Kakarbhitta is a town in Eastern Tarai on the border of Nepal and India, which can be used by foreigners to cross between the two countries.
The closest airport is at Bhadrapur, 25km southwest of Kakarbhitta. On Gorkha Airlines (023 20549) and Cosmic Air there are daily flight from Kathmandu ($99). You can also get a flight from Kathmandu, which has a more reliable schedule, to Biratnagar, 3 hours away. Bagdogra Airport in Siliguri (90 minutes by bus/taxi) - regular flights from major Indian cities and twice weekly flights from Bangkok and Paro.
It is possible to get through tickets from travel agents in Kathmandu or Darjeeling between Kathmandu and Darjeeling. Usually this trip is very expensive compared to doing it yourself and there is no reason it to do it as it is easy to arrange everything yourself. You also can take whatever bus you want, rather than being restricting to take what is arranged for you.
Often people are ripped off by these combined bus trips and are told they are going on a first-class luxury bus and then going on inferior services.
Buses to Kakarbhitta depart from the Kathmandu Bus Terminal between 16:00 and 18:00. It is best to book them a day in advance.
To/From India The Indian border is half a kilometre east of town, and is marked by the Mechi River. Nepali immigration is open 24 hours, but you may have to look for the officials after dark. It will make it easier to get a Nepali visa if you have the correct amount in US dollars (cash). If you do not have dollars you will have to go to the bank and change your money, and if it is closed you will have to wait. The immigration office here can also issue trekking permits for eastern Nepal including for the Everest area.
The overnight buses from Kathmandu usually arrive before 10:00.
The Tourist Office (20208) is on the main road, a little past the custom office on the right hand side (Sunday to Thursday 10:00 to 17:00, Friday 10:00 to 14:00).
You can change money at the Nepal Rastra Bank, on the pink building (sign only in Nepali) on the left side of the road as you enter town from India. Open daily from 07:00 to 18:00. There is a money changer in the corner of the bus station.
The offices for Nepal Airlines and Everest Air (29020) are between the border and the bus stand.
The Nepalese immigration is open 07:00 to 19:00. You can get a visa at the Nepal border for US$25, which you usually have to pay in US dollars (exact change is expected). The closest Nepal consulate is in Calcutta. It is a 15-minute walk between the border and Raniganj, the first town in India.
- Mountain View Restaurant is a fairly good place.
- Hariyali Restaurant in the Hotel Rajan is one of the better places in town
As the bus stand is very noisy, it is a good idea to get a room that does not face the bus stand.
- Hotel Kathmandu (29008), on the main road, has rooms for Rs 200/250. It is not so good.
- ABC Lodge has rooms for Rs 200/250.
- Hotel Deurali has rooms with common bath for Rs 140.
- Kanchan Hotel (70015 62015), near the bus stand, has clean rooms with common bath for Rs 200, Rs 300 with bath, and Rs 500 with a TV. It is friendly and has a restaurant. Hot water in a bucket.
- Hotel Rajat (70033, 62033), a few minutes walk behind the bus stand, has rooms with common bath for US$5, room with bath, hot water and TV for $15, and a $22 for a deluxe room. You can often get a discount. It has a restaurant. It is the best place in town and is well-managed.
- Biratnagar - 3½ hr, Rs 75
- Birganj - 12 hr, Rs 225 (night bus)
- Darjeeling - Take taxi of bus to Siliguri Bus Station. There are ample shared taxis departing from there to Darjeeling.
- Kathmandu - When you cross the border from India, the bus station is on the right before the village. Buses depart to Kathmandu (16 hr, ₹350 (Indian rupees)) usually in the early morning and between 15:00 and 18:00. It is best to reserve a bus seat a few hours early in order to get a good seat (in the front). You can reserve a night bus to Kathmandu at the booking office in front of the bus station. Direct night buses to Kathmandu and Pokhara can be painful, not only is the trip long, but you also miss the fantastic views along the
- Janakpur - A pleasant and interesting town. It is possible to break the journey to Kathmandu here (6 hr, depart 06:00 to 09:00, Rs 165)
- Pokhara - There are several buses from the border directly to Pokhara. Most are local buses, but there are a few deluxe ones, leaving at 04:30, then in the afternoon at 13:00 and 17:00. Times could change and buses get full so do get there in plenty of time. Private companies will show you the bus if asked. Price is around Rs 1200 (Nepalese rupees), but you can pay in Indian rupees too. (March 2017).
- Siliguri - After crossing the border, there are shared jeeps to Siliguri for Rs 35 per person. It is a 10-minute walk from Kakarbhitta to the Indian border town of Panitanki. A rickshaw is Indian Rs 6 (Rs 10 Nepali). From Panitanki there is a minibus (Rs 35 Indian per person) to Siliguri (1 hr, 35 km, ₹6). From Siliguri you can take the toy-train or bus (3½ hr, ₹50) to Darjeeling (79 km), or a bus to Gangtok or Kalimpong. You could also take a taxi to Siliguri (₹60) or Darjeeling (₹140). From New Jalpaiguri (NJP) (Siliguri), you can get a broad-gauge train to Kolkata and other places. Bagdogra Airport in Siliguri has regular flights to most major Indian cities as well twice weekly flights to Bangkok and Paro.