathmandu in 1 1/2h (as opposed to 2 days if you chose the bus).

Flights from Delhi (airport code: DEL) to Kathmandu

Delhi (or New Delhi) is served by Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL), the main international airport in the National Capital Region of Delhi and the busiest airport in India in terms of traffic. It is located 16 km from New Delhi and is hub for the following airlines: Air India, Air India Regional, Blue Dart Aviation, GoAir, IndiGo, Jagson Airlines, JetLite, Jet Airways, Kingfisher Airlines and SpiceJet.

Tribhuvan International Airport (KTM) is the only international airport in Nepal and serves the capital of Kathmandu. It is not a hub for any airline but receives flights from Europe, Asia and Middle East; as well as handing domestic flights.

Flights between Delhi and Kathmandu are operated by: Air India, Buddha Air, Druk Air, IndiGo, Jet Airways, JetLite, Kingfisher Airlines, Nepal Airlines and Spicejet. Non stop flights take about 1 ½ h. Single fares start at Rs 4454 / US$84 on Jet Airways or JetLite, if you travel in early 2012. Return fares start at Rs 8060 / US$152 on the same airlines.

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Trains and buses from Delhi to Kathmandu

There aren’t train lines in Nepal, other than a route from India which is of little interest to the tourists. Still, it’s possible to travel overland between Delhi and Kathmandu.

1. Delhi to Gorakhpur by train; Vaishali Express leaves Delhi at 7:50 p.m and arrives at its destination after 14 hours. The cheaper fare is Rs 315 / US$6 (sleeper class, no AC) and the most expensive Rs 2440 / US$54 (sleeper class, with AC) . You can check the timetable here.

>>read more about buying train tickets in India and train travel in India

2. Gorakhpur to the Nepalese frontier at Sunauli by bus; the travel time is about 3 h and the single fare is Rs 55 / US$2

3. Walk across the border

4. Bhairawa to Kathmandu by bus; Bhairawa bus station is just a few minutes walk from the border. The travel time to Kathmandu is 9h to 12 h. The single fare is 120 Nepalese Rupees / Rs 230 / US$2. There are both daytime and nighttime buses and there’s hardly any need to plan far in advance.

Buses from Delhi to Kathmandu

It is also possible to travel only by bus from Delhi to Kathmandu. It’s a two days journey and the single ticket is Rs 1800 / US$34 in a seat, with no AC in the bus (with RedBus )

>>read more about Bus Travel in India

Driving from Delhi to Kathmandu

Before making any plans to drive from Delhi to Kathmandu, ask the rental company whether you can take the car across the border. And you should also know that the roads aren’t exactly in their best shape, so plan for a long and tedious journey. Driving the 1128 km should take about 19 hours (on NH 24). Do make sure to plan stops along the way and get the appropriate rest.

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