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Crossing the India-Nepal Border by Motorbike

Crossing the India-Nepal Border by Motorbike

  • Author: Rob Jackson
  • Date Posted: Apr 7, 2014
  • Category:

Are you thinking about crossing the border from India to Nepal? Maybe by motorbike?

Hopefully this post will help you…

 

Here’s my experience and some tips to help you cross it without any issues.

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 decidedΒ 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.

2017 Update: I’m updating this when I can. There are plenty of comments below which I will add to the post as more info. becomes available.

Documents Required

 

  • 1 Passport photo
  • Dollars for Nepal visa fee – you can pay in other currencies so check the visa embassy website. Here is the London embassy page. Lonely Planet also have a good article on it.
  • 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
  • Nepalese Visa form (Nice to complete it before you arrive, but not essential)

Note:Β Citizens of most countries can get a visa on arrival for 15, 30 or 90 days.

Note 2: It would be ideal if you had an international driving license, which you can get from your own country. I didn’t have one when I crossed and they didn’t ask for it.

Road Tax Cost

 

You will also need to pay for road tax for the time you are there. When I went, you could only get 30 days at a time. The cost was around $70 I think. You have to pay it up-front, so make sure you have plenty of Dollars available.

If you need to stay for longer, you’ll have to go back to the border and renew the road tax certificate.

Thinking about buying a motorbike in India? Check out this post I wrote on it.

Border Crossing Process – Indian Side

 

I crossed the border at Banbassa/Bhimdatta, which takes you to Mahendranagar in Nepal as the first town. This is where I stayed for the first night of my stay.

There are several hotels around. After crossing the border, I took the 2nd or 3rd turning on my left and found a hotel.

India Nepal Border Crossing

I had been up in the mountains before that in a place called Munsyari. The views were incredible and it was very isolated which is something that I was looking for.

Munsyari India

It was over 70km to the nearest petrol station and ATM, so make sure you have supplies if you decide to visit any area up that way.

Riding in the mountains and across the border

Cruising on the open road

Munsyari Β I would highly recommend visiting 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 the Nepalese Visa 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 if you’re not sure) 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 was not in my name and they didn’t ask any questions about it but I had a story ready.

What’s your story…?

 

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.

Where are you going afterwards…?

 

If you are planning to head back into India after visiting Nepal for a short while, do you have the correct Indian visa? You’ll need a multiple entry one. I think some visas on arrival are just single entry, in which case you might need to get another one when you go back to India.

If you’re looking for something fun to do in Nepal, check out a beautiful ride I did from Pokhara to Muktinath. It’s quite a rough ride so make sure you don’t do it alone!

The Poker Run is another great thing to do. It goes from Kathmandu to Pokhara.

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.

Lumbini

 

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,Β but very relaxed and there was no rush to do anything.

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.

Lumbini Development

 

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.

Google Maps

 

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.

Share your story…

 

I’d love to hear from anyone else who has had experience in crossing the border, good or bad. It would also really help to share so other people know what to expect.

I will update the post with information as it comes in.

    65 Comments

  1. Hey Rob. Nice article.

    Planning to cross from India to Nepal in November.

    We’re you able to get your visa at Banbasa?

    And roads on Nepal side were great?

    I am heading for Bardia.

    • Hi Gary,
      Yeah, I got the visa there no problem. Visa on arrival. I just spoke to two friends who did the same thing last week and they were fine, too. I rode down from Munsyari to the border and the last 10km towards the border were amazing roads! New, wide and not many people on them. Great fun.

      The roads on the Nepalese side are good. I rode down the main roads from the border to Lumbini which is around 400km in one day. You could cruise along at 80kph no problem. You ride through some really nice parks where the roads are very straight for 4-5kms at a time with trees on both sides and not much traffic at all. I loved it. Just be careful where there are bridges because there are some nasty holes which could cause a puncture if travelling at 80, best to back off whenever you see a bridge coming up. I hit a few and there weer some horrible sounds but luckily no damage.

