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How To Reach Thamel From Kathmandu Airport?

  • 12-May-2017
  • 0

Are you planning to go for Nepal trekking adventures for the first time? If yes, then, first thing that you need to know as soon as you land on Kathmandu airport (Tribhuwan International Airport) is, “how to reach Thamel from Kathmandu airport?” (or any other place?) Thamel is most probably where your hotel is located as it is the popular touristic site in Kathmandu with many hotels, restaurants, trekking gear shops, handicraft shops, grocery stores, marts, music stores, malls, clubs, spa, laundry, banks, money exchangers and travel agencies. From luxurious star rated hotels to budget hotels and within walking distance to two world heritage site Kathmandu Durbar Square and Swayambhunath, Thamel is where you might be staying in Kathmandu.

Tourists contribute to Nepal economy, it is a good thing, as you will be contributing as while doing what you love to do and going where you want to go. But saving money is essential for every tourists, here in this article we will be discussing about how you can get into Thamel area from Kathmandu airport. What are the transportation options and how much it probably costs with some money saving tips.

Firstly lets see the available options on how you can reach your hotel from Kathmandu airporttaxi-service.jpg

A. Hiring a Taxi

How to hire taxi at Kathmandu airport?

First you should know how most of the taxi in Nepal looks like. Have a close look at a public local taxi below in streets of Kathmandu.


Identify local taxi by a white color small car with black number plate and Taxi written on it. There are basically two types of taxi, one is prepaid airport taxi and another is public local taxi.

i. Prepaid Airport Taxi in Kathmandu Airport:

Tribhuwan International Airport has a committee that offers around the clock prepaid taxi services intended for passengers. These taxis are with green number plate and services are only for tourists.


You can locate prepaid taxi counter just after coming out of arrivals gate next to tourist information counter. These types of taxi rates across Kathmandu city are posted on a wall in a counter and you need to pay in advance to get the taxi service. These prepaid taxi are regulated by airport and Nepal government authorities and slightly expensive than other public taxi. It would be best choice for first timers in Kathmandu. Most likely, these taxi agents might offer you with their travel packages and ask for your detail information, it might be a good choice for some but might be undesirable if you are on your own or already booked with other local travel and trekking companies.

It costs nearly 1000 rupees (10 USD) as per rate of spring 2017 to hire prepaid taxi from Kathmandu airport to Thamel area. (Rate may change)

ii. Public Local Taxi:

As you exit from airport arrivals gate and cross the waiting lane, you can locate public local taxis there (look for small white car in a black number plate with taxi written on it). These taxi drivers might come to you for their service, and always ask first, how much to go to Thamel (or any other your destination). And choose the one that gives you the best deal. We can see local taxi charging Nepali Rs 500 - 800 to reach Thamel from Kathmandu airport. Bargain to lowest possible price with driver.

Tips to know before hiring a public taxi in Kathmandu:

  • Agree on rate first. If taxi driver agrees to go on meter, it should not cost more than Rs 500 ignoring traffic jam issues. Don’t pay more than 700 to go from airport to Thamel!
  • Ensure your driver understood your hotel name or exact place where you want to go.
  • Taxi drivers are trustworthy and helpful in Kathmandu, but still taking a snapshot of your cab’s number will keep you on safe side in case if you forgot anything in a cab.
  • Taxi drivers may or not understand English, they might not be fluent, but they can surely understand more or less English along with your destination (hotel or place) name.

B. Getting on a Local bus:

Another option might be getting on a local bus at Kathmandu airport main gate heading towards Ratnapark. And walk further 10-15 minutes from Ratna Park to Thamel. This option might not be suitable for tourists traveling into Nepal for the first time as there will be much of hassle in locating the exact bus, uncertainty in number of passengers along with route. It might be however a great way to explore the local lifestyle stories and struggles, for backpackers. Local bus costs from minimum Rs 20- 50 roughly.

Tips to know before getting on a local bus:

  • Ensure you are on the right bus. Look out for the buses shouting “Ratnapark” or ask any locals, pedestrians nearby.
  • Stay near driver for safety and directions.
  • Don’t get into overcrowded bus, wait for another one or opt into nearby local public taxi.
  • Make sure you have small denominations in Nepali rupees of 20, 50 and 100.

C.  Pre-arrangement airport pickup/drop on a private car/vehicle arranged by your travel company:

Finally the best among all above options might be pre arranging airport pickup and drop services with your travel partner (local travel agency with whom you have booked your trip with). In this case, you will be welcomed with warm hospitality in person with office representative being present there holding your name on display card at airport terminals. He/she will transfer to your respective hotel in a private car/bus (depending on number of arriving travelers).


Reasons to choose a local trekking company that offers airport pickup drop services:

  • No need to bargain in price. It will be pre-informed that airport transfer cost is included in the trip price.
  • Office representative being present at airport for welcome and farewell
  • Safety / security of passenger and luggage guaranteed
  • Most comfortable, hassle free and smart option among others
  • Suitable for first timers as well as for frequent travelers

So, which option suits you the best to reach your hotel in Thamel area from Kathmandu airport? Still do you have any questions or queries? Contact us if you have any other travel queries.

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