Discover the ultimate guide on travel to Nepal from the USA. Get expert tips, visa requirements, and must-see attractions. Start your adventure now!”
Nepal is a bucket-list destination, with its majestic Himalayan peaks, Buddhist and Hindu cultural heritage, and friendly local traditions. However, the long trans-Pacific journey and navigation of visas and flights can seem daunting for travelers from the USA trying to reach Nepal. This comprehensive guide covers all you need to know to smoothly travel to Nepal from the USA.
Table of Contents
Planning Your Trip from the USA to Nepal
Proper preparation is key to an enjoyable trip. Here are some tips:
Choose Your Entry Point: Kathmandu or Pokhara
- Kathmandu is Nepal’s capital and transportation hub, served by the majority of international flights. It’s best for exploring Nepal’s cultural side.
- Pokhara is Nepal’s second largest city, closer to the Himalaya. It’s best as a launching point for trekking.
- Both cities have international airports served by major airlines from the USA.
- There are no direct flights from the USA to Nepal. You’ll need to transit via Delhi, Doha, Seoul, Hong Kong, Bangkok or elsewhere.
- From the East Coast, popular routes are Newark–Delhi–Kathmandu or JFK–Doha–Kathmandu.
- From the Midwest, try Chicago–Seoul/Delhi–Kathmandu or Chicago-Doha-Kathmandu.
- From the West Coast, options are LAX/SFO–Hong Kong/Seoul/Bangkok–Kathmandu.
- Book tickets 4-6+ months early for the lowest fares. Shop around between airlines.
- Consider a stopover to break up the long journey, like visiting Delhi or Bangkok.
Obtain Your Visa
- US citizens can obtain a visa on arrival at Kathmandu or Pokhara airport. Lines are shorter in Pokhara.
- The visa costs $50 for 15 days, $100 for 30 days, and $125 for 90 days.
- Bring exact USD cash to pay the visa fee on arrival.
- Have a passport photo ready for your visa application.
- Consult your doctor and visit the CDC Nepal page for recommended vaccinations.
- Commonly recommended: Typhoid, Hepatitis A, Rabies, Meningitis, MMR.
- Start getting shots 4-6 months prior to your Nepal travel for full protection.
- In Kathmandu, book hotels/hostels in tourist districts like Thamel.
- For trekking, tea houses offer basic lodging in mountain regions.
- Reserve your 1-2 nights post-trek hotel in advance.
- Use booking sites to compare deals at hotels/hostels across Nepal.
What to Expect Upon Arriving in Nepal from the USA
After the long journey, you’ll land either in bustling Kathmandu Valley or peaceful Pokhara. Here’s what to expect as you enter Nepal:
Kathmandu Airport Arrival
- Exchange money to Nepali Rupees at the airport exchange desks after customs.
- Sim cards are available from booths after exiting customs. Bring an unlocked phone.
- Use the Visa on Arrival counter to the right after exiting the terminal. Have USD cash and passport photos ready.
- Arrange airport pickup with your hotel, or take the prepaid taxi stand or local bus just outside.
Pokhara Airport Arrival
- Exchange money and buy a sim card after collecting your luggage.
- The Visa on Arrival counter is just outside the terminal exit door.
- Metered taxis or hotel drivers wait just outside the terminal for pre-arranged pickups.
- Pokhara is much smaller – no need to arrange airport pickup if your hotel is central.
Either airport offers easy navigation to start your Nepal journey with friendly locals ready to assist. Freely travel to Nepal From the USA
How to Get Around Nepal as a Tourist from the USA
Nepal offers diverse transportation modes between its major tourist destinations:
- Domestic flights connect Kathmandu, Pokhara and other tourist destinations like Bhutan and Lumbini on Buddha Air, Yeti Airlines and others.
- Flights are short (15-50 mins) and fairly affordable. Pre-book during busy seasons.
- Tourist bus companies like Greenline offer direct buses between major cities with air conditioning and ample legroom.
- Buses run daily from early morning to late evening. Pre-booking is recommended.
