Kakarbhitta is a city in Eastern Tarai.
Kakarbhitta is a small town on the border of Nepal and India, which can be used by foreigners to cross between the two countries. After crossing the border, it as an hour's drive from the Indian border town of Panitanki to Siliguri and four hours to Darjeeling. Most people use the town only as a transit point.
It is possible to get through tickets from travel agents in Kathmandu or Darjeeling between Kathmandu and Darjeeling. Usually this trip is very expensive compared to doing it yourself and there is no reason it to do it as it is easy to arrange everything yourself. You also can take whatever bus you want, rather than being restricting to take what is arranged for you. Usually from Kakarbhitta they arrange a night bus to Kathmandu, and therefore and you can not take the day bus and see the views on the way.
Often people are ripped off by these combined bus trips and are told they are going on a first-class luxury bus and then going on inferior services.
Air The closest airport is at Bhadrapur, 25km southwest of Kakarbhitta. On Gorkha Airlines (023 20549) and Cosmic Air there are daily flight to Kathmandu ($99). You can also get a flight to Kathmandu from Biratnagar, 3 hours away, which has a more reliable schedule.
Bus When you cross the border from India, the bus station is on the right before the village. Buses depart to Kathmandu (16 hr, Rs 350) usually in the early morning and between 3 and 6 pm. It is best to reserve a bus seat a few hours early in order to get a good seat (in the front). You can reserve a night bus to Kathmandu at the booking office in front of the bus station. Direct night buses to Kathmandu and Pokhara can be painful, not only is the trip long, but you also miss the fantastic views along the way. The views between Itahari and Janakpur are particularly good, passing over the large Sapta Kosi.
There are several buses from the border directly to Pokhara. Most are local buses, but there are a few deluxe ones, leaving at 4:30am, then in the afternoon at 3pm and 5pm. Times could change and buses get full so do get there in plenty of time. Private companies will show you the bus if asked. Price is around 1200 Nepalese Rupees, but you can pay in Indian Rupees too. (March 2017).
You can also get a bus to the interesting town of Janakpur (6 hr, depart 6 to 9 am, Rs 165) and break your journey in this pleasant town.
There are buses to Biratnagar (3½ hr, Rs 75) and one night bus to Birganj (12 hr, Rs 225). Buses to Kakarbhitta depart from the Kathmandu Bus Terminal between 4 and 6 pm. It is best to book them a day in advance.
To/From India The Indian border is half a kilometre east of town, and is marked by the Mechi River. Nepali immigration is open 24 hours, but you may have to look for the officials after dark. It will make it easier to get a Nepali visa if you have the correct amount in US cash dollars. If you do not have dollars you will have to go to the bank and change your money, and if it is closed you will have to wait. The immigration office here can also issue trekking permits for eastern Nepal including for the Everest area.
When you cross the border you can get one of the shared jeeps to Siliguri for Rs 35 per person. It is a 10-minute walk from Kakarbhitta to the Indian border town of Panitanki. A rickshaw is Indian Rs 6 (Rs 10 Nepali). From Panitanki there is a minibus (Rs 35 Indian per person) to Siliguri (1 hr, 35 km, Rs 6 Indian). From Siliguri you can take the toy-train or bus (3½ hr, Rs 50 Indian) to Darjeeling (79km), or a bus to Gangtok or Kalimpong. You could also take a taxi to Siliguri (Rs 60 Indian) or Darjeeling (Rs 140 Indian). From New Jalpaiguri (NJP) (Siliguri), you can get a broad-gauge train to Kolkata and other places. The nearby airport in Bagdogra (Siliguri) has flights to Kolkata and Delhi.
The overnight buses from Kathmandu usually arrive before 10 am
Ilam to Kakarbhitta - to Siriguri - to Darjeeling. Non locals cannot cross the border crossing point at Pashupatinagar (February 2019). The border has to be crossed at Kakarbhitta. One way to get to the border from Ilam is use the sumo (Four wheel drive vehicles). These are a shared taxi. The first ones leave (when full) from about 05:00 from the main bus terminal. The fare is 250 to 300 NPR (February 2019). The sumo will take you as far as Charaali. The driver will drop you off in Charaali at the intersection of the main road that goes to border. From here you have two main options to get to the border. The first is to take a tuk tuk These are waiting for you when you exit the sumo. The second is to take a local bus. The cost is 20 NPR (February 2019). From where the driver drops you off at the intersection, walk about 100 meters towards Kakarbhitta. Obvious by seeing the number of tuk tuks and people waiting for the bus. The buses are very frequent (and crowded). The bus will drop you off at the main bus terminal in Kakarbhitta. There are money changing offices just out of the terminal. There is also a toilet opposite the entry to the bus terminal. From the terminal, it is about a five minute walk to the Nepal immigration office. After getting the exit stamp, it is about a 10 to 15 minute walk across the bridge to the Indian border check point. Just after the exiting the bridge, an official will ask to look at your passport and will write some details in a book. You will be asked to supply a mobile phone number. (Have a phone number handy to give - it will save you a few hassles). From there, it is about a five minute walk to the Indian immigration office. Walking towards Siliguri, it is on the right hand side, and about 150 meters off the main road. After immigration formalities, walk back to the main road, turn right, walk for about five minutes until you see where the local buses leave to go to Siliguri. The cost is 30 Indian rupee (February 2019). Let the driver know you want to take the shared taxi to Darjeeling. You will be dropped off roughly opposite the Siliguri to Darjeeling shared taxi terminal. The sumos leave when full. The cost was 150 Indian rupee (February 2019). The sumos final stop in Darjeeling is at the main shared taxi terminal which is just past the main railway station in Darjeeling. (I did this trip in February 2019, I departed Ilam at 05:30, and I arrived in Darjeeling at approximately at 1:30 pm that afternoon. I was lucky because there was no waiting time for me. I was the last passenger to fill the vehicles).
The Tourist Office (20208) is on the main road, a little past the custom office on the right hand side (Sunday to Thursday 10 am to 5 pm, Friday 10 am to 2 pm).
You can change money at the Nepal Rastra Bank, on the pink building (sign only in Nepali) on the left side of the road as you enter town from India. Open daily from 7 am to 6 pm. There is a money changer in the corner of the bus station. The offices for Nepal Airlines and Everest Air (29020) are between the border and the bus stand.
The Nepalese immigration is open 7 am to 7 pm. You can get a visa at the Nepal border for US$25, which you usually have to pay in US dollars (exact change is expected). The closest Nepal consulate is in Calcutta. It is a fifteen-minute walk between the border and Raniganj, the first town in India.
As the bus stand is very noisy, it is a good idea not to get a room that faces the bus stand. Hotel Kathmandu (29008), on the main road, has rooms for Rs 200/250. It is not so good. ABC Lodge has rooms for Rs 200/250. Hotel Deurali has rooms with common bath for Rs 140. Kanchan Hotel (70015 62015), near the bus stand, has clean rooms with common bath for Rs 200, Rs 300 with bath, and Rs 500 with a TV. It is friendly and has a restaurant. Hot water in a bucket. Hotel Rajat (70033, 62033), a few minutes walk behind the bus stand, has rooms with common bath for $5, room with bath, hot water and TV for $ 15, and a $22 for a deluxe room. You can often get a discount. It has a restaurant. It is the best place in town and is well-managed. Mountain View Restaurant is a fairly good place. Hariyali Restaurant in the Hotel Rajan is one of the better places in tow
- Siliguri, India - a large city with shopping, hotels, airport, and major railway junction.