Kathmandu and Pokhara are two of the most popular destinations in Nepal. If you are wondering what the distance from Kathmandu to Pokhara is and what the best way to get between the two is, look no further.
Kathmandu is Nepal’s capital and its most populous city – nearing 3 million people. It’s located in the Kathmandu Valley. Pokhara is Nepal’s second most populous city – with around 600,000 people. It sits 127 miles west of Kathmandu by car (89 miles by plane) and at a bit higher elevation.
Flying is the quickest way to travel between the two, however that does not mean it’s the best option for you. There are many ways to get to Pokhara and many things to consider when deciding on the transfer option that makes the most sense for you. The roads in Nepal are very rough and mountainous and the journey will take between 30 minutes and 10 hours, depending on the mode of transportation and the weather.
The options for getting from Kathmandu to Pokhara include private cars, taxis, tourist buses, public buses, microbuses, and planes. I’ve reviewed the pros, cons, and prices of each below. I also recommend the best companies to choose from. As someone who spent 8 weeks in Nepal, I have actually seen and experienced all of these forms of transport.
Distance from Kathmandu to Pokhara by Plane, Bus, and Car
Plane, bus, and car are the available modes of transportation between Nepal’s two major cities. There are no trains in Nepal. Your journey will vary greatly depending on which option you choose.
Distance from Kathmandu to Pokhara by Bus
Again, the road between Kathmandu and Pokhara is approximately 127 miles (200 km). This will take between 7 and 10 hours by bus. Traveling by bus is definitely the most scenic way to get to Pokhara. Sitting up high in a bus, you are able to see more of rural Nepal; daily life, villages, agriculture techniques, and rivers and mountains.
Tourist buses are your best bet for comfort. They are direct, only stopping for lunch. The buses are less crowded than public buses, they have comfortable reclining seats, and most of them have AC. Some of the buses even have charging capabilities.
Up to 20 tourist buses drive the distance from Kathmandu to Pokhara every day. The average duration of the trip from Kathmandu to Pokhara on a tourist bus is 7-9 hours. Tourist bus rates are between $10 – $27 USD. The variation depends on the quality of the bus and included or not-included lunch.
Greenline used to be the best option for getting to Pokhara but they halted their services in March 2020 due to the pandemic, and have yet to reactivate. Other popular and longstanding companies are Rainbow Adventure, World Touch, and Blue Sky.
All tourist buses to Pokhara leave from the Sorhakhutte bus stop. This requires a bit of a walk or a taxi ride (if you are staying in Thamel). If you are staying in Paknajol (growing in popularity among backpackers) this is a fairly quick walk.
Very few companies offer online booking. Some use WhatsApp, Viber, and email to book. The best way to book, however, is with your hotel or at one of the many travel booking offices in town. You can also purchase tickets at Sorhakhutte but stop (seats rarely sell out). You will get the best deal here if you know how to bargain in Nepal. If you aren’t comfortable bargaining, expect to be charged more
Local Public Bus
Public buses are a budget-friendly option. Specifically, you can expect to pay around $6 to get from Kathmandu to Pokhara. You can catch local buses at the Gongbu Bus Park, which is about 15 min drive from Thamel (so you’ll have to take a taxi).
This is also the best way to travel if you’re looking for a more authentic Nepali travel experience. The public buses are similar in size but much less comfortable. They are typically very packed, have plastic upright seats, and do not have AC.
Public buses make more stops along the way to pick up riders, but they tend to make similar time as tourist buses. This is because the drivers tend to drive a bit faster and they do not stop for lunch or restrooms.
Microbuses are good for getting around town in Kathmandu, but may not be the best option for going further distances. The buses are more like vans (see photos) and are really overcrowded.
There are microbus routes but you don’t know exactly when they’ll be at the stops. Additionally, the system is hard to get a hang of. The buses don’t always completely stop. A person will hang out of the side of the microbus yelling the bus’s destinations and you have to just kind of run and jump in and pay the bus fee when you get on. For more reliability and safer driving take one of the other bus options.
Distance from Kathmandu to Pokhara by Car
Don’t want to be tied to an early morning bus departure? Then you can take a taxi or a private car service. Traveling by car will allow you the most freedom.
