Traffic in Nepal

Hello everyone,

Which city or area do you live in in Nepal, and how do you find the traffic?

How long does it take to commute to work or run errands?

Is there a rush hour in your city? What times of the day would you recommend people to avoid driving if they can?

Are there any ways to avoid spending too much time in traffic in Nepal?

What is parking availability and cost like?

Thank you for sharing your experience.


I cannot speak for other expats but I spent almost two decades in Nepal and very happy without a car. As everyone knows, new cars in Nepal are taxed in the order of 245%, which makes the price of cars prohibitive. It's like paying a Kathmandu car dealer a whopping $100,00 for a car which should normally only cost $40,000. And that's no Land Rover. Of course, one can do with a lower priced second hand car, but then where are the roads? Abominable is the answer. Nepal has yet to build its first highway, worthy of the name.  (Oh yes, there is that bit of a short 2-3 laner built by the japanese which leads to Bhaktapur way, but that's about it. Thank you Japan! But to go from Kathmandu to Pokkhara can take up to 7 or 8 hours. A french friend was telling me just recently that he refuses to take that road any longer - it's such a hasstle -  he now flies! He's had it. Too much stress, he said. To make matters worse, there is the way nepalis drive...Oh my God, watch out...get out of the I come! I can never forget in Lainchaur, countless drivers who wanted to take a right hand turn into Samakhusi, and how they would literally cut right in front of us, coming at us straight on - in our lane - on THE LEFT!!! These careless drivers simply do not observes traffic rules and drive around as if it were the Wild West.
No thanks, no car for me all those years, and believe me, I was very happy to pay a nepali guy, to drive me wherever I needed to go. No regrets. I regularly took taxis. For all those years, I would simply relax sitting in the back seat, and let my favorite taximan have the headaches. Often my driver would comment: "You know something,  I really think my fellow countrymen are CRAZY the way they drive, with no respect for the other guy"  - On very narrow streets in Kathmandu, he would also remark "Look at the way they park....any old way...they block the way. They couldn't care less. They ONLY think about themselves. Real egoists."  These comments are signed Gautam, an endearing friend - my driver!!
No more private cars allowed  into Kathmandu?..GREATEST news since the birth of Lord Buddha!! Now perhaps we can walk! Good for the health.

I don't take to the road in Nepal for pretty much the same reasons. Speaking of ideally-suited-for Nepal SUVs, Land Rovers and all the rest, I came across tidbits of online information published by english.onlinekhabar.
Most expats I know will find these kinds of cars far too expensive for their pocket books but clearly as the article points out, it doesn't keep some 50 ranger rovering nepalis from plying the roads with them.
As prices for this type of vehicle are in the 20,000,000 - 40,000,000 Nepali Rupees range here, we are really talking about a $200,000 to $400,000 price tag, in round figures, direct from Kathmandu showroom. The article calls these car owners "nepali one-percenters". I happened to see one of them at the Farmers Market just recently. He came in his Land Rover, escorted by six armed guards. Curious to know who this was, I was told he was an ex-minister.

Why drive when you can fly? News yesterday (source: HT) was that 2636 nepalis have actually already booked tickets online to fly to Mars. No clue as to where these poor nepalis one so often hears about got the money to do that? More baffling, wonder if anyone has told these same online ticket holders that there is no return planned by this Mission organized by NASA, as this journey into space has strictly been billed as a ONE WAY trip?
Anyway, the NASA website offers them "flyer miles" - seriously - so this should be a source of comfort to the lucky nepali world travellers and one way ticket holders to Mars. Mars bars all the way! That's one way to get out of the country! No one can say that the nepalis are not resourceful!

Hi Pricilla, My family and I lived in Lalitpur outside ring road for about 2 years and my personal suggestion is get a scooter or motorcycle.  Taking public transportation is a "fun" experience but if you value your time at all, a bike of some sorts is a huge time saver because you can easily weave between the other vehicles and you will see that is quite normal.  The overall traffic is significantly better than it was years ago, simply because violating some road rules is more strictly enforced these days.  Generally traffic in Nepal is terrible.  the closer you get to the center of Kathmandu, the worse it is as well as the intersections near the airport.  Ring road (and many others) has been under construction for about 9 years and there is no end in sight, because of this constant construction the dust in the air is significant.  Rated as one of the dirtiest cities for air quality in the world, it would behoove you to buy a quality dust mask/respirator for your days on the road.  Avoid New Road at all costs.  If you can't find something around your place, the default answer you get from people is "New Road" therefore it sucks, almost all the time.  without drawing on a map, all I can say is you are going to have to explore so you can learn the routes with the least traffic and become comfortable navigating the city.  Though the traffic presents huge opportunities for stress, it is also a glorious treasure hunt like nothing else in the world and from my experience, there is no way to experience it in full in any other way than on two wheels. 
Parking:  It's not really much of a problem with car or bike, but in some places you will have to pay but it's minimal.  I was borrowing someone's truck and had to find a place to park it at night that was secure, but it didn't take much searching.  you just need to talk to friends and neighbors.

I commute daily from Jhamsikhel to New Baneswhor by company car.  The journey typically takes 20-30 minutes.  Traffic conditions vary every day, sometimes heavy and congested and sometimes light and free.  The worst part is the dust flying up in the air as some roads are unpaved and all roads are dirty. It is advisable to keep the car windows closed.  The other nuisance is the swarm of undisciplined motorbikes coming from all sides and causing delays.

It's not only in or around the Ring Road that you refer to where traffic and road conditions are bad. The Himalayan Times just reported today that the overall state of road construction and bridge building in the rest of the country can be summarized nationally, as illustrated in a so-called "Progress Report", thus reflecting the situation in Nepal as of 05/10/2018: 

No. of Projects     Zero Progress      Below 50%      Above 50% completion

           40                          11                         25                             4
                                  or a quarter         two-thirds             1 out of 10
                                                                                                    or 10%

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