      Good luck,
      Rob

  2. Nice article Rob. Iam going there next week. We plan to enter through bhindatta. We don’t intend to go deep into Nepal. Is there a good place where we can stay and which is under 100 kms from the border.
    Anyone that you may have come across. Cheers!

    • Hi Dias,
      Glad you liked the post. I rode down to Butwal area within a day. I rode axorss the border and stayed in the first town just a few kms across the border. The ride down to Lumbini is 400km and can easily be done in a day. Great roads down that way. Let me know how you get on. Good luck!
      Rob

  3. Thanks for Such a Nice Details m from Nepal But By Birth m in India in Chilhood time Time once I used this way to Butwal n Narayangarh, But Now I also plan to ride Delhi to Narayangarh on Bike .
    Thanks Again

    • Hi Bhumi, Thank you for your comment. It’s nice to hear when people appreciate what I have written. I wish you luck on your journey. Take it easy πŸ™‚

  4. Hi Rob. Great article. I am planning to do a similar trip with some mates soon. Just wondering how hard it was to find a motorbike and roughly how much they are to buy? Thanks very much,
    Duncan

    • Hi Duncan,
      Thanks. I have another two article about it. One on buying a Royal Enfield in India and the other about the roads! Hopefully they will help.
      It depends on where you are really. In Delhi it will be cheaper to buy because from what I understand the demand is lower compared to how many bikes there are around. In Goa, where I bought mine, it was more expensive because there are a load of people wanting to buy bikes and not enough supply. It also depends on the bike and how good your negotiation skills are…Mine aren’t that great so I paid I think $1,500 US dollars for a 1996 Bullet Electra. That was a little on the high side. You can pick them up for around $450 – $1,000 but they aren’t usually in as good condition when at the cheapest end. It really does depend on who’s selling at the time. If you have any other questions, please ask as I’d be happy to try and help you if I can.

    • It depends on which bike u want, royal enfield 350 is around 80k rupees and and an indian bike fit enough is arround 50k

  5. Thanks! Very helpful! I’m riding my bike all the way from Hanoi, need to cross at banbassa in 2 weeks with no wiggle room (visa expiring!) So its very reassuring to know you got thru with a bike there just fine!

    • I hope you got on well and made it through the border without any issues? From Hanoi sounds like a real adventure!

  6. very well written.. got a lot of information about crossing the india-nepal border…. recently,i along with my two friends have taken “All India RoadTrip” covering 18,000 km on motorbike. The link to the video is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0w1pwXoR1o4

    now, i’m planning a solo trip to nepal..hope this goes well..!!
    what is the roadtax amount for a month to enter nepal??

    • Thanks. Your trip looks very good, well filmed and put together. That’s a good question. To be totally honest I can’t remember how much I paid…

  7. Hi man do you remember if they checked your drive licence ? I dont have any and wonder if they would let me cross it

    • Hi mate, I can’t remember 100% if they did or not. I only had my English drivers license and not an international one. I don’t think they checked it, they more more interested in checking the correct paperwork. I’m sure there is always a way around it though, even if they do ask for it…Hope it works out OK for you.

  8. Wonderful article.
    How far did you ride in Nepal ? any where close to Kodari ?

    • Thanks πŸ™‚
      I rode from the border to Pokhara, then to Kathmandu then did the Poker Run from KTM to Pokhara. From there I went with a small group up to a place called Muktinath, 3800M above sea level which was an epic ride!
      Are you riding around Nepal?
      Rob

  9. Can we drive the car to nepal from that border.

    • Hi, I’m pretty sure that you can.

    • Yes u can.

      • Thanks for confirming πŸ™‚

  10. hello jackson
    how much tax did you paid for 1 month stay??

  11. hi Rob

    Thanks for sharing !!

    this is very help full to me. bcoz i planning to this month on 12 Aug.

    so thank you so much.

