Nepal by Raimond Klavins

Nepal Driving Guide

Learn some driving tips before you travel to Nepal.

2021-07-23 · 9 min

The Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, or simply Nepal, is a charming country found between China and India that offers various adventures for old and young alike. Home to some of the world’s highest peaks, the country will surely amaze you with its beautiful views and rich culture.

Home to friendly locals, exotic foods, and countless places to explore, tourists often find themselves living like a local during their stay. Some people would go to Nepal for a spiritual retreat, finding tranquility and discovering peace in one of Nepal’s magnificent temples. Others would get their blood pumping and will go on a hike on Mount Everest. Whatever your plans will be, surely Nepal will open their arms to you.

How Can This Guide Help You?

If you want to know more about Nepal and how to get around the country, we’ve made a comprehensive guide for you to make planning your trip easier. Find things to do, and places to see in Nepal. Learn about what you need in order to drive around Nepal, what are International Driving Permits, and the country’s road rules. Lastly, find out why you need to visit this country at least once in your life.

General Information

Nepal is a country in South Asia, with Kathmandu as the largest city and its capital. Known for being the home of eight of the ten highest peaks in the world, Nepal’s mountainous terrain is the habitat of some of the world’s endangered animals and endemic flora. Nepal is also known for being a diverse country, with over 101 ethnic groups and 92 languages spoken.

Geographic Location

Did you know that there is a road in Nepal that leads to India? That’s because Nepal is found between India and China, making it a landlocked country. Nepal experiences five seasons throughout the year, namely: winter, spring, summer, monsoon, and autumn. Depending on the location, the temperature may go as high as 45 ° C (113 °F) and as low as 2°C (35.6°F), so be sure to plan your trip wisely. There are also places that experience snow all year round, like those in the Great Himalaya Range.

Languages Spoken

The official language of Nepal is called Nepali, which came from Sanskrit. 44.6% of the locals in Nepal speak Nepali, while the others speak regional dialects such as Magar, Gurung, and Rai. In a census conducted in 2011, it was found out that there are 122 major languages in Nepal. The languages in Nepal are said to be influenced by Indo-European languages like Germanic and Greek.

Despite this, tourists should not be afraid of language barriers. Many locals in Nepal or Nepalis speak English as a second language. Most English-speaking Nepalis can be found in city-centers like in Kathmandu, but even rural dwellers can understand and communicate in basic English.

Land Area

Nepal is said to be the birthplace of Buddha, specifically in Lumbini. Because of this, many pilgrims visit Nepal to pay respect to Buddha and to experience enlightenment and tranquility. Nepal is so rich in history and culture that it is the world’s densest concentration of UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Because of this, Nepal is only 140,800 sq km, 70% of which are mountains, with Kathmandu as its capital. Nepal is also home to the Great Himalaya Range and the world-famous Mount Everest.

History

Hinduism has played a significant role in Nepal’s history. As early as 500 CE, Hindu kings that are said to be from India ruled Nepal. As time passed, Hindus have treated Nepal as one of the places for pilgrimages, as it is said that Buddha was born in Nepal in 623 B.C. Early societies in Nepal were also known to have strong trade relations with China, making the Himalayas into a major commercial center in 700 CE.

In the earlier years, Nepal was plagued by political problems, with some of the regional tribes and groups refusing to cooperate and amalgamate into one cohesive political system because of cultural differences. When they were able to compromise, Nepal then faced problems with the royal successions. It wasn’t until the 1950s when Nepal’s throne found peace in the palace.

Government

Nepal’s form of government is a federal republic. Before, Nepal had a president, a prime minister, and a king. However, in 2008, the government decided to abolish the 239-year old royal dynasty, evicting King Gyanendra out of the royal palace. This took precedence after the unfortunate royal family massacre that happened in 2001.

Today, Nepal’s government is comparatively more peaceful, but there are still complaints of rights not being protected like those of the Madhesis: a minority group in southern Nepal. In 2017, Nepal experienced its first successful set of elections in two decades. This is an important achievement in Nepal as it shows the country’s aim for cooperation in its growth.

Tourism

Nepal is one of the best places in the world if you’re seeking an adventure or if you want to go soul searching. It came as no surprise when Nepal’s tourism industry experienced a growth of 4.49% in 2019. When planning your trip to Nepal, it is critical to known when is the best time to go in order for you to make the most out of your travel.

The best time to visit Nepal is during October and December. During these times, clear skies are prevalent, letting you view the peaks of mountains clearly or even riding hot air balloons peacefully. Nepal's monsoon season is between July and August, making the country experience hard rainfall; this may cause landslides, floods, and flight delays.

IDP FAQs

An International Driving Permit (IDP) is a legal document that allows foreigners to rent and legally drive cars in Nepal. Applying for an IDP can ease your travels around Nepal as it can serve as a supplementary document for identification and for avoiding trouble with authorities in Nepal. Below are other things you need to know about IDP in Nepal.

Is a Local Driver’s License Valid in Nepal?

A local driver’s license or a driver’s license issued in your home country is valid in Nepal. It is one of the main requirements – along with an IDP – needed for you to drive and rent a car in Nepal. Your local driver’s license should not be expired during your stay, and you should meet the minimum age requirement of 18 for you to be able to drive.

Additionally, it would be best if your driver’s license is written in English. This will make your trip more convenient, as some authorities or companies may ask for an English translation of your driver’s license. Thankfully, an IDP is essentially an English translation of your driver’s license. Now all you need to do is show your IDP when they are asking for a translation of your driver’s license.

