I hadn’t thought about heading into Nepal when I first bought my Royal Enfield Bullet in India, mainly because I had not even planned on buying a motorbike even when I arrived in India; it all happened spontaneously.
Researching Crossing the Nepalese border from India
After I make my mind up that I wanted to visit Nepal on the motorbike after touring around India, I started to do some research. I found various questions on forums and posts on blogs which discussed what you should do but I still was not 100% sure so I wanted to write out the details of what I did and how I did it. This is accurate as of the 26th March 2014.
- 1 Passport photo
- Dollars for Nepal visa fee – you can pay in other currencies so check the visa embassy website
- Registration certificate for motorbike – Does NOT have to be in your name
- Pollution certificate – Not sure if it’s compulsory but it’s only 100 rupees to get in India and looks good
- Passport with Indian visa inside so you can get a stamp out
- 1 Completed Nepalese (optional but nice to have it all filled out before you get there)
Border Crossing Process – Indian Side
I crossed the border at Bhimdatta, which takes you to Mahendranagar in Nepal as the first town. I had been up in the mountains in a
place called Munsyari which I would highly recommend if you are travelling around on your bike and have time. I rode from there to the border in one day, but it took me 11.5 hours and it was tough riding with only 2 x 5 min breaks for water, no food. The last 20km down to the border area or Banbassa are some of the best roads I have ridden on in India. They are smooth, very wide and when I came down on them around 3-4pm there were very few vehicles.
Anyway, I digress. I made my way to the border crossing at around 5.30pm. As you go over a bridge, turn left along a narrow part of a bridge and you will turn right at the end. There is a very small immigration office there with some people sitting outside at a desk. It’s not well signposted at all. They will take your passport and stamp it and give you a form to fill in for Nepal if you need one. That’s it, simple. Took me 10 mins.
Border Crossing Process – Nepalese Side
You have to ride about 1.5km after the Indian border crossing, where you cross a small bridge (again, there are no signs so ask) where you will come to a barrier and be asked to head into the immigration office. It’s a very small building and I totally missed it. There was no one there when I arrived at around 5.45pm.
I got my visa in 10 mins and changed up some money from dollars and Indian rupees into Nepalese rupees. Very quick and easy with no fuss. I then had to visit the customs office which was another very small building but on the other side of the barrier. There was no one there and I walked in, sat down and got my road tax for 1 month.
They only asked to see the registration certificate but I gave them the pollution certificate as well. The bike is not in my name and they didn’t ask any questions about it but I had a story ready. My story was that I had borrowed the bike from a friend, whose name is on the registration certificate and I was going to get a visa extension in Kathmandu and go back to India.
Roads from Mahendranagar to Pokhara via Butwal
I was expecting it to take me a while to get from the border crossing down to Butwal area, which I wanted to stay near to because I wanted to visit Lumbini before heading up to Pokhara. However, the roads were so amazing and clear that I got to Butwal in one day. It’s around 400km.
The roads go through large forests which have quite a few police checkpoints along them. It’s no problem when going through the checkpoints as most of the time the police have no questions to ask. They are mainly interested in checking lorries which have larger loads in them.
You can cruise along the roads at good speed. I was sitting at 80kph for most of the time apart from when I needed to stop or slow down for checkpoints and turns…There are very few cars along the road so it’s really nice to drive along this route. I hadn’t realised how much it hurts when a leaf hits you in the face at 80kph until this part of my journey. The leaves which were pretty hard because they were dry and falling from the trees were falling like rain from the sky so avoiding them was very difficult.
I stayed in Butwal and planned to go to Lumbini the next day. I stayed at a hotel called Sindoor and it was pretty good. The staff were very helpful, if a little on the lazy side when I first arrived. I like them and then helped me out, especially with getting my iphone fixed that I broke on the way to Lumbini when I dropped it on the floor after asking for directions.
The area itself is massive. I read that it’s 5km by 2km in size and it certainly seems that way. There are no signs though, so finding what you are looking for is very difficult. I was looking for the large golden temple. I spoke to a few people and they didn’t know where it was. I also spoke to a French guy who had been there for a day already and was staying inside of the park and he had not been able to find it either so I gave up and made my way back. On the way I had one more look and stumbled upon the World Peace Pagoda. It was an impressive building with very few people around because it was in the middle of the day and it was extra hot.
I used Google, as I usually do, to find out the route to get to Lumbini. It took me down some nasty roads which were very dusty and with no road surface at all. I was covered in dust and dirt by the time I arrived but on the plus side I had been riding through some small villages which were very nice and quiet.