2 day stopover in Kuala Lumpur, capital of Malaysia and one of our favorites cities in the world, has been productive. We have found and bought almost everything, that we still needed for hiking in Nepal, the rest we will buy already in Kathmandu. And now we are ready to fly to Nepal.
Going through the Immigration today takes longer than usually. But as we, as always, have arrived to the airport 2 hours before the time of departure, we make it on time. Some 9 other passengers aren’t that lucky.
We are already sitting on the plane for some time, when our captain announces: “We have decided not to wait for 9 passengers, who still are in the queue to the Immigration. But as these passengers have checked in their luggage, because of security reasons, we will have to find and unload their bags before we can depart. I assume that it will take approximately 30 minutes. But I will inform you as soon as I will have more exact information.”
Some 30 minutes later we depart. During the flight captain speaks few more times. It’s the first time in our 20+ flight experience, when captain speaks this much and gives quite a lot of really really relevant information – like informing us, what’s the time zone in Nepal and what is the local time there at this moment, so we can adjust our clocks.
Flight is bumpy. It looks like some 90% of all the passengers on the plane are Nepalese. When plane hits turbulence, everyone starts smiling immediately. They look so happy and cheerful. When the plane lands, there is a long applause from everyone on the plane. It’s our first time traveling to Nepal, and we haven’t yet left the airplane but we already like Nepalese.
It’s late evening. From above Kathmandu looked very dark. And now, leaving the plane, we understand, that it’s chilly, too. It’s +18C outside, but it feels colder. We haven’t experienced temperatures like this for almost half a year.
Obtaining visa on arrival in Nepal
Most of foreigners traveling to Nepal need visa. If you aren’t a citizen from one of the following countries – Nigeria, Swaziland, Liberia, Palestine, Ghana, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Afganistan, Zimbabwe, Somalia, Iraq, Syria – then you can obtain Nepalese visa on arrival in Nepal.
There are several visa validity options, when applying for visa on arrival in Nepal – 15 days (25 USD), 30 days (40 USD), 90 days (100 USD).
It is possible to extend Nepalese tourist visa for a maximum period of 150 days. This maximum is calculated for one calendar year. That means, if you have been in Nepal since July and until the end of year (5 months), then you can get new tourist visa for up to 150 days again starting from January 1.
It is possible to obtain Nepalese visa on arrival at 9 entry points – TIA (Kathmandu), Kakarvitta (Jhapa), Birganj (Parsa), Kodari (Sindhupalchowk), Belahia (Bhairahawa), Jamunaha (Nepalgunj), Mohana (Dhangadhi), Gaddachauki (Mahendranagar), Rashuwagadi (Rashuwa).
Obtaining Nepalese visa on arrival at Kathmandu International airport – May 2016, our experience
Kathmandu International airport is one of the smallest airports, where we have ever been. Getting out of the plane we instantly notice, that here it doesn’t look the same like at other airports in capital cities of countries where we have been so far. Entering the airport we know it for sure. It’s very ordinary-looking airport, more like a bus or train station.
Once you are inside, it’s really easy to understand where to go next to obtain visa on arrival. Right in the very first room, on the left side there are two “visa machines” standing by the wall. They look similar like ticket vending machines in train and metro stations in Europe.
- First – you need to go to one of these machines to enter information about yourself and to choose for how long time you will need visa – 15, 30 or 90 days. This machine also takes a photo of you. So you don’t need to hand in printed passport sized photos like in other countries, when obtaining visa. It is possible to scan your passport there and then, if it goes well (for me it worked, for Una – no), most of your personal data will be entered automatically. Once you finish, machine prints out a receipt.
- Second – take that receipt and go to the nearest counter. Here you need to hand over your passport, receipt and at the end to pay for your Nepalese visa. In my situation, man behind the counter said only one word – money. That meant, that I need to pay now. You need to pay in USD. There is no ATM or Money exchange kiosk at this part of Kathmandu International airport.
- Third – with all the papers you have go to the last counter and receive your visa. It takes couple of minutes.
If you don’t understand something or there are some technical problems entering your personal data or taking a photo, there should be at least one employee somewhere around, whose job is to help travelers, arriving to Nepal. At least there was one, when we traveled to Nepal.
For possible changes regarding procedure for obtaining visa on arrival in Nepal check out the website of Department of Immigration, Nepal.
Getting from Kathmandu International airport to city
After receiving visa collect your luggage and you are free to go. Just before the airport exit there is one currency exchange kiosk and prepaid taxi booth. It is possible to get to city by local bus, which costs significantly less that taxi. But taxi isn’t expensive either.
As it was late evening and we knew, that bus doesn’t stop by the airport, and we also had no Nepalese rupees as there was no ATM, we took taxi to Thamel, central part of Kathmandu. It cost us 800 NPR (about 7,5 EUR/8 USD). We paid in dollars.
If you walk a little bit further away from the airport it is possible to get cheaper taxi. Then you just need to agree about the price with the driver. Speaking about buses, as we haven’t tried them in Kathmandu ourselves, I can’t tell you too much about them. But you can read more about them (and also about how to get by bus to and from Kathmandu International airport) on the website of Nepal Explore Summit Treks.
If you still have some questions about traveling in Nepal, contact us!
Author: Kaspars Misins
Kaspars is a long term traveler and travel blogger from Latvia. He loves going on long walks, reading non fiction books and spending time outdoors. Together with his girlfriend Una they are traveling – volunteering – working abroad since 2013. On WeAreFromLatvia.com they share their experience and things learned along the way.