Does an IDP Replace a Local Driver’s License?

An IDP does not replace your local driver’s license. Although an IDP can serve as a supplementary form of identification for over 150 countries worldwide, this makes it legally possible for you to drive in those countries as long as you meet the necessary requirements. An IDP is essentially a translation of your local driver’s license, making it easier for the authorities in Nepal to understand your license, especially if it is not written in English or in Latin script.

Do I Need an IDP to Drive in Nepal?

Yes, you need an IDP to drive in Nepal along with your local driver’s license. You need to carry your IDP, local driver’s license, passport, and car rental documents with you when you are driving in Nepal. Local authorities in Nepal sometimes perform driving license checks on random drivers. During this time, you will need to show your IDP along with your local driver’s license and passport.

When you encounter toll booths in Nepal, sometimes the authorities will also ask for a form of identification. You can also present your IDP to the authorities as it can also serve as a supplementary document for identification. Always remember to be cooperative and respectful when encountering traffic authorities and personnel.

Renting a Car in Nepal

Renting a car in Nepal is one of the best ways to enjoy your travel at your own pace. Going around by car is also one of the best ways to explore Nepal, as it makes traveling more comfortable and faster. It is recommended that you rent a car beforehand to give you more options in choosing the vehicle that fits your adventures. Below is the information you need to know before renting a car in Nepal.

Car Rental Companies

There are various car rental companies in Nepal, and some of them you can find at the airport when you land. There are also several car companies that allow you to book your car rentals online, such as Sixt Nepal and Europcar. Both companies offer a wide selection of cars you can rent, ranging from manual to automatic, compact cars to vans, and even from city cars to off-road 4x4s. Listed below are contact numbers for the mentioned car rental companies.

Car Hire Nepal: +977 980-1072584

Europcar Nepal: +977 1-4433577

Kathmandu Car Rental Services: +977 985-1036473

Sixt Nepal: +977-144-66655

Documents Required

A Nepali driving license isn’t needed when you’re renting a car in Nepal as long as you have an IDP with you. Car rental companies will ask you to present your valid driver’s license from your country, passport, and debit/credit card upon renting. If you are planning on staying longer than your IDP’s validity, you will be needing a Nepali driver’s license. Always remember to bring these documents with you while driving down the Nepali roads.

Vehicle Types

There are a variety of rental cars you can rent in Nepal. Car rental companies offer cars that can either be automatic or manual, a simple city car or a car for off-roads, and even limousines or SUVs. You can also rent light vehicles such as motorcycles for easier access to all the nooks and crannies the roads of Nepal has to offer. Remember, it is essential to think about what type of car best suits your travel itinerary so you can further enjoy your stay in Nepal.

Most of the tourists opt to rent a small compact car; this makes it more manageable around the streets and the gas consumption cheaper. You will also need to consider if you are bringing a lot of luggage with you when you are driving, as it may take up an ample amount of space in the car.

Car Rental Cost

Car rental fees vary from company to company, with some offering additional services to make your Nepali adventures easier and more enjoyable. Car rental companies like Sixt Nepal offer services like car pickup and returns and unlimited miles on standard vehicles, which are all included in your rental fee.

Generally, car rental fees are also inclusive of 24/7 customer service and Nepal tax charges. Rental fees are also based on what type of vehicle you want to rent and its manufacturer; newer car models are typically more expensive than older models. Extras such as child seats, WiFi, and GPS can also affect the price of the vehicle.

Age Requirements

For you to be able to drive in Nepal, you need to be at least 18 years old when driving light and medium vehicles—planning on driving even bigger vehicles? Nepal requires you to be at least 21 years old when driving heavy vehicles such as tour buses. Car rental companies will be checking if you have met the minimum age requirements before rental.

Car Insurance Cost

Car insurance costs would differ from company to company and the type of insurance. Some rental companies would already include insurance like third-party liability to your package. Be sure to check out different insurance costs and coverages to see what best fits your travel. Most of the companies would recommend getting additional insurance such as theft protection and collision damage protection to give you maximum coverage and protection during your trip

Car Insurance Policy

It is important to drive an insured car in Nepal. Car rental companies offer vehicles that are insured but for an additional price. Car insurance will cover your costs when there are accidents that could damage your rented vehicle. Depending on the type of insurance, unwanted situations such as theft, vandalism, and damages incurred during landslide and flood might even be covered.

Your own personal insurance might even cover your rented car in Nepal. Before opting for an insured car from your rental company, be sure to check your personal insurance coverage, your local car insurance coverage, travel insurance, and even your credit card insurance coverage. Double-checking your insurance coverages might help you save money along the way.

Kathmandu Busy Street Photo by Laurentiu Morariu

Road Rules in Nepal

Before you start driving in Nepal, you need to familiarize yourself with the driving rules of the country – this will help you avoid accidents and unwanted situations with the local authorities. Some of the laws in Nepal may be familiar to you, while some may not; don’t worry, with a little adjustment, you’ll get used to it in no time.

Important Regulations

Road rules in Nepal apply to both locals and tourists, so it is essential you follow the set rules and regulations. Following the driving laws will not only prevent you from getting pulled over by traffic police but help ensure road safety and those around you as well. Below are the important regulations you need to follow.

Drunk Driving

Like most countries, you are prohibited from drinking and driving. Local authorities tend to have random inspections and will ask the driver to pull over and take a breath analyzer test. Always remember to practice safe driving and refrain from drinking and driving to avoid accidents .

