The Bhimdatta (Mahendranagar) airport is closed. The closest airport is at Dhangadhi, 60km east. Flights to Kathmandu (US$215, one hour) depart daily at 9am, 1pm, 3pm, and 5pm. Providers include Buddha Air, Yeti Airlines, Nepal Airlines, Tara Air (www.taraair.com), and Saurya Airlines (www.sauryaairlines.com). A taxi from Bhimdatta to the Dhangadhi airport will cost Rs 3500 to Rs 4000 depending on the vehicle. Alternatively, buses to Dhangadhi (Rs 120) depart every 10 minutes, but this may entail a connection to the airport.
Crossing the Border – Bhimdatta (Mahendranagar) to Banbassa
The Nepali side of the border (Gaddachauki) is open to tourists 24 hours, but before 5am and after 10pm you may need to go searching for immigration officials. The Indian side of the border (Banbassa) is open 24 hours, but is only open to vehicles from 6am to 8am, 10am to noon, 2pm to 4pm and 6pm to 7pm.
There’s a small bank counter near the Nepali customs post, but it only exchanges Indian and Nepali rupees. In Bhimdatta (Mahendranagar), Nabil Bank has foreign exchange and an ATM.
Onward to India
From the Bhimdatta (Mahendranagar) bus station an AC bus (₹600) departs for Delhi at 5.30pm. Alternatively, take a rickshaw from the Indian border post to the bus station in Banbassa, where you can pick up regular long-distance buses to Delhi (₹300, 10 hours). Local buses and shared jeeps serve Almora, Nainital and other towns in Uttaranchal from here.
There's also a train station in Banbassa with service to Bareilly, from where you can pick up trains to other destinations in India. The new Banbassa station, due to open in November 2018, will expand service to Delhi and Dehradun.
For further information, head to shop.lonelyplanet.com to purchase a downloadable PDF of the Delhi chapter from Lonely Planet’s India guidebook.
Crossing the Border – Dhangadhi to Gauriphanta
The little-used border crossing from Dhangadhi to Gauriphanta, Uttar Pradesh, is useful for moving on to Lucknow, New Delhi or Dudhwa National Park. The Gauriphanta railway station is permanently closed. Ongoing travel is via the bus terminal.
Nepali immigration is open from 7am to 8pm. For ATM and foreign exchange use the Nabil Bank near the bus station, about 4km from the border. If heading east into Nepal, there is hourly bus service to Ambassa, the entry point to Bardia National Park (Rs 300, 3½ hours) and onward to Nepalganj (Rs 350, four hours). If heading west to Bhimdatta (Mahendranagar) there are also hourly buses (Rs 200, two hours). If you need to stay overnight, choose the central Hotel Flora (091-417544, single/double Rs 3200/4200) right off the main road.
The bus station is about 1km from the centre on the Mahendra Hwy. Long-haul buses leave for Kathmandu (Rs 1200, 15 hours) at 5am, 1.30pm, 2.30pm, 2.45pm and 3.45pm. An AC bus is Rs 1680. There’s a single Pokhara service (Rs 1100, 16 hours) at 2.20pm; AC is Rs 1400.
Local buses run every 30 minutes to Nepalganj (Rs 600, five hours), passing the turn-off to Bardia National Park at Ambassa (Rs 350, four hours).