Need a bus map (micro-bus, tuk-tuk, big bus) of Kathmandu? This posts summarizes it all!
Aside from the traffic, pollution, and excessive honking, getting around Kathmandu isn’t as bad or hard as one might think – you just have to be patient and selective about your transportation choices.
Tuk-tuks – they can be crampy, the ride can be bumpy, but they are sure fun and eco-friendly especially if you have access to electric tuk-tuks. The number 5 tuk-tuk is the one we use the most to get from Lazimpath to our frequently visited places such a Thamel, Jamal, Ratna Park Bus Park, and Sundhara. The number 2, which you can catch from Jamal can take you to Naxal and the Baneswors (old and new). Although not as fast as the next type of transportation, Tuks-tuks are pretty frequent as well and usually come down the road every few to 5 minutes.
Mini/micro buses – to be honest, never really used them as much since they are mostly overcrowded. They are usually unmarked and so you have to ask or listen to the bus boys call out where they are going. Most of the time, as almost all Nepali’s do, is ask each micro-bus where they are going and if they pass by the place where you want to go. These buses are the fastest and most comfortable (if you can get a seat) way to get around.
Local buses – the big busses, sometimes school bus-looking is my preferred way of getting around town. The busses are clearly marked and you usually can get a comfortable seat or manageable standing room. Bus drivers for some reason tend to drive amazingly fast so depending on the driver, be prepared for a potential roller coaster-type ride.
If you are not in a hurry, the legendary number 26 bus can take us from our place in Lazimpath all the way and pretty much anywhere where we normally go, to Kupondole (where we get off to walk to work) and also the end of the line is at the popular, historic Patan Durbar Square. For any tourist that is staying around the Thamel/Lazimpath area, catch the 26 bus in Lainchaur and for a 10 ruppee ride one-way, you can get a decent ride around the city and back.
Transit map of Patan & Kathmandu
Believe it or not, there is a transit map that lists the major routes of the local buses and thuk-thuks.
I’m not exactly sure who made the map or how old it is (I found it when we arrived in 2008), but it is still up-to-date and accurate.
To get to Baktapur, Banepa, Dhulikhel (in that order), you can easily catch the bus from the Ratna Park bus park. Just listen for the bus boys yell “Banepa, Banepa, Banepa” and it is that bus that will take you along the …. highway. If you are at the bus park/station, don’t be shy and ask the bus boys if they are going where you want to go. They will always point you to the right bus and most of the time if they are not busy, remind you when to get off.
Taxis – ahhh, Taxis. There are times where I don’t mind haggling with them but there are days where I dread it. To avoid bargaining, just ask (or demand) them to run the meter (“meter chalaune”) and depending on the driver, he usually won’t mind. Getting from Patan to lets say Thamel, with the usual traffic should cost no more than 200 rupees (it’s about 200 to get to Lazimpath), less if traffic or your driver is creative with the roads he takes. The price is likewise when you go from the west to the east side of the city. Note: During Petrol strikes or shortages, add Rs. 100 extra.
During the night time however, you are essentially at the mercy of the taxis because buses/tuk-tuks stop running and night time rates apply (around Rs. 20 per KM). Most of the time taxis do not want to run the meter at all. A ride that usually costs 100 rupees by meter will cost you almost double. The guy in the photo above is Saanoi, he’s cool.
Note: A great taxi ride to the Kopan Monastery is worth it, although it is nice easy hike up the hill.
Bring small bills, because drivers usually can’t break 1000 rupee note.
Rental and Hiring a car/driver
Hmmm, if you are a brave enough, renting a motorbike or scooter is another option as well. Lots of places to rent them. You can also hire your own personal car and driver for the whole day for about Rs. 1600 to 2000.
Photos above: typical #26 bus riders, traffic near Jamal, a usual sight of an over loaded bus.
I only rode a rikshaw once from the main road in Biratnagar to the airport. It was a pleasant ride and I got to know the driver pretty well (a chatty fellow if I recall).