If you are caught to be driving under the influence of alcoholic beverages, you will be fined 1000 Nepalese Rupees. Authorities in Nepal are very strict when implementing this law, as they are trying to lower the incident rate of drunk driving. Nepal authorities recorded 167 cases of drunk driving fatalities per month in 2010.

Traveling with Children

When riding a car with children, Nepal law states that children should not sit behind the rear seats in an estate car or hatchback. The only time children are allowed to do so is when there is a child seat. It is also required that the child safety door lock should be used when there are children in the car. These laws are in place to ensure children’s safety and the driver’s and the other passengers’ safety as well.

Nepal authorities may perform random inspections when you are driving. They will check if your child is seated on a car seat and is fully buckled up. If you are found to be disobeying this traffic law, you may be fined. Keep your child seated in the rear seats of your car and place them in a child seat to ensure their safety.

Road Trips

Nepal is blessed with beautiful mountains and wonderful views, so try and go on a road trip. If you want to go on a road trip and see these natural wonders, you may, but remember to drive with caution. Roads outside of the city are prone to accidents as they are full of sharp turns and curves. Nepali law also requires the driver to rest for 30 minutes every 4 hours of driving to ensure that everyone is in top shape when tackling the road.

Before going on a road trip, always check the weather and situation of where you are going. The roads outside of the city in Nepal are no strangers to rockslides, landslides, and sudden road closures. If you are staying in a hotel in your road trip destination, you may call them to ask about the road conditions before you embark on your road trip.

General Standards of Driving

It is important for one to learn about the general driving standards of Nepal so you will know what the locals commonly do when driving, helping you adjust to Nepal’s driving style easier. Most of the people drive manual transmission cars in Nepal, but there are also a few who drive automatic cars. When you’re still adjusting, don’t be afraid to start slow and take your time.

Driving Side

Most of the countries in the world drive on the right side, like the United States and Canada, but countries like Nepal and Japan have it the other way around. In Nepal, you will be driving on the left side of the road; the driver seat is positioned on the vehicle's right side. Always remember to be extra cautious when unfamiliar with driving on the left side of the road to avoid accidents and unwanted encounters with the traffic authorities.

Driving on the left side of the road may pose a challenge to some. To make your driving in Nepal easier, consider renting a car with automatic transmission. Choosing a car with automatic transmission will give you fewer things to think about while you are still adjusting to driving on the other side of the road. Take it slow and practice defensive driving to ensure a safe ride

Speed Limit

Nepal's roads have varying speed limits, depending on where you are. For urban areas, the maximum speed limit is 40km/h. The maximum speed limit for rural areas is 80km/h. Local drivers tend to drive faster than they should, so you have to remain calm and vigilant; the traffic authority suggests not to drive that fast and just enjoy the natural beauty of the surroundings.

Traffic authorities also suggest that drivers should practice defensive driving when on the road. If you are not used to driving on the left side of the road, it is okay for you to go slower than the speed limit. Nepal is rigorous in enforcing the speed limits in each area, so you have to be constantly aware of how fast you are going or else you will be fined.

Seatbelt Laws

Just like in other countries, driving in Nepal requires you to put on your seatbelt. This law also applies to the passengers of the car; everyone is required to wear a seatbelt. Anyone caught without a seatbelt will be fined.

Road accidents in Nepal have risen in the past 20 years, mainly due to reckless driving. Studies show that fatalities that occurred in the road accidents could have been prevented if they wore seatbelts. Wearing seatbelts reduces fatality risks by 45-50%. That is why authorities in Nepal are strict when it comes to implementing this

The legal driving age in Nepal is 18 years old. As long as you meet the minimum driving age requirement and have the necessary driving documents like the IDP, your local driver’s license, and passport, you will be able to drive light to medium vehicles. If you want to drive heavier vehicles like tourist buses, you need to be at least 21 years old. If you are found to be driving without a license and IDP in Nepal, you will be sanctioned and fined.

Driving Restrictions

Nepal is strict when it comes to implementing their law on the age requirement If you do not meet the necessary age requirements then you are not allowed to drive in Nepal. You are also not allowed to drive in Nepal when you cannot hear normally a horn signal or if you have difficulty in hearing. Laws in Nepal also prohibits you from driving without a license and IDP.

Traffic Road Signs

Most of the road signs in Nepal may be familiar to you, as they are similar to those of other countries. Nepal has five groups of road signs: warning signs, priority signs, prohibitory signs, mandatory signs, and information signs. It is important to follow the road signs to avoid accidents and encounters with the Nepali authorities.

Warning signs in Nepal are placed to warn drivers of potential dangerous situations. They are usually in a shape of a triangle with a red outline. Warning signs include:

  • Warning for a traffic light sign
  • Warning for a roundabout sign
  • Warning for a riverbank sign
  • Loose chippings on the road sign
  • Warning for falling rocks sign
  • Checkpoint ahead sign

Priority signs are there to tell you who has priority and who should give priority on the road. They are also usually shaped in a triangle with a red outline. Priority signs include:

  • Uncontrolled Y-crossroad sign
  • Give way to all drivers sign
  • Uncontrolled T-crossroad sign
  • Crossroad warning, give way to all drivers sign

Prohibitory signs indicate certain things drivers and pedestrians are not allowed to do. They are usually in a shape of a circle with a red outline. Prohibitory signs include:

  • Entry prohibited sign
  • Using of horn prohibited sign
  • Handcarts prohibited sig
  • No U-turn sign
  • Trucks prohibited sign
  • No left-turn sign

Mandatory signs are there to tell you what you should do. They are also shaped in a circle with a blue background. Mandatory signs include:

● Mandatory right-turn sign

● Mandatory direction of a roundabout turn

● Drive straight ahead sign

● Mandatory left sign

Lastly, information signs are there to give you information of the road rules and situation. They are usually in a shape of a square and has a blue background. Information signs include:

  • Parking is allowed sign
  • Pedestrian crossing sign
  • Dead end street sign
  • One-way traffic sign

Right of Way

It is important to know the right of way when driving in order to avoid accidents and unwanted confrontations. In Nepal, livestock like cows, ducks, and goats can cross unguided at any given time, so usually they are given the right of way. Also, unless there are priority signs on the road, the locals use the turn signals to assign the right of way, giving priority to those who used the turn signal first.

