In this blog I am going to share with you my own experience, tips and recommendations about traveling in Nepal by Bus, so that you could better organize your own trip and travel safely.
Road safety in Nepal by bus is a serious question as many of the roads are often in disrepair and might be quite dangerous.
More than a half of the roads in Nepal are paved or hard-surface roads, and major part of them connects in the Kathmandu city. Meanwhile the motorways in the other less touristy regions are usually covered with gravel and quite often in poor conditions, especially in the highlands To drive those roads. You would have to be a real off road professional or a highly experienced driver.
And yes, accidents really happen here, which usually caused by difficulty of the roads and frequent landslides, poorly-maintained old vehicles which are usually overcrowded, or a lack of skills of the drivers.
But thanks God, it is happening not as often as you might imagine Most of the bus drivers in Nepal who run buses along these roads are genuine professionals and the road experts with huge experience, so traveling by public buses is relatively safe But still, the intercity roads are super bumpy and narrow.
If you decide to save some money by choosing a bus ride instead of a flight, then be prepared to be thrown out of your seats, when the bus passes through potholes, or be totally freaked out by looking at the deep precipice in a half meter of your windows. And quite often there is no safety barriers and no street lighting on a road. This traveling experience is definitely not for everyone. Heavy rainfalls during monsoon season cause landslides across the country, which make driving risky and dangerous.
The roads might be blocked or washed away, and its repair will be impossible to complete until the rainy season is over after the first minute of arrival to Nepal, you will definitely notice the extraordinary driving skills of locals. And yeah, road rules actually exist, but nobody really follows them. They prefer honking to each other. It seems chaotic.
However to my surprise it doesn’t cause much problems or frequent accidents on the roads.
If you plan on driving in Nepal on your own.
Try to avoid doing this during the rainy season and especially at night. I wish you luck.
And this is how the Kathmandu tourist bus station looks like As you see, it’s not a station, it’s just a street where the bus drivers parks next to each other. No signs, no information. And you better hurry up to find out which of them belongs to your tour company. You’ll just have to run around each bus trying to find any sticker on a door, or a piece of paper with a company name attached to the window.
Does it sound exciting to you?
The most popular route from Kathmandu to Pokhara is not too bad. The road is narrow and bumpy, but in couple hours you’ll get used to it and just start ignoring. Usually drivers stop couple times during the ride – for toilet, breakfast and lunch break. But those toilets on the road… oh maybe it’s better to go in the jungles. Eating food at those stops is also quite doubtful. If you want to enjoy the road journey in Nepal and feel much safer – then a comfortable vehicle and an experienced driver are useful. For that you got to choose the most touristy bus.
There is Green line bus which offers the best services on the market Their buses have got big windows, good AC, lunch and even Wi-Fi But they cover not all destinations yet – only Kathmandu, Pokhara and Chitwan, with buses leaving in the morning and arriving by the late afternoon.
There is also a wide selection of tour companies providing standard or so called DELUXE tourist buses with much lower prices and completely different level of comfort. But it is still much better than a local bus.
For example Greenline bus from Kathmandu to Pokhara will cost you $25 while a standard tourist bus $6-9 By the way, the road back from Pohkara to Kathmandu took 12 hours instead 7 to 9 as it supposed to be, due to congested traffic on the road so personally, I would recommend travelling one way by road, and a way back by air the views from the flight are phenomenal.