Getting around

Nepal's domestic network includes some of the most remote and spectacular airstrips in the world. many of them are on mountainsides surrounded by high peaks. If your trek involves a flight into or out of a remote airstrip, you may reckon a delay of several hours or, more often, several days.

Many private airlines operate alogside the long-running, government-owned Royal Nepal Airlines Cooperation (RNAC). They have more frequent flights and are generally more reliable than RNAC. New private Airlines spring up and disappear frequently, while existing airlines keep changing their office premises. It's best to let me do the booking for your flight before you come to Nepal.

Nepal Airlines (RA) has an extensive network of air services in the interior of Nepal. It has scheduled connection flights from Kathmandu to Taplejung, Bhadrapur, Rajbiraj, Bhojpur, Phaplu, Lukla, Lamidanda, Tunmlingtar, Rumjatar, Biratnagar Simara, Janakpur, Ramechhap, Bharatpur, Meghauli ,Pokhara, Jomsom, Manang, Baglung. Bhairahawa, Nepalgunj Chaurjhahari, Surkhet, Dang, Dolpa, Jumla, Bajura, Baitadi, Dipayal, Darchula, Mahendranagar, Dhangadi, Tikapur and Sanfebagar. Besides RA, other domestic airlines such as Buddha Air, Cosmic Air, Gorkha Airlines, Sita Air, Skyline Airlines and Yeti Airways provide regular and charter services to popular domestic destinations.

If you are going to Pokhara or Chitwan, take one of the more comfortable tourist buses. Most of them depart from locations near Thamel in Kathmandu, saving you hassle of getting a taxi to the public bus terminal on the Ring Road.

For Langtang or Jiri, you have to take a Nepali public bus. The public bus service is very much designed to accomodate the Nepali people. The buses are rickety, slow, crowded and noisy; The seats are narrow and closely spaced. Tickets are written in Nepali and departure announcements are made only in Nepali. So it's good to have a guide with you.

Nearly all buses for destinations outside Kathmandu valley depart from the new bus terminal at Gongabu, on the Ring Road about 5km north of the city centre. The exception are buses to Jiri, which leave from the old bus station in the centre of Kathmandu.

Seats are assigned, when you purchase a ticket. They go on sale a day before departure, so if you are prepared to make two trips to the bus station, you might have a choice of seats. Otherwise it's fairly safe to assume that you can arrive a few hours before departure. Tickets are sold from a row of counters at the bus station. Several companies operate on each route.

Taxis reach the starting points for many of the treks, including Pokhara, Besi Sahar, Jiri and Dhumche, and are much cheaper to hire than a 4WD. You can negotiate with one of the private taxis available through the Tourist Service office.

Be careful when selecting a taxi for a long-distance trip. Most Kathmandu taxi drivers are not experienced in driving on winding mountain roads.

It's expensive to hire a car or 4WD to get to the start of a trek, but it's more comfortable and it can save a lot of time.

You can rent a car in Nepal, but traffic is chaotic and everyone ignores the rules. It's not a good idea to drive in Nepal unless you are familiar with the country and used to dodging the cows, chickens, kids, bicycles and rikshaws that pop out of nowhere. Treffic is supposed to stay on the left side of the road, although this is not obvious when you watch vehicle movements.