Getting from Kathmandu to Pokhara

Traveling between Kathmandu and Pokhara, despite the relatively short distance of 126 miles (204 km), can be a lengthy journey due to the challenging terrain and road conditions in Nepal. As a result, many travelers choose to fly between the two cities for a quicker and more comfortable experience. Here are your transportation options for traveling between Kathmandu and Pokhara: by air or by road.

By Flight (30 minutes)

By Flight (30 minutes)

Flying between Kathmandu and Pokhara is the fastest and most comfortable option, especially if you're short on time. Flights depart daily from Tribhuvan Airport's domestic terminal and typically take around 30 minutes. The journey offers stunning views of the Himalayas, particularly from the right side of the plane. Flying allows you to arrive feeling refreshed and with ample time for activities on the same day, unlike overland travel. While flights are convenient, costs vary by season and booking method, averaging around $125 USD one-way when purchased online. It's often simpler to include flights as part of a tour package. However, flight delays due to inclement weather or incoming flight issues are common drawbacks to consider.


By Road (6-8 hours)

By Road (6-8 hours)

Regardless of the mode of road transport chosen, the journey from Kathmandu to Pokhara follows the same route, so one option isn't inherently faster than another. The primary factor impacting your travel time is the traffic around the Kathmandu Valley, which varies depending on the time of day.

Opting for a private vehicle offers the advantage of flexibility, allowing you to request stops along the way, and smaller vehicles can navigate through traffic more efficiently than larger buses. Private vehicles typically come with a dedicated driver, providing a convenient and customizable travel experience.

Private Jeep

Jeeps, with their 7-8 seats, offer the largest and most comfortable private vehicle option for traveling between Kathmandu and Pokhara. The cost for a one-way journey is approximately $250 USD.

Private Car

Private cars, accommodating four passengers, provide a more compact option for travel between Kathmandu and Pokhara at a cost of around $145 USD for a one-way trip. If you prefer a car with air conditioning, you can expect to pay a slightly higher price.

Tourist Bus

Most tourist buses depart from Kathmandu's Kantipath Road, near Thamel, around 7 am, with tickets priced at $6.50 USD (Rs. 700). While it's not always essential to buy tickets in advance, doing so is advisable during peak seasons or for larger groups. These buses typically offer similar comfort levels, including amenities like a complimentary water bottle, air conditioning (though onboard WiFi may not always function), and regular rest stops for food and breaks.

For a more upscale experience, the Greenline Bus departs from a small bus park opposite the Garden of Dreams in Thamel at 7:30 am, with tickets priced at $25 USD. This premium fare includes perks such as a buffet lunch, travel insurance, and access to an indoor waiting room at the bus park. Comfort stops on this route are generally of higher quality compared to other tourist buses.

While tourist buses may not necessarily be faster than other modes of transportation, they are often considered a safer option due to better-than-average driving standards.

Public Bus

Public buses offer the most economical option for traveling between Kathmandu and Pokhara, priced at approximately $4 USD (Rs. 450) for a one-way trip. These buses, available in full-size or smaller microbus options, depart regularly throughout the day from locations like the Gongabu Bus Park. While public buses may not be slower than tourist buses—in fact, they can sometimes be faster due to less adherence to speed limits and fewer comfort stops—they are significantly less comfortable. Expect no air conditioning, aged seating, loud music, and often crowded aisles filled with passengers and luggage. Opting for a public bus is primarily advisable for those on a tight budget or with scheduling constraints that don't align with the early morning departures of tourist buses.

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