Laws on Overtaking

Overtaking vehicles are allowed in Nepal. However, overtaking is done on the right side of the road. Some local drivers may tend to overtake without using signals. Always remember to keep vigilant and follow the road rules in order to avoid being pulled over by local authorities. Nepali traffic enforcers are strict when it comes to overtaking as it is one of the common causes of accidents in Nepal.

It is best to drive slowly in Nepal, especially if you are still unfamiliar with the area and the driving style of the locals. Be extra cautious when using the mirrors of the car, especially if you are not used to driving on the left side of the road.

Driving Directions

Driving directions in Nepal is easy to figure out because there are road signs indicating the flow of traffic. When entering roundabouts in Nepal, be sure to check first the traffic road signs as they might be a sign indicating you don’t have priority when entering. There should also be a sign indicating the direction of the flow of traffic inside the roundabout. The right of way in the roundabout is given to those who entered the roundabout first or whoever is coming from the left-side of the road

Driving Etiquette in Nepal

To help ensure a pleasant driving experience, learning the driving laws of Nepal may not be enough. When faced with unwanted situations, it is best to know what to do and how to overcome them. Below are some tips on how to face unwanted situations when driving in Nepal.

Car Breakdown

In the event of a car breakdown, there should be a warning triangle placed on the side of the road. You will be responsible for changing flat tires, but you may also opt to call Nepal roadside assistance companies. In the event of a major car breakdown, call your car rental company immediately and seek for assistance. Most car rental companies offer 24-hour call center assistance without extra charges.

Listed below are some of the contact information for roadside assistance companies:

Bajaj Service: (+977) 9988779900

Exide Batmobile Service: 01-4244475

NepalETS: (+977) 9857077788

Roadside Assistance Nepal: 01-4114661

Police Stops

Police in Nepal tend to perform random inspections at any given place. Remember to stay calm and cooperate with the local authorities. You should always be ready to present documents necessary for your trip, such as:

  1. Your IDP
  2. Your local driver’s license
  3. Passport
  4. Car rental documents

Asking Directions

Sometimes directions could be confusing, even when you are using a GPS. This is especially true when the side you are driving on is different from what you are used to. Nepal's roads, especially outside cities, are filled with many curves and turns. When you are getting a little lost, don’t be afraid of asking for help from the locals.

Nepalis are friendly people, so don’t be afraid to ask for directions! Make sure you are being respectful by greeting them by placing your palms together like you are praying and saying namaste or namaskar. When addressing someone older than you, use respectful terms like dai for men and didi for women. These terms come in handy, especially when you’re talking to a stranger.

Checkpoints

Checkpoints in Nepal are not uncommon, so you don’t need to worry. Local authorities usually perform random driving license checks and car inspections, especially during festivals and peak seasons. When you encounter a checkpoint, make sure everyone in the vehicle are visible to the authorities by rolling the windows down and turning on the light inside the car when you are driving at night.

It is important that you cooperate with them to avoid getting in trouble. Be ready to present your documents such as your IDP, passport, local driver’s license, and car rental documents. Failure to present these necessary documents may raise suspicion and may lead to you being fined.

Other Tips

In some countries, honking your car horn may seem disrespectful and should be avoided as much as possible. In Nepal, it’s a different case; the country was once known for having one of the nosiest roads because of honking. Nepalis are known for their excessive horn honking, so the local authorities placed a fine in Kathmandu for those who love to honk for unimportant reasons.

You are still allowed to honk your horn, but only if there are sharp curves, emergencies, and when it is only absolutely necessary. If the authorities catch you honking unnecessarily, you may be fined up to 560 Nepalese Rupees. Kathmandu has now lessened their noise pollution because of this.

Driving Conditions in Nepal

Nepal’s streets are busy and bustling with life, teeming with different vehicles like motorcycles, buses, and private cars. Nepal’s roads are a bit different from what most may be accustomed to, and it may even seem a little intimidating at first glance. Below are some things you need to be aware of when driving in Nepal.

Accident Statistics

To some drivers, Nepali roads may pose a challenge, especially ones outside of the city. The roads themselves are not as developed as those of other countries, with landslides often occurring and causing damages. Drivers should be careful around mountainous areas, as the roads are winding and may be filled with potholes.

When driving in the city, drivers should be wary of the local drivers and pedestrians in the area. 44% of the road accidents that occur in Nepal are caused by the negligence of the drivers. Always remember to buckle up and drive carefully to avoid unwanted situations. It is also common to find animals such as cows roaming around the street. Always be mindful of your surroundings and practice defensive driving.

