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I am going to Nepal and probably, same as everyone, through Delhi. I was considering going overland from Delhi to Kathmandu, however I have found many posts that advise against it in favor of a flight. The following concerns are the key to the proper decision, I think.

Does the overland route offer a good scenery and cultural experience or is it better to spend that time in Nepal?

What is the rough cost of an overland journey and how does it compare with a flight?

In case of a flight, is the Indian visa necessary?

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up vote 16 down vote accepted

This is a well-trod trail on the backpacker circuit, and Seat 61 has the full scoop, but here's the outline:

  1. Train from Delhi to the end of the line at Gorakhpur, overnight, US$10-50 depending on class of sleeper
  2. Bus to border at Sunauli, one and half hours, ~$2
  3. Cross border on foot
  4. Bus to Kathmandu, 9-12 hours (overnight buses available), ~$6

So it's certainly the cheaper option, as you can do the whole trip for $20, or even less if you're the kind of masochist who enjoys overnight travel in the train's general section.

As for "good scenery and cultural experience", though, I've yet to meet anybody who actually enjoyed the trip. Since there are so many goras traipsing through, the scammers are out in full force, the border towns are absolute shitholes, and the Nepali roads and buses are pretty awful with this kind of thing an all too regular occurrence.

And yes, DEL allows transit without visa if you can connect directly to your flight to Kathmandu and check your bags through.

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Thanks, that's a valuable answer. – crenate May 31 '12 at 12:48
To be fair, Gorakhpur and a lot of stops on the overland route to Nepal are some of the shittier bits of India. You probably won't enjoy it but as far as an experience if you really want to get out of your comfort zone, go for it. – Ankur Banerjee May 31 '12 at 15:15
Additionally, the bus to Kathmandu goes through Mugling - a noted truck stop, but not the nicest place to visit. All in all, you'll see the Terai, a bunch of mountains, and a whole lot of what you'd expect. Go trekking in Jomsom and visit Chitawan, and you'll see all of these things in more manageable doses. – Affable Geek Jun 6 '12 at 1:24
Thanks to devilsmind for fixing this answer... – rlesko Jun 25 '12 at 11:03
I somewhat don't like the term shithole. Kinda dramatically lowers the quality of your eloquence. – JoErNanO Nov 28 '14 at 21:42

You can take a direct bus from New Delhi to Kathmandu from Ambedkar stadium bus terminus and goes up to Swaymbhu bus terminal at Kathmandu. It is a 30 hour journey and is a daily bus service both ways.

Ticket from New Delhi to Kathmandu costs INR 2300.

This has only started 2-3 days ago.

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protected by Ankur Banerjee Feb 8 '13 at 7:49

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