Report: the Nepal – India border crossing at Birganj and Raxaul

A quick guide on how to cross overland at the Nepal – India border crossing at Birganj and Raxaul.

 

The Nepal – India border crossing at Birganj and Raxaul is the main crossing point for most trucks crossing between the two countries. Luckily, it’s easy for tourists to cross, too.

From Nepal, this border can be easily reached from both Kathmandu (8 hours) and Pokhara (6 hours). Raxaul, which is in the state of Bihar, is best reached from Patna (6 hours). This post will focus on getting from Kathmandu to Birganj to cross into India, but the reverse direction is very similar.

 

How to go overland at the Nepal - India border crossing at Birganj and Raxaul - Buses at the New Bus Station in Kathmandu - Lost With Purpose Travel Blog

Buses at the New Bus Station in Kathmandu

How to get from Kathmandu to Birganj

Buses from Kathmandu to Birganj leave from the “New Bus Station”, officially named Gongabu Bus Park, roughly 10 minutes from Thamel. A taxi from Thamel costs roughly 150 NPR with a meter. Expect to pay 200 NPR if the driver doesn’t want to use a meter. The driver will probably drop you off across from the bus station, as entering costs another 20 NPR.

 

The bus station is fairly chaotic, with not much in the way of English signage. Luckily you’ll be approached soon enough by someone who can point you to the right ticket counter. Tickets to Birganj are sold from a window on the right side of the main ticket hall, but it’s best to just ask someone.

Heading to Nepal? Check out the photos of our time in this mountainous country!

Nepal - India border crossing at Birganj and Raxaul - Ticket window at New Bus Park in Kathmandu - Lost With Purpose

Unless you don’t care about what type of bus you end up getting, it’s wise to specify you want a Deluxe or Tourist bus. Otherwise, you might end up in a rickety overpacked local bus, which can take considerably longer and is notably less comfortable.

Tickets to Birganj costs 550 NPR for a regular bus, and 800 NPR for an A/C deluxe or Tourist bus. Buses go throughout the day, but we advise you to leave early. Theoretically, the journey takes 8 hours, but traffic jams and breakdowns are not uncommon… as we now know!

 

How to get from Birganj to the border

The border is roughly three kilometers from the center of Birganj. A rickshaw or thanga, horse-drawn carriage, should cost no more than 100 NPR during the day, or 150 NPR at night. 

Technically, the border is open from 6:00 until 22:00, but don’t be surprised if no one is there before 7:00 or after 21:00. If you come from India, note that visas are only issued on the Nepali side until 18:00.

 

Overland at the Nepal - India border crossing at Birganj and Raxaul - Shipping trucks at the border gate - Lost With Purpose

Shipping trucks on the Nepal side of the border

The Nepal – India border crossing at Birganj and Raxaul

If you come during regular hours, crossing the border should be a breeze. Processing takes roughly 10 minutes at either side of the border. You have to fill out an entry/exit form on both sides. The Nepali immigration office is a small yellow building with clear signage. The Indian immigration office is a small building with a bright blue interior… with less clear signage.

Nepal visas

Indians don’t need a visa to enter Nepal, and can skip customs formalities altogether. Citizens of most other countries can get a visa on arrival. Check out our Nepal guide for more info on the visa process.

India visas

If you’re entering India, you need to get a visa beforehand. Check out our India Guide for more info on Indian visa requirements.

If you’re unlucky enough to arrive after the immigration officer has left, you have to spend a night in Birganj or Raxaul, depending on where you’re going. We arrived just after 22:00, and there was no immigration officer to be found. Luckily, after a bit of chatting, we were allowed to camp at the police compound next to the immigration office! It was a bit sticky in the summer heat, but it was free.

Nepal - India border crossing at Birganj and Raxaul - Camping at the police station - Lost With Purpose

There are also several budget hotels in Birganj Bazaar. In Raxaul, there are only a few hotels that allow foreigners to stay. Hotel Kaveri is the most well-known, but the workers there were too lazy to check us in (sigh), so we stayed at Vaivhav International, on the right-hand side of the main road when heading away from the border. The price was 700 Rs for a small double room with attached bathroom, simple puri breakfast included.

 

Overstaying a Nepal visa

Because we arrived too late to cross the border (our bus broke down several times on the way to Birganj), we technically overstayed our visa by one day.

Normally the overstay penalty fee is $3 per day that you overstay, plus $30, the cost of extending a visa. The fine becomes higher, and your crossing more problematic, if you overstay by more than 15 days. Luckily, the immigration officer understood we had no ill intent, and waived the overstay penalty. We read these one-day grace periods are common.

Onward transport from the Nepal – India border

From Raxaul, you can travel further into Bihar. Patna is 6 hours away by bus, from where you can go to the Buddhist pilgrimage site of Bodhgaya. There are also daily trains from Raxaul to Delhi and Kolkata.