You can take a taxi from Kathmandu to Pokhara but you should try and schedule it ahead of time, as not all drivers will want to go the distance from Kathmandu to Pokhara.
The price will vary depending on the type and size of the car but anticipate spending around $90 to $100.
A private car is more comfortable than a taxi and provides more freedom than all other driving options. Plus, you can stop to take photos whenever you want, eat lunch, stop for the restroom, etc.
A private car is more expensive, however. Usually around the same price as flight ($80-$150).
You can book a private car/driver like this one on Viator, or you can go through a transport company. Transport Hire Nepal is one of the more well known transport service companies and you can book a ride from Kathmandu to Pokhara here.
Book Adventures in Pokhara
✔️ Nepalese Momos or Dal Bhat Cooking Class – 25 USD
👉 Paragliding at Sarangkot Pokhara – 80 USD
✔️ Bungee Pokhara by HighGround Adventures – 50 USD
Distance from Kathmandu to Pokhara by Plane
If you are less interested in taking the scenic route, you can always fly! The flight to Pokhara is super quick – about 25 minutes – and the Pokhara airport is actually nicer than the Kathmandu airport. It’s also an easier airport to fly into compared to landing strips in other parts of the country (like the airport you fly into for Everest).
There are about 20 flights that go the distance from Kathmandu to Pokhara every day and 4 major airlines host the flights. Ticket prices vary depending on the season but expect to pay between $80 and $150 each way. If you want to maximize your time in Nepal, flying is the best way to travel to Pokhara.
Weather delays and cancellations are common on this route so be prepared to wait around for a while at the airport if the weather is bad.
Related Post: Sound Baths & Meditation Retreats in Nepal
Distance from Kathmandu to Pokhara: FAQs
Is Pokhara Worth Visiting?
Absolutely! Pokhara is Nepal’s second most visited city and it is absolutely stunning. It sits on the shores of Phewa Lake, at the base of the Annapurna range. In fact, If you are hiking the Annapurna Circuit, you have to go to Pokhara because the trek starts from there.
If you aren’t trekking, there are so many other adventurous activities and things to do. You can attend a yoga or meditation retreat, experience a sound bath, go bungee jumping, take a cooking class, or just enjoy the views while sipping on tea. Pokhara is less dusty than Kathmandu too, which is nice.
Is There Uber In Kathmandu, Nepal?
Uber is not available in Kathmandu. However, there are many other transportation options to consider, including other apps. Some popular ride-sharing apps in Nepal are Patheo and Tootle (scooters only).
Are There Taxis in Kathmandu?
Yes, there are taxis in Kathmandu and yes you can take them to Pokhara. Cabs are usually waiting in popular areas. You can also hail a cab or use Sarathi, a cab-exclusive ride-hailing app.
Are Buses and Taxis Safe In Kathmandu?
In my experience, and to my knowledge, taxis and buses in Kathmandu are safe in the personal-safety sense of the word. The driving, on the other hand, is not always safe. People drive very fast and sometimes even recklessly. That being said, the drivers have a lot of experience navigating the terrible roads.
How Much do Taxis Cost in Kathmandu?
Prices are typically negotiated with the driver before beginning the trip. Generally, you can expect to pay a base rate of 60 NPR (~ 0.40 USD), and a per km rate of 49 NPR 49 (~ 0.35 USD) within Kathmandu. For example, the airport to the city center is about 305 NPR (~ 2.50 USD). Fares do cost more at night though.
You can always ask someone what you should expect to pay for your specific route, this way you are equipped to negotiate a fair price. Rates are impacted by petroleum shortages, too. So, consider the current situation when negotiating price.
Final Note: Distance from Kathmandu to Pokhara, Nepal
My top two choices for traveling to Pokhara from Kathmandu are a tourist bus and plane. I have taken a Jeep, scooter, and microbus around the outskirts of Kathmandu, and even rode on the top of a truck carrying a ton of rice. I can confirm that the roads are not good. Expect to see lots of potholes, wash outs, and narrow roads teetering on the edge of cliffs.
An important thing to remember if you take a car or bus is that the drivers have been driving these roads their whole lives. Chances are they’ll get you to your destination in one piece 😉
Lastly, transportation in Nepal can be challenging. Remember to let yourself go with the flow. Nepal runs on mountain time.