How We Did It?
We went to India by land all the way from Pokhara, Nepal.
So, here some tips for getting into India from Nepal.
If you’re a lazy reader, you can watch our full vlog about our trip here Pokhara to New Delhi in 36 Hours
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- Buy your bus ticket in Pokhara Town.
- Ask for bus ticket to Sonauli, India / Lumbini, Nepal. (It is the same route)
- Normally the bus ticket would cost around NPR 700 / USD 7 / MYR 30
- 8 hours of bus ride to the border town. (You will be dropped off before Lumbini, Nepal. )
- Bus will depart around 8AM or 8.30AM.
Lumbini to Belahiya (Nepal Border Town)
- After 8 hours of bus ride from Pokhara, you will be dropped off along Siddharta Highway.
- Get your luggage / backpacks off the bus.
- Go to Belahiya, Nepal.
- Nepal Immigration Office located in Belahiya, Nepal.
- You can ride the local bus (Non A/C) or take a cab.
- Cab cost NPR 300 / USD 3 / MYR 13.
- Local bus (Non A/C) cost NPR 20 / USD 0.20 / MYR 0.90.
- The journey from drop off to Belahiya, Nepal would take you around 15 – 20 minutes ride depends on the traffic.
- Nepal Immigration Office located just a stone throw away from the bus station in Belahiya, Nepal.
- Stamp out at Nepal Immigration Office.
- Walk across to Sonauli, India.
Crossing The Nepal – India Border
- After getting your passport stamp, cross the Nepal-India Border.
- Indian Immigration Officers will be checking your luggages or backpacks randomly at the border.
- Many locals in Sonauli will offer you jeep or cab ride to Gorakphur Train Station or even an Indian Visa – AVOID THIS AT ALL COST.
- Your Nepalese Rupees still can be use at Sonauli, India or you can exchange them for Indian Rupees here.
- Apparently, many places in India do not offer currency exchange for Nepalese Rupees or accepting them as cash payment except in Sonauli.
- Get your Indian Visa stamp at the official India Immigration Office.
- India Immigration Office is pretty small so it may get crowded easily.
- Sometimes the visa approval process would take awhile . It took us about 2 hours to get our visa approval because they have to do everything manually and there were about 7 of us waiting at the office.
- Visa application for India varies differently for each nationality. Normally it is for a month and up to 6 months with single or multiple entry.
- We applied our Indian Visa in Kathmandu, Nepal with an agency because it will take around 2 weeks at least to get it done at the Indian Embassy in Nepal.
- Then, the visa application agency delivered our visa over to Pokhara, Nepal.
- This cost around USD 150 including the delivery fee.
- We highly recommend to apply for Indian Visa locally at your own country.
- A lot cheaper and hassle free.
- In Malaysia, you can apply Indian Visa for the price of around USD 95 / MYR 400 at local travel agency.
- Do contact me if you want to know more about Indian VISA application for Malaysian. (Social Media : Lionel Benang)
Bus to Gorakphur Railway Station
- Sonauli to Gorakphur Railway Station will take around 3 hours of journey.
- Local (Non-A/C Bus) cost INR 90 / USD 1.40 / MYR 6.00.
- They will stop along the road to pick up other passenger so your ride probably longer than expected.
- Jeep & cab available for hire however they would normally overcharge you. So do bargain with them.
Gorakphur Railway Station
- After 3 hours, you will be arriving at Gorakphur Railway Station.
- Buying train ticket in India can get very confusing.
- Do your research before the start of your journey to avoid disappointments.
- You can purchase your train ticket online or purchase it at tourist assigned counter. (However, not all railway station have a legit tourist counter) – BEWARE OF TOUTS & SCAMS.
- Check the availability of your train online. We use Clear Trip App .
- Many signboards are in Tamil or Hindi Language.
- Most of the railway staff do not speak or understand English. However they will still try to assist you or get some of their English speaking staff to talk to you.
- For a longer than 7 hours train ride, we would suggest you to take AC 3 Tier and above for more comfortable experience.
- Unfortunately for us, all train tickets were sold out except for general admission.
- General admission ticket cost INR 210 / USD 3.30 / MYR 14.
- Here is the trick on how to get on AC 3 Tier (A/C Sleeper Bunk) with general admission ticket or any other ticket with lower classes.
- Talk and negotiate with the in-charge train attendant officer upon boarding and offer him a price for upgrade.
- It may take more than one attempt. Do not give up.
- We failed on our first attempt trying to get an upgrade for our train to New Delhi.
- On our second attempt, we got rejected again.
- With more than 15Kg backpack stressing our back and more than 10 hours of sweaty sardined packed bus ride, we did not want to miss this last train to New Delhi.
- We decided to sneaked into the AC 3 Tier Coach right before the train leave Gorakphur Railway Station.
- We almost got into trouble for that because that coach were fully booked.
- Then, we met one genuinely good-hearted Indian lady, Miss Swheta. She saw us struggling tried to explained ourselves to the train staff and they obviously did not understood every single word that came out from our mouths.
- Miss Swheta negotiated with the train attendant officers and finally we got upgraded to AC 3 Tier with some extra INR 1700/ USD 27/ MYR 114.
- We had bunk bed for the rest of the journey and being able to rest our back on the hard cold mattress was the best thing that day.
- It was 16 hours train journey from Gorakphur Railway Station to New Delhi Railway Station.
Few Final Tips
- Learn to speak few Hindi languages. (Namaste…Etc)
- Try to talk to young local in English. High chances that they can speak little or decent English.
- Do a complete research online before the start of your journey.
- Screenshot the location of your intended destination on your phone. So that you would roughly know that you arriving at the right place.
- Learn to understand the Indian Railway System because you will be taking train most of the time if you are traveling long term in India.
- For those of you who are concerning about hygienic issues in India, please bear in mind that it can get quite dirty and unhygienic at many places. Be prepare.
- Prepare a lot of wet tissues and sanitizers.
- Be an explorer here. So much to discover.