    Vivek Singh Tomar

    • Hi Vivek,
      You’re welcome. I’m pleased it helped you. I hope you enjoy your trip on the 12th. Have fun and good luck πŸ™‚
      Cheers,
      Rob

  12. Hellow rob,i m planning to go nepal with my few class mates could you please tell me how much money you had paid in nepal and india borders.Tell me the money in indian currency.you really help me by this post.

    • Hello Krishna,
      To be honest with you I can’t remember how much it was. And for what? The visa? Or for the motorbike cost?
      Pleased that you found the post helpful and I hope you have a great trip πŸ™‚
      Rob

  13. Great article ..Namaste.
    My husband and myself are from the uk but we are based on nepal as my husband works for the British army based here in Nepal.
    We was wondering if it would be possible to do a tour from Kathmandu to Agra on our Royal Enfield & what problems would there be crossing the border into India ( we have British passports but have an official visa for Nepal)
    Thanks in advance.

    Regards

    Tammy Ruvino

  14. Great article ..Namaste.
    My husband and myself are from the uk but we are based on nepal as my husband works for the British army based here in Nepal.
    We was wondering if it would be possible to do a tour from Kathmandu to Agra on our Royal Enfield & what problems would there be crossing the border into India ( we have British passports but have an official visa for Nepal)
    Thanks in advance.

    • Hi Tammy,

      Sorry for the delay, I was just in Germany for a week. Bavaria is a beautiful place πŸ™‚ I assume you have a Nepali registered Enfield? I believe it should be fine, but you might need to pay some road tax charges. Although, because the cost of an Enfield in Nepal is much higher as the bike has been imported, you might not have to. I’ve heard mixed messages.

      In terms of Visa you should check whether your Nepali visa allows travel to India? If you are using your British passport you would need a visa, I believe. But they are starting to do visas on arrival now for India, so you might be able to do it that way? Just an idea.

      I hope it all works out OK for you, as I’m sure it will. Would love to hear how you get on with it. When are you going?

      Thanks,
      Rob

  15. Hi Rob,

    As many other people have pointed out, you’re article is wonderful and informative. My partner and I are trying to do the same thing, but we will be driving up on a Royal Enfield from Mumbai up into Nepal, back into India and then into Myanmar.

    The eVisa for India is 30 days single entry. You wrote something about getting a re-entry stamp into India from Nepal, but did which visa did you have? Did you have a multiple-entry visa? Did you change your visa while you were there from single to multiple entry? How did that work?

    Many thanks,
    Erika

    • Hi Erika,

      Thank you very much :). There are a lot more details that I wish I had written but at the time I didn’t think about it so much…

      I had a 6 month visa for India. It was before the eVisa which I assume are visa on entry were around. I believe I had a multiple entry but I didn’t use it. I stayed in India and then went into Nepal and then flew out of the country from there. Not sure what your best option is to be honest, but maybe they will issue you another visa when you go over the border back into India?

      Sounds like an amazing trip, especially to be heading down into Myanmar too. Enjoy. And let us know how you get on. Quite a few people read this and it might help them out too. I can add it into the blog post above if you write down the details. Would be very helpful actually.

      Cheers,
      Rob

      • Hi
        Is it mandatory that the vehicle should be registered in u r name to cross the border.

        • Coz my vehicle is registered on my brothers name and he is not joining me.
          Please confirm

          • Hi Azhar,

            No, the vehicle was not in my name either and I didn’t have any problems. I’m pretty sure you will be fine.

            Just say that you are borrowing the bike from a friend.

