As I have mentioned in my previous blogs, there are multiple ways to cross between India and Nepal. The most popular border is Sunauli – Belahiya near Gorakhpur but many take the Raxaul Birganj route which is in Bihar.
I have been to Nepal thrice out of which twice I have used Raxaul Birganj route because it is closer to Patna where I currently stay.
There is a direct bus that travels between Bodh Gaya and Kathmandu and stops in Patna, Raxaul and outside Chitwan National Park. But this bus takes almost 24 hours and is tiring like anything. Although on a plus side, it saves you from changing multiple rides.
Why you should cross Nepal from India from Raxaul Birganj Border
Raxaul is only 4 hours away from Patna and 7 hours form Bodh Gaya. From Raxaul, you’ll be at the border in 20 minutes and inside Birganj in 20 more minutes. If you take a shared sumo then you’ll be in Kathmandu in 7 hours only. Compared to this, the direct bus from Patna/Bodh Gaya/Varanasi consumes almost 24 hours.
The route of sumo and bus are different. The sumo route is more scenic and better paved. The bus route is tiring and backbreaking. Taking at Sumo at 12 PM will leave you at Kathmandu by 6 PM without tiring you much.
If you want to make Chitwan as the first stop of your journey then Raxaul Birganj border makes more sense. You can also stop at Chitwan as the last stop before entering India through this border.
Disadvantages of entering Nepal from Raxaul Birganj Border
This route is mostly commercial and involves a lot of wandering around. You need to find the right person and reach there on time before the last Sumo leaves.
When you are leaving from India from Kathmandu, you need to make sure that you book a Sumo a day in advance otherwise you’ll end up being stranded or changing multiple buses to reach Raxaul.
Currency exchange at Raxaul Birganj border
As I mentioned above, Raxaul Birganj is the commercial part of Nepal so you’ll find a lot of money exchangers in India side. Hire a cycle rickshaw and he’ll take you to one of the many shops from where you can get Nepali rupee. Keep in mind that when you are returning, most shops will take your Nepali currency for exact value of Indian rupee without any commission.
Returning to India from Kathmandu via Birganj
When you are coming to India from Kathmandu, Birganj is a viable option. You can make your last stop at Chitwan National Park as Birganj is only 4 hours away from here and a private taxi will only charge INR 1000 to drop you at the border.
If you are coming from Kathmandu, you can do either of the two mentioned below –
- Go to Ring Road, you’ll find many booking counters offering tickets to Patna, Goarkhpur, Siliguri and Delhi. You’ll need to book this ticket atleast 2 days in advance. You can also visit samyuktayatayat.co.np or Bus Sewa to book tickets online.
- Visit New Bus Station near Thamel. A taxi will drop you for INR 200 to INR 250. You’ll find many bus counters from which you’ll need figure out which one goes to Birganj. If this is your itinerary then make sure that you are here by 7 AM because the road is pretty bad and it will take almost 10 hours to reach Raxaul this way.
Entering India from Birganj Raxaul Border
Once the bus drops you at Birganj bus or sumo stand, hire a tuktuk that will drop you at the border of India. Once you are at the border, you’ll find cycle rickshaws waiting for you. Ask them to drop you at the bus stand.
If you are a foreign national, then you’ll need to visit immigration offices in India and Nepal sides for the required formalities. It is an easy process and you’ll be in India without much hassle. Nepal visa office is only open till 6:00 PM so if you are late then you’ll have to spend a night in Birganj. This is advisable because chances of getting cheated increase once it is dark.
Where to stay in Raxaul or Birganj
Raxaul has two hotels that is popular between tourists. Out of these Vaibhav International is recommended by many. They are open till late night and you’ll easily find a good room for INR 700. There are a couple of hotles in Birganj where you can stay if you arrive late after 6 in the evening.
Safety at Birgunj Raxaul Border
Birgunj Raxaul Border is safe for traveling between India and Nepal. Although, you should make sure that you are at Raxaul before 12 so that all your formalities are over early. Finding help after sunset is kind of difficult and chances of getting cheated by a tourist tout is high.
When you are here, don’t listen to people tell you that they’ll help you get visa done in either offices, don’t fall in traps of agents who offer cheap bus tickets because they’ll charge a lot of commission. In case of need, approach a police official or an army personnel who are identifiable by their uniforms.
What to eat at Raxaul Birgunj Border
Raxaul Birgunj border is a bustling area so it won’t be much difficult to find a decent food place. The bus and sumos take multiple stops where you can have lunch. Eat light because the vehicles take a lot of turns and it will make you feel pukish.
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