Common Vehicles

When driving around Nepal, you would not be surprised to be next to busses and motorcycles. Roads in Nepal are filled with varying vehicles such as motorcycles, delivery trucks, passenger buses, and small family cars. Nepalis usually get around the city using bikes and motorcycles, while some opt for family cars. For tourists who are out for adventure, most of them rent off-road 4x4s to help get around the rural areas and mountains.

When choosing your vehicle, remember to consider where you are planning on going. Cities like Kathmandu might seem a little tight if you are using a big vehicle. You also need to consider the luggage and passenger space the car has to offer. If you are opting for a motorcycle, you also need to rent a helmet as it is illegal to drive in Nepal without one.

Toll Roads

Toll roads are present on the seven major highways in Nepal. The toll rates for the highways vary depending on your vehicle size and type. When encountering toll roads, remember to prepare your IDP to present to the authorities and your Nepali Rupees (NPR). Below is a short list of the highways with toll roads and their respective rates.

  • Naubise-Mugling Road

- Motorcycles: 10 NPR

- Car, Pickup Van: 50 NPR

- Bus, Minibus: 120 NPR

  • Hetauda-Narayanghat Road

- Motorcycles: 10 NPR

- Car, Pickup Van: 40 NPR

- Bus, Minibus: 100 NPR

  • Narayanghat-Butwal Road

- Motorcycles: 10 NPR

- Car, Pickup Van: 60 NPR

- Bus, Minibus: 130 NPR

  • Bhairahawa-Bhumahi Road

- Motorcycles: 10 NPR

- Car, Pickup Van: 20 NPR

- Bus, Minibus: 30 NPR

  • Panchkhal-Melamchi Road

- Motorcycles: 5 NPR

- Car, Pickup Van: 15 NPR

- Bus, Minibus: 50 NPR

  • Dhulikhel-Khurkot Road

- Motorcycles: 15 NPR

- Car, Pickup Van: 50 NPR

- Bus, Minibus: 125 NPR

  • Khurkot-Sindhuli-Bardibas Road

- Motorcycles: 15 NPR

- Car, Pickup Van: 45 NPR

- Bus, Minibus: 115 NPR

Road Situation

Roads in Nepal are quite tricky to use if you’re not careful. Road markings are not very common in Nepal, and there is no clear lane for bikes and motorcycles. The roads are not well maintained and are sometimes impassable during the monsoon season (June to August) because of natural disasters like landslides and floods.

Traffic is also expected in city centers like in Kathmandu, so drivers need to be patient when driving. You may be surprised to find animals like cows and chickens roaming the streets, especially in rural areas. You need to drive slow and be cautious at all times during your trip to Nepal.

Driving Culture

Nepalis have earned a reputation for being reckless drivers. One needs to be careful and vigilant when driving in Nepal as the locals tend to forget to use their signal lights. Overtaking is also common in Nepal, as well as motorcycles over speeding. These driving tendencies the locals have has caused many accidents in the past.

Because of this, local authorities became stricter in implementing road rules and regulations. You have to be careful in following the road rules as local authorities will not hesitate to impose a fine if they find you disobeying the law. Exercise caution at all times as some Nepali pedestrians tend to cross the road at any given time.

Other Tips

The most suitable mode of transportation in Nepal is by road travel, especially by car and motorcycle. Nepal is a landlocked country and is surrounded by mountains, and this makes other means of transportation very difficult. It is best to know your preferred mode of transportation before traveling to Nepal so that you can customize your itinerary to your heart’s content.

Motorcycles are more common and preferred when you’re planning to stay within the city. This makes your travel time shorter and gives you the chance to check out all the streets in Nepal. When you’re traveling with your family or friends, or when you prefer a more comfortable ride, small compact cars are recommended as it is easier to drive and park. Always remember to bring your IDP and other necessary documents with you when you are driving.

Things To Do in Nepal

Whether you’re visiting Nepal as a tourist or if you’re planning to stay long term, Nepal will welcome you with open arms. There are a lot of things you can do to keep you busy in this wonderful country. Here is a little guide for your trip to Nepal, whether you’re there for leisure or if you’re searching for your next home.

Drive as a Tourist

Yes, you can! Driving around Nepal is a great way to visit sights and wonders such as Chitwan National Park and even to the base of Mount Everest. Take full control of your itinerary and explore the country at your own pace by driving around. In order to drive as a tourist in Nepal, you would need an IDP, your local driver’s license, and your passport. Driving not only gives you comfort but convenience as well, allowing you to reach destinations faster than public transportation, especially when traveling long distances

Work as a Driver

If you want to work as a driver in Nepal, you would need a Nepali driver’s license. Thankfully, you can convert your local driver’s license with the help of your country’s embassy. You can also apply for a Nepali driver’s license when you reach the country. Typically, drivers in Nepal could earn around 31,500 NPR a month, with 21,600 NPR as the lowest driver’s salary and 98,500 NPR as the highest.

Work as a Travel Guide

If you want to share your love for Nepal to visitors, you can opt to work as a tour guide. The average salary tour guides in Nepal typically earn is 48,700 NPR a month. The lowest salary per month would go from 24,300 NPR and the highest would be 75,500 NPR. Tour guide salaries depend on the company you chose to work at and your experience skills.

Tour guide companies will look for people who have a vast experience in being a tour guide and mastery of the Nepali language. Of course, they will also check how much you love Nepal and how much you want to share its beauty to visitors.

Apply for Residency

Found your forever-home in Nepal? You can apply for residency in this beautiful country to make your stay more permanent. There are many types of visas you can apply for in Nepal like Nepal Family Visas which can make your stay longer. Ultimately, you can apply for a residential visa, which lets you stay in Nepal and apply for residency.