            Cheers,
            Rob

  16. Hi,
    I am from Nepal and I love your articles for sharing about Nepal and about Nepal trip.

    • Hi, thanks for your kind words. I’m pleased that you like the articles πŸ™‚

  17. Especially to Rob Jackson and thanks

    • You’re welcome Raju. Thanks for leaving a comment πŸ™‚

    • Hello Rob,
      Very good information, thank you.
      As I understand you bought the bike in India crossed into Nepal and sold the bike there? If the bike isn’t in your name to begin with, is it still an easy process to sell in Nepal? Thanks

      • Hi Fred,

        You’re welcome, I hope it helped in some way. Yes, I bought the bike in India and sold it in Nepal.

        From what I found when I was there, not having the bike in your name isn’t a problem. In India you can’t get your name on the registration certificate from my understanding, because you’re a tourist and not a resident. I could be wrong but that’s what I found.

        The problem with selling in Nepal is that anyone who buys it will have to be travelling back into India because you can’t keep an Indian bike in Nepal indefinitely. You have to keep paying for road tax for a foreign vehicle. So you’ll be limiting your potential buyers to only those who are travelling back into India.

        The reason is because there is a high tax for bringing vehicles into Nepal so the actual cost to buy an Enfield in Nepal is about 3x what it would be in India. Having to pay the road tax prevents people buying across the border in India and keeping them in Nepal.

        Just something to think about when you try to work out the logistics of buying and selling.

        Cheers,
        Rob

  18. Hi Rob,
    I am planning to stay in Nepal for next 2 years and I want my bike with me. But what I am afraid is that you said the tax is about 75$ for a month. If I stay there for like 2 years it would be around 900$ right, I can even buy a new bike with that by adding a little amount to that. So please give me your advice, “Is it a good idea to take my bike there for 2 years”.

    • Hi Kranthi,

      Yeah, that could be a problem. From the little that I know, the intended tax is not supposed to be for long term use. You can only get 30 days at a time and you have to head back to the border to get another permit each time. From my experience.

      The cost of buying another bike in Nepal for a Royal Enfield anyway, will be higher as the import tax has to be applied. Do you really need your bike or can you get one there? Might be a good idea to go and see if you can speak to some people to work out a better solution? Just an idea.

      I’m not sure what the fine would be if you were riding around Nepal with an Indian license plate without any tax? Hope that helps.

      Rob

      • According to my knowledge,purchase a new bike in nepal is better than your bike bring in nepal.

  19. hi , just want to know that , is 3G or 4G networks works there , all the region? if not then which navigator device can use

    • Hi Ajoy,
      I found that it was mainly 3g. Reception was not good at all. If I was needing to use GOogle Maps I would download the map offline or just browse it first when I had an internet connection so that I could have it without using data while riding.
      Hope that helps,
      Rob

      • lovely post
        I like it most,,, I was about to cross the Indian border with my bike from Bangladesh,,,,, Is it possible to take the bike in India… Plz if you could help me here,,,,plz help its a request
        by the way its a lovely post

        • Hi Arif,

          Thank you πŸ™‚ to be honest I’m not sure what the rules are for taking bikes from Bangladesh into India.

          It’s probably best to try and contact someone from the Indian side and ask if there are any rules about it.

          Do let us know how you get on as other people might be interested too.

          Thanks,
          Rob

    • Hello I’m Rajesh, please come in Nepal and explore it.almost everywhere you will get 3G network. 4G is only available in few cities.

      • Hi Rajesh,

        Thanks for the information. Pleased to hear that the network is growing nicely as it will help businesses grow.

        Hopefully I will make another trip soon πŸ™‚

  20. Hey rob its rajiv singh am 19 and i like biking too much i am from a small town near india nepal boarder( kushinagar)….. Your article is quiet apreciable, i hope you had a wonderful trip… Thanx a lot

    • Hi Rajiv,

      Thank you for your comment. Nice to hear from another person who likes biking too πŸ™‚

      I had a great trip. Ride safe.

      Cheers,
      Rob

  21. Hey Rob,

    Nicely done mate. Can I ask you how are the gas stations in Nepal? Is the gas accessible? I’m riding a small bike. I can do approximately 300 km on one tank. Do I need to carry extra container on me?

    Take care!
    Marcin

    • Hi Marcin,

      Apologies for the late reply, I didn’t see the message. Thanks :). There are lots of gas stations around and if not there are lots of people who have gas available for sale from bottles on the side of the roads. But it does depend on where you are. You’re nearly always within 300km of petrol for sure. The only place I thought having a container would have been useful was when I went into the mountains. I was 70km (which was a long ride) away from fuel. There was no gas station in the town. But even then people did trips to the station and had some available as they knew people would need it.

      Short answer, unless you’re going very remote you will be fine.

      Thanks for your comment,
      Rob

      • Hi, Can you tell me how much money did you spent on the fuel and food expenses. How much for the visa application.

        • Hi,

          fuel – it will depend on the bike, your riding style, the conditions and the cost of fuel. I think I got around 25km per litre of fuel. I had a 15 litre tank and could do 300km on it.

          Food – Food expenses are very unique. I eat a lot! It was over 3 years ago that I went to Nepal now so prices may have changed a lot. It’s also dependent upon where you are. You can find cheap food in the cities.

          Visa – Check this Link out. If you are arriving by land border, you need US dollars to pay for the fee. If you have an Indian passport I don’t believe you need a visa.

          Good luck with your trip πŸ™‚

          Rob

  22. Hello I am preparing to go Nepal on November if any one interested can come with me

    Just email me naveenmishra0522@gmail.com
    Call +919208553828

  23. i had a plan to visit on bike finally i’m goingNepal on 2018 February from Bangalore to Nepal on my hero impulse if anyone interested to come with me can call me 9611603713 i have my house there even you can stay with me looking for good company and good person as well frnd πŸ™‚

  24. hey mate, how’s going ?

    i was wondering about buying a motorcycle in new delhi, do you have any advices for that ?
    don’t want to drive a royal enfield, cheaper and smaller one should be enough, did already a 3 month trip in vietnam,cambodia and laos with a honda win…
    and how about fixing the bike beside the road in india and nepal in some mechanics ?
    is there maybe any internet site what gives you some more helpful informations ?

    thanks very much man and cheers for this article !! πŸ™‚

    • Hi Kurt,

      All good here thanks mate. Hope you’re well. Hmm, not specifically for buying in Delhi but I did write about buying an Enfield in India:

      http://www.travelandworktheworld.com/listing/india-buying-royal-enfield-india/

      I’m sure that similar points will be relevant for other types of bikes too. There are mechanics everywhere in India who can fix a bike for you, so don’t worry about that.

      Cheers,
      Rob

  25. Hello, we are german nationality and plan to make a trip from india – nepal – india we plan to rent motorcycles and the renting place we contacted told us that we can leave the country with there motorcycles. i was reading somewhere that u have to stay a certain time (60days or so ) in nepal before you can leave with the motorcycle again? that was an older post from around 2011. is there sutch a roul or is it no problem to enter east nepal with the motorcycles and leave in west nepal 2 weeks later? The motorcycles are registered/ rented in india.

    • Hi James,

      As far as I know you should be able to do that. There is usually a limit the other way around, so you can’t stay in Nepal for too long. You can pay for how many days you will be in Nepal at the border. If they’re Indian registered I don’t see why you would have to wait 60 days to go back into India.

      Hope that helps and it all works out well for you.

      Cheers,
      Rob

      • Thanks for the quick reply, i found out that some nationalities need to have a 60 day time frame between there entrys to india when using a multiple entry visa. so these notionalities would need to stay 60 days in nepal before they can enter india again.

        • Hi James,

          No worries. That’s good to know, thanks for the update. So it’s to do with the re-entry from a visa point of view, which is interesting. Seems kind of weird there would be a 60 day time frame though. Seems long?

          So it might be easier to get a single entry visa, leave to Nepal and then get another one when you cross the border again?

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