From Birganj, there are buses to Kathmandu and Pokhara in the morning and evening, and several Sumos ply the same routes for a higher price.

 

There you have it, a quick guide on the Nepal – India border crossing at Birganj and Raxaul. Let us know in the comments if we missed anything or if anything has changed.

 

Crossing into India? Check out our India archives for all kinds of Indian travel inspiration.

 

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19 thoughts on “Report: the Nepal – India border crossing at Birganj and Raxaul

    Mariana says:

    Thank you very much for this post, you really helped me!!!! Thanks 🙂

    Sebastiaan says:

    Glad to hear it!

    James says:

    22 freaking hours from kathmandu to birgunj.
    Thx alot for forgetting to mention that the buses don’t take the direct route but they make the circle through Bharatpur.

    Sebastiaan says:

    Sorry for not asking your bus driver how long the ride would take.

    david says:

    it will help the traveller who wants to travel nepal from india by overland! great post!

    Sebastiaan says:

    That’s our goal, glad to help!

    Joel Graham says:

    Looked all day for this info and finally found it – thanks!

    Sebastiaan says:

    Hope it was useful!

    Monty says:

    Thanks for this information – I just passed through from Nepal to India a few days ago and this info was quite helpful. Of note I arrived at the Nepal border at 21:15 and indeed the Nepal immigration agent wasn’t on duty. A couple of police or military guys next door called him up though and he came but still wouldn’t stamp my passport and seemed amused that it expired that night and the next day I’d have to pay a $33 fine. Anyway found a really seedy hotel a few hundred yards from the border on the right, they tried to charge 2000 rupees but talked them down to 1000 which was still overpriced. In the morning gave 500 rupees to the immigration officer (different guy than the night before) that his sidekick asked for, seemed like a bit of a bribe, but it did seem to grease the skids and avoid the $33 for the one day overstayed visa … hope that’s helps!

    Alex says:

    Sigh, I hate border bureaucracy… but at least you managed to evade the overstay fee! That’s very helpful to know that there’s a hotel nearby the gate, I had no idea. Too dark when we arrived!

    Ari Cipta Gunawan says:

    I have this plan of visiting Nepal on my summer holiday, but I’m still thinking of which India-Nepal border I should use. I’m currently in India and the closest one is Dhangadhi border, but I think it’s not as convenient as Sonauli border. This post gave me insight of possibility to use another border. So thank you!

    Monika says:

    I want to know the bus details ( timing) from Birgunj to Kathmandu. is bus runs throughout the day?

    Lindsay Marshall says:

    This was really helpful. Ten years ago I had a terrible 20-hour local bus ride and crossing into India because I had only rumours to go by on how to do it. There were no windows and my seat had a whole in the floor so i lost my IPOD when it fell through. It was also raining. I sat on the 1/2 seat next to the driver and he kept putting his hand on my leg. (But the Guards were sympathtic during the 3am-7am wait on Nepalese side, they kept giving me lemon tea!) Hilariously, on the Indian side, the offical told me I had to pay $50 US because my visa said ‘Multiple Entry’, which meant to him I had to enter with multiple people! When i cracked up laughing because it was so creative, he gave up. Good try though! Ten years later I’m finally leaving India in the reverse direction I came and wanted an update (and to better inform myself what’s ahead) and your site was perfect. Simple and easy. Thank you!

    Aadi says:

    Hey there, I’m a bit confused. Is it compulsory to stamp a passport for a Nepalese? And I’m planning to go to Kolkata for a week. I’m from Kathmandu and I don’t have any idea about how to book a train for Howrah from Raxual. Please help!

    PRABHAT JHA says:

    For train tkts from Raxaul to Kolkata you can book through Indian Railway online booking url http://www.irctc.co in
    You have to register at the site first and then can proceed with bookings.
    You can try ‘tatkal’ option of booking , because the current tickets are usually not available

    Md Manjur Alam says:

    Jo bike ka gari no nhi aya hai wah Nepal ja sakta hai new gari hai 10 din huwa hai nikala huwa ja sakta hai

    Md Manjur Alam says:

    Jo india ka bike ka gari no nhi aya hai wah Nepal ja sakta hai new gari hai 10 din huwa hai nikala huwa ja sakta hai

    Bilal says:

    If any girl coming alone from Kathmandu to birgunj by bus . Is it safe or not.. what the timing of bus. And if she cross birgunj to raxul by walk or by rikshshaw/ tanga ..is it easy to cross border without any ristriction.by police/ army.. they not ask any questions?

    Pradhan pramesh says:

    I am nepalises holding passport
    I want to go Hong Kong .
    Kakarivita by walk to Delhi and Delhi to Hong Kong by air
    Is it need to process nepal and India immigration.
    Because is nepal and India free visa

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