Applying for a Residential Visa

Residential visas come in two types, depending on the nature of your application. The first type is when you want to live in Nepal without engaging in paid activities. This first visa type is when you just want to relocate and retire in Nepal. The second visa type is when you have invested at least USD 100,000 in an industrial business, making you relocate to Nepal.

Both visa types have different requirements and fees. We have listed below the requirements for each visa type and how much the fees would be.

First visa type:

  1. Printed Nepal Resident Visa Application form from http://online.nepalimmigration.gov.np/residential-visa
  2. Proof of regular income of at least USD 20,000 annually
  3. Photocopy of your passport and latest visa page
  4. Photocopy of your Nepal visa
  5. Character certificate
  6. No Objection Certificate from your country’s embassy
  7. Proof of Retirement
  8. Bank statements showing at least USD 20,000
  9. Health Certificate issued by T.U. Teaching Hospital in Nepal
  10. Payment of the visa fee (USD 700 annually)

Second visa type:

  1. Printed Nepal Resident Visa Application form from http://online.nepalimmigration.gov.np/residential-visa
  2. Letter of recommendation from Nepal Department of Industry or Commerce
  3. Photocopy of the registration certificate of the company
  4. Photocopy of your Nepal visa
  5. Photocopy of your passport and latest visa page
  6. Photocopy of your shares certificate
  7. Photocopy of the VAT/PAN certificate
  8. Payment of the visa fee (USD 500 annually)

Other Things to Do

There are still a lot of things you could do in Nepal, especially if you’re planning on staying for a long time. If you are planning on living like a true local, below are some other things to do and tips to make them easier for you.

How Do I Get a Driver’s License in Nepal?

“How to get a driving license in Nepal” is a common question asked by many, as there are good working opportunities as a driver found all throughout the country. In order to get a Nepali license, you need to fill out an online driving license form, pass a driving written test, and pass a driving test in Nepal. You can also ask for help from your country’s embassy, as some licenses like those from the United States are exempt from taking the exams.

What Are the Steps in Getting a Nepali License?

Applying for a driving license in Nepal has become easier and more convenient, as it can be done both online and in person. Here are is a step-by-step guide

  1. Fill out a driving license form: Online driving license application is made through their website. If you’re already in Nepal, you can go directly to the Department of Traffic Management office and fill out the same form.
  2. Submit your form: You need to go to the Department of Traffic Management office in Nepal to submit your driving license form. If you have filled out an online driving license form from their website, you still need to go to the office. The staff there will take your biometrics, picture, and will be tested for color blindness. You will also need to submit a copy of your citizenship certificate and pay 10 NPR for a stamp.
  3. Take the driving license written test: You will need to take a written test in order to prove your knowledge about the road laws in Nepal. The exam is usually scheduled the next day after you have submitted your online registration form for your driving license or your physical application form. The exam costs around 500 NPR and lasts for about 30 minutes.
  4. Take the trial exam for driving license. Once you pass your driving license written test, you have to take the trial exam for driving license. The Department of Traffic Management will schedule you for the exam, and you have to present your original citizenship card and receipt for the trial driving exam.
  5. Submit your admit card: Once you’ve passed the trial driving exam, the instructor will forward an admit card to your address. The admit card should be presented to the Department of Traffic Management office within 35 days from the trial exam, along with your citizenship card and recent passport-sized pictures in order for you to claim your Nepali driver’s license.
  6. Receiving a temporary slip: There will be instances where the Department of Traffic Management will not be able to release your Nepali driver’s license. Instead, you will be given a temporary slip, which will act as your official license for the time being. Remember to keep your temporary slip safe and in good condition. Consider having it laminated in order to keep it dry.
  7. Receiving your Nepali driver’s license: When your Nepali driver’s license is ready, the Department of Traffic Management will notify you. You need to surrender your temporary slip when claiming your license. You would also need to pay 1,500 NPR to 4000 NPR, depending on your license type. Your new driving license is written in English.

How Do I Fill Up the Online Driving License Form in Nepal?

One of the common questions asked is how to fill up the online driving license form. The great thing about the online registration form for driving in Nepal is that it is very straight forward. It is written in English and all you have to do is fill in the blanks on the form. Afterwards, you will be given instructions on where and how to pass the form to the Department of Traffic Management in Nepal.

Is There a Driving License Written Test?

The driving license written test consists of questions regarding Nepal’s traffic rules, transport laws, and how to operate a car. The test only consists of 20 multiple-choice questions and can be taken in English. There are a few review books in English that are available but finding them might pose as a challenge as it is not as common.

The written test result for the driving license will be released on the same day you took the exam. For you to know your written test result, you can either wait at the testing center from 4 pm onwards, texting the Department of Transport Management by sending W.T. <space>Applicaton ID’ to 31003, or by visiting their website.

Trial Exam for Driving License

In the trial exam, you will be asked to show how much you can control your vehicle. You will sit inside a car along with a test instructor as they ask you to operate the car like parking and turning. To some, this might pose as a challenge since Nepal drives at the left side of the road. They are one of the few countries in the world who does this, along with Australia and Japan.

You may opt to enroll at a driving institute in Nepal if you want to learn and practice driving more before you take the exam. There are a couple of driving institutes in Nepal like Suzuki Driving School and Mahan Nepali Driving Institute who will also help you adjust to Nepal’s driving culture. Below are contact information of some driving institutes in Nepal:

Mahan Nepali Driving Institute: +977 985-1057408

New Namaste Nepal Driving Institute: +977 984-1322636

Safe Driving Institute Nepal: +977 980-8027608

Suzuki Driving School: +977-01-5193374

Can I Ask Our Embassy for Help?