- Local buses connect almost every destination in Nepal but with more crowding and road noise.
- Ideal for short daytime intercity trips to save money.
- Private cars and jeeps are available through hotels and tour operators for door-to-door service with a guide.
- Ideal for sightseeing at your own pace and for groups. More expensive than buses.
- Reserve vehicles/guides in advance during peak seasons.
Consider safety and convenience when deciding on transportation. For trekking access, buses and local flights work well.
Top Things To Do in Nepal
While trekking the Himalayas is a top draw, Nepal offers much more including:
Kathmandu Valley Temples and Palaces
- Swayambhunath (Monkey Temple) – Iconic Buddhist stupa with sweeping valley views
- Boudhanath – Enormous Tibetan Buddhist stupa surrounded by monasteries
- Pashupatinath – Important Hindu temple complex along the Bagmati River
- Patan Durbar Square – One of three royal palace squares in the Kathmandu Valley
- Bhaktapur – Well preserved old city with elegant temples and palaces
Trekking and Hiking
- Everest Base Camp – Two-week trek to view the world’s tallest mountain
- Annapurna Circuit – Two-week loop encircling the Annapurna massif
- Langtang Valley – One-week trek bordering Tibet with fewer crowds
Chitwan National Park
- Spot rare one-horned rhinos, elephants, and Bengal tigers on safari.
- Stay in jungle lodges for an immersive wildlife experience.
Pokhara and the Annapurna Region
- Pokhara – Relaxing lakeside town with Himalayan views
- Annapurna Base Camp – Shorter 4-7 day trek with stunning mountain scenery
- Sarangkot – Sunrise hilltop with sweeping Himalayan vistas
Rafting and Adventure Sports
- Whitewater Rafting – Paddle rapids along rivers like the Kali Gandaki and Trisuli
- Paragliding – Soar over Pokhara’s valleys and mountains
- Bunjee Jumping – Leap from one of the world’s tallest bungee sites at 160m
Nepal’s endless options satisfy any interest from culture to adventure.
Typical Budget for US Tourists in Nepal
- Flights – $800-$1500+ round-trip from USA to Nepal
- Visa – $50-$125 on arrival
- Accommodation – $10-30 per night (budget), $50-$100+ (mid-range hotels)
- Food – $3-10 per meal at local restaurants
- Transportation – Buses $5-20 for most routes, flights $100-200
- Trekking $40-70 per day with guide, porter, permits
- Rafting $50-100 per day
- Park fees $5-15 per entry
So $90-170 per day covers a comfortable trip including activities. Go mid-range on hotels and you can experience Nepal’s highlights for around $2000-3000 for a 2-3 week trip.
Health and Safety Considerations
Exercise normal safety precautions in Nepal:
- Only drink bottled water and avoid raw fruits/vegetables
- Bring hand sanitizer and practice good hygiene
- Avoid poorly cooked meat and street food
- Register with the US Embassy in Kathmandu
- Get comprehensive travel insurance with medical evacuation
- Research physical demands and risks of activities like trekking
- Bring copies of your passport, visa, travel documents
- Use hotel safes, lock valuables, avoid displaying expensive gear
With smart preparation, Nepal is very safe for tourists. Locals are welcoming and helpful in case of any issues. So don’t think too much to travel to Nepal From the USA
Why Travel to Nepal from the USA is Worth It
The long journey delivers huge payoffs:
- Breathtaking Himalayan scenery and mountain culture
- Ancient Buddhist and Hindu sites dotting the Kathmandu Valley
- Thrilling adventures like trekking, whitewater rafting, jungle safaris
- Outdoor activities like hiking, biking, paragliding, climbing
- Delicious local cuisine with Tibetan and Indian influences
- Gracious hospitality and glimpses into traditional lifestyles
For a life-changing experience, Nepal’s mix of culture, adventure, nature and mysticism can’t be matched. The journey to this mountainous paradise will exceed your dreams if you plan properly. Follow this guide and immerse yourself in incredible travel to Nepal From the USA