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?

3 Answers 3


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.

  • 4
    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. May 31, 2012 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. Jun 6, 2012 at 1:24
  • I somewhat don't like the term shithole. Kinda dramatically lowers the quality of your eloquence.
    – JoErNanO
    Nov 28, 2014 at 21:42
  • @JoErNanO A turd by any other name is a still a turd... Nov 28, 2014 at 23:16
  • True. But in no way does that justify being vulgar.
    – JoErNanO
    Nov 28, 2014 at 23:37

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.


You can now take an overnight bus from Varanasi to Kathmandu. It leaves every second day at 10pm and arrives at about 1pm the next day. It can be booked online here or through RedBus.

An alternative itinerary for Delhi to Kathmandu overland would be:

  1. Train from Delhi to Varanasi. (There are multiple trains you could get. The quickest is the SWATANTRTA S EXP which takes 11 hours 50 minutes from New Delhi railway station to Varanasi Junction)
  2. Bus from Varanasi to Kathmandu (15 hours)

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .