How I Entered Nepal from India On a Budget

Written By: ThePlanetD Team

When I first decided I wanted to see Nepal, I didn’t have much money. But I still wanted to do it. The only solution was to make it on a tiny budget. And that’s what I did. I ended up entering Nepal from India. Not what I initially had in mind.

How I Entered Nepal from India in Style

I hit the first snag even before I left. There were no cheap flights from Europe to Kathmandu, Nepal. But I still wanted to do it. I bought a cheap one-way flight to New Delhi, India, and decided I would make it to Nepal on land. Single girl, blond, big backpack and first time in Asia, this was going to be an adventure.

Arrival New Delhi, India

nepal from india traffic

I managed to catch a local bus to downtown and survived my first few days in the city. When I was checking public transportation options for going to Nepal, somebody said, “Why don’t you go to Agra first? It is close and it would be shame to miss it.” I agreed and bought a morning train ticket to Agra.

Agra en route to Nepal

taj mahal india

I spent a day in Agra, visited Taj Mahal and had hundreds of pictures taken of me posing with Indian families, their babies, school kids, and young guys. I didn’t enjoy my sudden popularity and looked forward to leaving for Nepal.

I bought another train ticket – this time for an overnight train from Agra to Gorakhpur.

Agra to Gorakhpur by Train

train ride nepal

The train ride took 14 hours. It would have been an ordeal, but I spent my 14 hours sleeping, eating horrible train food and chatting with a nice Indian family of four and a group of pilgrims traveling to the temple in Northern India. I thought I was doing great until I got off at Gorakhpur.

Train Ride

track track india

I assumed I would just get off the train and find some information center where somebody would direct me to the bus to the Nepali border. What a naive idea! I got off into the typical chaos of an Indian train station where thousands of people wait, sleep, eat, work, sell, buy and basically live.

My popularity dropped as suddenly as it had risen before. In the Gorakhpur hustle and bustle, I attracted virtually no attention. I helplessly wandered through the crowds asking everybody who was kind enough to notice me. Somehow, I managed to find a bus to Sunauli. By that time, it was already getting late.

Bus to Sanuali

nepal from india border

My original plan was to get to the border before sunset and catch an overnight bus to Pokhara, Nepal. While I was bumping along in a bus full of Indian villagers and a few chickens, I realized I wouldn’t make it to Nepal before sunset.

To my surprise, the bus dropped me off in a village about a mile before the border. I had to make it to Nepal on foot.

Walking to Nepal

meditating nepal

I thought it was a pretty spectacular entry – me walking in the middle of the road with a huge backpack. I wished somebody just called me and asked what I was doing. “Sorry, I am busy right now….”

When I hit the Indian border, it was already dark; completely dark, since there was a power blackout. The Indian officers checked my passport and sent me over to Nepal. For some reason, I felt a big relief I had finally made it to Nepal.

I stopped at the immigration office to buy my visa. I handed my hundred-dollar bill to the officer before he realized I hadn’t had my passport stamped while leaving India. I wondered how come the Indian officers had not told me.

I offered my explanation: “Maybe it was because they had a blackout and it was too dark.” “Of course, they had a blackout,” the office replied, “They love their blackouts. If it is dark, nobody can see them taking money.”

Then he told me to leave my backpack and the hundred dollars with him and walk back to India to get my passport stamped. I look hesitant so he added: “Don’t worry; you are not in India anymore.” So I did as he said.

Getting to Nepal

india table

With my paperwork done, I started looking for a bus to Pokhara. Of course, there was none. All buses had left in the morning. With my ridiculous budget in mind, I seriously considered spending the night outside.

Then I remembered the bad reputation of border cities and opted for the cheapest “guesthouse” I could find. The reception was a big bar full of local liquor.

I turned down the offer of a Nepali regular who reasoned we should share the room so that I could get it cheaper.

When he wasn’t successful he at least promised he would come at 5 am to wake me up for my bus. I didn’t believe he would but still double-checked my door was locked.

My Night at the Border

The night was rather noisy with both male and female voices shouting at the bar.

And there he was – at five in the morning, my rejected friend was banging on my door and yelling I better get up so that I don’t miss my bus. Thank you for free wake-up service, it comes with the room.

When I finally boarded my bus for the ride to Pokhara, I immediately fell in love with Nepal. It felt so peaceful and easygoing compared to India!

Lessons Learned

I guess I lived through my biggest cultural shock in Delhi and after that, Nepal was a breeze. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t dare to recommend my itinerary to any fellow travelers.

I was cautious but also extremely fortunate that I made it out only with funny stories and pleasant memories. Since then, I am older and even more cautious. I have learned my lessons.

So if you decide to travel to Nepal my way, here is my list of “Don’ts” or rather “Nevers”:

  • Never stay in a dirty cheap place in Delhi where even owner advices you to be aware of the guys who stay there.
  • Never walk inside the house just because a friendly Indian guy tells you he would give you a city map.
  • Never go behind closed door with bunch of guys who claim they will exchange your dollars for rupees.
  • Never arrive to the Indian border town after the sunset.
  • Never leave you backpack and money unattended.

When I see this list above, I cannot believe I actually did every single one of these things. Not very smart. I survived and promised next time I would be more careful. After all, there are other adventurous options how to enter Nepal in style.

This was posted by Eve of who no longer blogs.

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About ThePlanetD Team

Guest writers for The Planet D offer insider tips and information on destinations that they are experts in. We can't be everywhere at once, and it is important to have the highest level of travel information from local writers and experienced travelers.

Leave a Comment

21 thoughts on “How I Entered Nepal from India On a Budget”

  1. Hi Eva,

    Thank you for sharing your travel experience in Nepal and India. Your travel experience will help us to plan and design our Nepal and India tour packages.

  2. Hey Eva,
    By the way, things now have changed. You can get the direct bus from Delhi to Kathmandu. However, you have to apply for Nepal visa in the Embassy of Nepal prior to leaving Delhi.

  3. After reading this fabulous post it seems that you have seen and passed through numerous obstacles that you face while traveling to Nepal from India. Anyway, this post felt me sad as well as happy that you have introduced Nepal through your blog. Appreciate it for your great contribution and effort for creating and sharing your travel experience.

  4. Great info. I am reading your blog and i get the some valuable information. Thanks for sharing this so interesting post! I really want to be thankful for the way you have put it here.

  5. Hey,
    Reading this made me a little sad because I know how true it is and how incomplete as an experience of India it is.
    Sadly, our capital is not the best of the lot. I don’t blame you, most of the tourism around the world is heavily biased towards the capital.
    Don’t think of India as one country, it is like a continent. We have states like Meghalaya where we have Matriarchy, cities like Mumbai where you can go for a walk alone by sea at 2 AM in the morning… to Rajasthan which is so tourist-heavy but still had all men just silently talking to my boobs. I don’t like excess clothing and it was hot but I was fully clad. If it made me, an Indian, molested to the tune of a hundred times in this dear life of mine, uncomfortable, I can imagine what it is to women from developed countries. I don’t have to imagine, I lived in travellers’ hostels for 6 months, I know.
    If you are in Nepal, come and visit the best of India now, which is a huge huge part of the country. You will go nuts.

  6. See, no one forces you visit a country. It was your wish to visit India and comparing it with other nation just to show other place better is so pathetic. Am not being an Indian extremist but each line was only about comparisons. I know it is not a safe place and each lady out here is fighting in their own way. You have no right to complain if you aren’t doing anything for its betterment. Making others cautious is good but their is a way. Try to see better in every way will make you a positive traveler

  7. wow… Thank you for visiting India. Hope you have got an amazing experience.

    Did you find any difficulty in nepal?

  8. It is very amazing experience you had and been Indian i like your experience travelling in India and if you need any requirement please visit

  9. Wow.. Thanks for sharing nice travel experience . Actually i am from India.

    Many many thanks for taking time to travel in india..!

  10. Really Nice and some annoy experience travelling from India to Nepal. But budget travel plan in India is like what do you said need to adjust and be careful of somethings.

  11. Hello from Bangladesh 🙂

    Having a look at headline I thought you are coming here in Bangladesh too from India 🙁 …. but I am hopeful you that you will be flying in from Nepal to Bangladesh. I am waiting for a great write up about Bangladesh 😉