Your country’s embassy can actually make your Nepali driver’s license application easier for you. As long as you have a driver’s license from your home country, you can ask your embassy to certify it for you. You need to ask your embassy for a “Driver’s License Affidavit” and pay the necessary fees. After which, present the following documents to the Department of Traffic Management:

  1. Driver’s license affidavit
  2. Citizenship certificate
  3. 2 Passport-sized photos
  4. Driving license application form
  5. Your driver’s license from your home country

With these documents, you will be exempted from the driving written test and the trial exam. However, you will still need to take the eye exam and medical exam, and pay for the necessary fees, depending on your license type. After that, they will take your biometrics and will be provided with a temporary slip that you can use for driving until they can release your official Nepali license.

The Top Destinations in Nepal

Nepal is filled with many wonders that are perfect for those who seek an adventure. Nepal is filled with many natural wonders and is rich and vibrant in culture. You can visit temples, go on a trek, go on a food adventure, or just enjoy the local scene. Here are some of the top destinations you can visit on your next trip to Nepal.

Boudhanath Stupa Photo by Raimond Klavins

Boudhanath Stupa (Bodhnath)

The Boudhanath Stupa, or simply Bodhnath, is one of the largest stupas in the world. A stupa is a Buddhist structure that acts as a place of meditation, a burial ground, and a place to store religious objects. Learn about the history and culture of Buddhism in Nepal at Bodhanath at visit the monasteries around it. You can also take a short course in pottery, woodcarving, and even painting in the stupa.

Driving Directions:

  1. From the airport, follow Ring Road
  2. Turn right to the Boudhadwar Marg to Boudha-Jorpati Road
  3. Follow the road straight ahead until you reach Boudhanath Stupa

Things to Do

There are a lot of things you could do when visiting Bodhnath. We have compiled a small list of must-do activities when you’re in the area.

  1. Go around Bodhnath

    Bodhnath is noticeably in a form of a circle which is an important shape in Buddhism. Go around the stupa with the devotees as you experience and learn about prostration rituals. You can also turn the giant prayer wheels inside the stupa which are used to accumulate good karma and wisdom.
  2. Visit Phulbari Street

    Phulbari street is located outside of Bodhnath and is home to many snack vendors and restaurant. Go on a food adventure and try the local cuisine; it’s said that the best Tibetan food are found around Bodhanath. You can also buy many souvenirs in Phulbari like Thangka paintings, statues, and prayer flags.
  3. Drop by Ghyoilisang Peace Park

    Ghyoilisang Peace Park is located in the neighborhood around Bodhnath and is a place where you can find monks resting. There is a pond in the park that is said to be holy with a giant statue of Guru Rinpoche in the middle, surrounded by orange carps. The soil from the pond is said to be used to make the Bodhnath.
Sagarmatha National ParkPhoto by Jean Woloszczyk

Sagarmatha National Park

Sagarmatha National Park is home to many rare animals and beautiful fauna and flora. Located at the base of Mount Everest, Sagarmatha National Park was heralded as part of UNESCO’s World Heritage List, giving you the chance to see glaciers, gorges, and beautiful trees in the forest. Catch a glimpse of the famous red panda, snow leopard, wolves, and the Himalayan Black Bear roaming around their natural habitat.

There are not any driving roads that lead directly to Sagarmatha National Park. You will need to drive to Kathmandu and ride a bus to the national park. Once you reach the drop-off area, you will need to trek for a total of 5 to 10 days.

Driving Directions:

  1. From the airport, follow Ring Road
  2. Continue to follow the road until you reach Gyaneshwor Marg
  3. Turn left to Bhagawati Marg
  4. Once you reach Narayanhiti Path, turn right and follow Nagpokhari Marg until you reach Kathmandu

Trekking options:

  1. From Kathmandu, you need to travel to Jiri. From Jiri, you will need to trek ten days to reach Sagarmatha National Park
  2. From Kathmandu, you can travel to Salleri. From Salleri, you will need to trek five days to reach Sagarmatha National Park

Things to Do

Here is a list of the things you can do when visiting Sagarmatha National Park:

  1. Go trekking

    Sagarmatha National Park is home to different terrains, giving you many different trekking trail options. There are at least 40 different mountains inside the national park, each with different trekking difficulties, so be sure to check those out before heading to the park.
  2. Go animal spotting

    The world-famous national park is home to many different animals, from your common deer to rare and endangered bears. You can try your luck in spotting these beautiful creatures, along with the beautiful birds that also roam the area. Its best to visit the park from March to May, to avoid heavy rainfall and snow storms.
  3. Visit Gokyo Lakes

    Gokyo lakes is a chain of six glacier-fed lakes inside the national park. Here, you can hike along the glaciers in the Himalayas where you can find the best views of Mount Everest and Cho Oyu mountain. You can also visit the nearby town of Sherpa to see a supposedly authentic Yeti skull.
Pashupatinath Temple Photo by Fares Nimri

Pashupatinath Temple

Pashupatinath Temple is one of the most famous temples in Nepal as it is one of the most important Buddhist temple dedicated to Shiva. The temple is the largest temple complex in Nepal and is also part of UNESCO’s World Heritage list. Learn and experience Buddhist and Nepali rituals as hundreds of rituals are performed throughout the day. Pashupatinath Temple is also home to hundreds of historical paintings and statues, making it an important destination for art historians and connoisseurs.

