How to Backpack in Mesmerizing Kathmandu – Nepal with a Budget below 5000 for a week
Thamel: The heart of Kathmandu tourism
We reached in Thamel, a small town situated near Kathmandu – the capital of Nepal, after an exhausting 18 – hour bus trip from Mahendranagar. You must visit Thamel once you made it to Kathmandu. Buses from Kathmandu will take you to Thamel in just ten minutes. Thamel is the heart of adventure tourism in Kathmandu. This town will offer you opportunities to do bungee jumping, kayaking, Everest base camp trekking, Annapurna circuit trekking and many others adventure activities to enjoy the beauty of Kathmandu. Similarly, there are offices which are offering help and guides for tourists.
Thamel will also offer you natural therapy like acupuncture and bowl therapy. In Nepal, there are bars, hotels and souvenir shops fitting to all budgets. But if you are a backpacker like me, who doesn’t like to spend much, then your first destination should be those bike rental shops here.
First of all, in Nepal, there are no government bus services or trains. Therefore the best option for town to town budget travel is hiring bikes. But there is a countless number of bike rental shops here.
You can hire a scooter for 12 hours by submitting your passport as a security. We hired a scooter for just eight hundred rupees for 12 hours. I would love to mention the details of bike rental services from where we hired our scooter for the day: Multi Motor Bikes rental service, Z Street, Thamel, Kathmandu, Mobile number – 9851201920
Bhaktapur Durbar Square Near Kathmandu
Bhaktapur Durbar Square is a UNESCO world heritage site situated in current Bhaktapur town, 13 km from Thamel on the way to Nagarkot. It is the Royal Palace of Bhaktapur kingdom. The complex consists of four distinct squares and the whole area is known as Bhaktapur Durbar. Golden Gate, Lion Gate, Bhariyavanth Temple, the Statue of Bhupatindra Malla etc.. are the main attractions here. Actually the beauty of this place is what take me to Halebeedu, a world heritage site in Karnataka, India.
Nagarkot – Kathmandu
Nagarkot Nepal, a famous village for its stunning Himalayan views situated just under 30 km from Kathmandu. This village is 14 km away from Bhaktapur. You can reach here in one hour by bike after visiting Durbar. As we got near to Nagarkot, the road became very bumpy and stoney. We even fell down from the scooter once. It is possible to see Mount Everest from here. This small and beautiful village is famous for short trekking and sunset mountain watching.
Even though, we visited here in April, which is not the right time to visit we were lucky enough to experience the Himalayan rain while we were on the top of Nagarkot.
Lakeside – Pokhara
Pokhra is the biggest city in Nepal, sits on the lake Phewa. The best things to do here is walking around the lake enjoying the village air. Though, this place looks to me like a place from China. Anyway, this place is cheaper when compared to any other places in Nepal.
Other things to do in Pokhara
Visit Peace Pagoda
Peace Pagoda is at the south side of the lake. You can reach at the start of the trek by taxi or by using a rowing boat. From the start of the trail, it will take you 30 minutes to reach the top.
Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave
It is one of the biggest cave in Asia. A ticket will cost you around 100 rupees only. It is situated near Davis falls.
There are other attractions like the Twin Lakes – Begnas and Rupa Lake, Sarangkot and Davis waterfalls near Nagarkot.
How to reach from Thamel to Pokhara
Tourist buses leave between 7 am to 8 am from Kantipath near Thamel. There are also buses leaving in the evening which is more suited for a backpacker simply for economic reasons. We were charged 700 per capita and it took around 9 hours to reach Pokhara.
There are about 10 flights a day from Kathmandu to Pokhara. Flights will take you to Pokhara in 30 minutes.
Things to do and not to do for a backpacker in Kathmandu – Nepal
- Always carry your passport and ID proofs with you. Even though Indian city sons do not need a passport to visit Nepal, it will be required to hire bikes or to take sim card connections.
- If you are carring Indian currency, Keep them in denominations below 500. Most shops prefer it in that way.
- Don’t hesitate to ask for help. Most of the Nepali city sons are happy to help their visitors even though, most of them don’t speak English or Hindi.
- Food and accommodation in Nepal are on the higher side.
- It’s okay to sleep outside in Nepal if your budget is low.
- Alcohol is available everywhere. Even though, it is just on a higher side when compared to India.
- You don’t need to give any money as a security deposit for hiring bikes. If anyone asks for it beware; its a scam.
- Don’t encourage beggars.
- Take sim connection. N cell networks provides very flexible and cheap internet plans. However, you need to submit passport and your photograph for a sim connection.
- Please, don’t throw your plastic wastes around.
- In Nepal, there is no government bus service or train service available. So plan your destinations properly. Travelling could be expensive and time-consuming.
- Listen to Nepali music.
- If you are planning to border cross from India make sure to choose the border which is closer to your destination.
Where to Border Cross from India to Nepal?
There are many borders between India and Nepal. Indian city sons won’t be asked for passport on the border. However, please do carry any personal ID other than the Aadhaar card. Anyhow, don’t be surprised if no one asked for anything at all.
If you belong to any other nationality please do carry your passport with you. I am mentioning only three borders here. I am familiar with two of them. The third one is promoted by local people and travellers in general.
Sunauli Border Crossing
In my experience its best choice. Sunauli is in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh in India. Bus or share taxi will take you to Sunauali in 4 hours. They will charge 60 rupees per capita only. There are frequent connections between Kathmandu, Pokhara and Lumbini from here.
Raxaul Border Crossing
I have not been personally there. But most backpackers prefer this option. Raxual is in Bihar, India. There are direct trains from Patna and Kolkata to Raxual. Taxies and buses are available from Bodh Gaya to Raxaual. From the border, buses take 7 hours to reach Kathmandu and 8 hours to Pokhara. (Credit for information – trip savvy.com)
Banbasa Border Crossing
We choose Banbasa In Uttarakhand to enter into the Nepal side from India. Even though this border will offer the best view possible during the whole trip, you will end up in Mahendranagar in Nepal which is 16 to 19 hours away from Kathmandu, Nepal.
From Bareli Railway Station in Uttarakhand, which is reachable by train from Delhi, you can reach to the Satelite Bus Station by rickshaw in 10 minutes. Buses are always available to Tanakpur which is 3 hours away from Banbasa Border.
Banbasa is 11 km away from Tanakpur. From Banbasa you have to travel 3 km more to reach the Nepal Border. You can choose to walk this 3 km through Banbasa bridge build over the Banbasa dam in the beautiful Sharda River.
However, I got to tell you this, the view of the bridge is so beautiful that it worth the journey. If you are opting to go for taxies to cross the border from Banbasa, taxies are not allowed between 12 pm to 2 pm. But you can choose to walk past the border at any time.