As a foreigner, driving in Nepal really isn't advised. The roads are mainly unpaved and the traffic is insane. This means you can't be as flexible as in other countries. So if you can't drive a car, what options do you have to get around?
Luckily, you still have quite a lot of options to choose from:
- Rent a private driver: if you can't drive the car yourself, you could potentially hire one which includes a driver. This, however, is definitely not the cheapest option. You will have to pay between 40 and 100 dollars per day depending on the type of vehicle (fuel included).
- Book a taxi: you can easily book a cab through your hotel or home stay. When I went to Nepal, I mainly got around by using taxis. Make sure you negotiate a price before getting in the cab. Also, be aware that the taxis aren't as luxurious as you might expect them to be. The taxis we took were very basic and not very comfortable at all. Also, people drive like crazy in Nepal. Don't be surprised if your driver overtakes the car in front of him while cars are coming from the opposite direction. You can expect to pay around 20 dollars to rent a taxi for a day.
- Take the bus: taking the bus is the main form of transportation in Nepal. It does, however, take a very long time to get from point A to point B. If you're thinking about going from Kathmandu to Pokhara by bus, you can expect to travel at least 6 hours (even though both cities are only 200 km away from each other!). Buses often break down, which causes them to be delayed quite a lot. They also stop very regularly to pick up passengers or to enjoy a meal or some tea. This means that sometimes the bus doesn't go faster than 30 km/hour! Taking the bus in Nepal is truly a test for your patience. The benefit of taking the bus, however, is that it's very cheap; even for the longer journeys you never pay more than 5 dollars.
- Take a tourist bus: the tourist buses are usually a bit more luxurious and comfortable than the normal buses. They also don't take more passengers than there are seats. If you'd like to book a seat on one of the tourist buses, make sure you book your ticket a couple of days in advance.
- Rent a motorcycle: if you prefer being a bit more flexible, renting a motorcycle might be something for you. Depending on the type of bike you'd like to rent, it will cost you in between 6 dollars and 65 dollars per day. You will be asked to leave a passport or some other form of identification as a deposit. Also, make sure you have an international driver's license.
- Rent a bike: while we were staying in Pokhara, we rented bikes to get around the city. While this was a very practical way to get around, it was also a bit dangerous considering the traffic. In Nepal it seems like no one adheres to any traffic rules, so if you decide to rent a bike, be very careful.
- Take a domestic flight: for long distances, taking a domestic flight might be a good option. You can easily book a ticket through your hotel or a travel agency. We decided to fly with Simrik Airlines to travel from Kathmandu to Pokhara. Round tickets cost us about 150 dollars. Plus, the whole flight only took 30 minutes. Even though it's more expensive than taking the bus, we felt like it was worth it because we didn't have to sit in an uncomfortable bus for more than 6 hours.
If you're thinking about traveling to Nepal and you're looking for more tips, check out www.wondersoftraveling.com for more information!