Driving Directions:

  1. From the airport, follow Ring Road
  2. At Gaushala Chwok Road, take the 3rd exit and stay on Ring Road
  3. Turn right at Jayabageshwori Marg
  4. Turn left at Pashupati Nath Road and follow it until you reach your destination

Things to Do

Here is a list of things you can do and experience while visiting the majestic Pashupatinath Temple:

  1. Consult an Astrologer

    Astrology is an important part of a Nepali’s life, guiding them through important life events and transitions like marriage and starting a new job. Pashupatinath Temple is home to dozens of astrologers who you can ask for a consultation. Remember to take note of the exact time of your birth; the astrologer will need it for a more accurate reading.
  2. Experience Ayurvedic healing

    Ayurveda is a natural way of healing by relying on natural medicines and remedies. Ayurvedic healing promotes lifestyle practices like yoga and meditation to help prevent illnesses. In Pashupatinath temple, you can ask the experts in Ayurveda what you can do for a more healthy and natural lifestyle.
  3. Witness some of the rituals

    Hundreds of rituals are performed in the temple every day and some are even open to the participation of the crowd. Be sure to check the schedule for the rituals to know the ones you can participate in.
  4. Meditate

    Here in Pashupatinath temple, you can try to connect and be one with the earth through mediation in one of the many temples in the complex. You can join spiritual retreats or participate in meditation courses to help you explore your spiritual side.
Patan Photo by Swodesh Shakya

Patan

Visit Nepal’s third-largest city, Patan, a city that prides itself on preserving its old-world charm and traditions. Home to Nepal’s finest craftsmen, Patan is filled with various traditional arts and beautiful temples. Experience the city’s colorful festivals and be in awe as you walk through the old royal palace grounds called Patan Durbar Square, another destination that is part of UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

Driving Directions:

  1. From the airport, follow Ring Road
  2. Continue straight on Ring Road until you reach Araniko Highway
  3. On Araniko highway, turn right when you reach an exit to Ring Road
  4. Follow Ring Road until you reach Patan

Things to Do

Here is a list of things you can do when you’re visiting the city of Patan:

  1. Go on a cultural tour

    Learn more about the traditional artworks and crafts surrounding the city through a cultural tour. The cultural tour will also teach you about the rich culture of Nepal and its history. You will also be given the chance to interact with the cultural groups in Patan.
  2. Take a short course on traditional crafts

    Patan is known as the Handicraft City of Nepal, making it the perfect place to learn how to craft traditional arts like woodcarving, pottery, painting, and even stone masonry. Create your own souvenir for a more memorable keepsake of your Nepali adventure. Some of the master craftsmen of Patan offer short courses, so be sure to check them out.
  3. Go shopping

    Many of the things you can buy in Patan are intricate artworks created by their finest craftsmen. Here you can buy many gold trinkets, traditional paintings, and metal artworks. You can also pick up some Nepali tea, beautiful carpets, and the famous Ghurkha knife.
Pokhara Photo by titas gurung

Pokhara

Go on a road trip to Pokhara, one of Nepal’s cities that provides one of the best trails in the Himalayas. Pokhara is known to be one of the best places in Nepal for you to unwind and appreciate the beauty of Nepal’s beautiful scenery. Here, you can join a guided hike up Mount Everest, watch the sunrise on Sarangot Viewpoint, or paddle around Phewa Lake.

Driving Directions:

  1. From the airport, follow Ring Road
  2. Continue to stay on Ring Road until you reach Madan Bhandari Road
  3. Stay on Madan Bhandari Road until you see a roundabout
  4. At the roundabout, take the 1st exit to Thapathali Road
  5. Turn right to Tripura Marg and stay on the road until you reach Kalimati Road
  6. Stay on Kalimati Road until you reach Ganeshman Singh Road
  7. Follow Ganeshman Singh Road until you reach Ganeshman Singh Path
  8. Stay on Ganeshman Singh Path until you reach Kalankisthan Road
  9. Follow Kalanskithan Road until you reach Pokhara

Things to Do

Here is a list of things you could do while visiting Pokhara:

  1. Go white water rafting

    Pokhara’s Upper Seti river is one of the best places to go white water rafting in Nepal. The river lets you experience riding class III and IV rapids while offering a great view of Annapurna massif. Paddling down Upper Seti river will only take you 90 minutes, a perfect activity for short day trips.
  2. Go trekking on the famous Annapurna Circuit

    Annapuruna Circuit lets you hike through some of Nepal’s best views, from quaint villages, exotic forests, and snowy mountain ranges – all while giving you some of the best views of the mountain peaks. The circuit can last for 17 to 20 days, depending on your route and pace, but it is recommended to take it slow so you can get acclimated. The best months for trekking are November to early December and April to May.
  3. Go paragliding

    Go on a 30 minute flight in Pokhara, one of the best rated paragliding locations in the world. Enjoy the view of the city, beautiful snowy mountains, and Phewa Lake as you glide down Pokhara for 30 minutes. Try to go paragliding during midday for a more enjoyable experience.
  4. Enjoy Phewa lake

    Phewa lake offers many activities to foreign tourists and locals alike. You can go fishing, taking a scenic walk around the lake, or ride a boat to the center of the lake. Phewa lake offers some of the best views of Pokhara. Catch a glimpse of the World Peace Pagoda and Harpen Khola stream while relaxing on this wonderful lake.

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