Train to Gorakhpur
If you want to cross the border from India into Nepal one of the most popular routes is via the Sonauli crossing. There isn’t a train which goes right to Sonauli, so you need to catch a train to Gorakhpur then a jeep/bus to Sonauli. We caught the train from Varanasi to Gorakhpur at 00:40, arriving at 6:55am (although our train was delayed an hour so we didn’t arrive until 7:55am). We were worried Varanasi train station might be very quiet at that time in the morning, however time didn’t seem to matter – all shops were open and there were lots of people waiting for trains.
Bus / Jeep from Gorakhpur train station to Sonauli
At Gorakhpur train station there are many jeeps waiting to take people to the Indian border at Sonauli – these cost approx. rs.100 per person for a shared jeep and take 3 hours, although jeeps are very cramped and will not leave until they are EXTREMELY full.
We decided to take a public bus to the border which cost us rs.70 each and also took 3 hours. In order to catch a bus, walk across the road opposite the train station then start walking right – you will come across many buses.
The bus will drop you approximately 300m away from the Indian immigration office. There are many cycle rickshaws which will take you to the immigration office for rs.20 – but it is easy to just walk. The immigration office is located on the right about 100m before the border – it is easy to miss so keep your eyes peeled. It only takes about 10 minutes to pass through immigration and get a stamp out of India.
After getting your stamp out of India, walk across the border into Nepal, about 25 metres after the gates you will find the Nepalese immigration office on your right. It took us around 20 minutes to complete the forms and get the Nepalese visa.
There are many touts standing around outside the immigration office offering buses to Chitwan / Pokhara / Kathmandu. These are tourist buses and so expect to pay more for these than a public bus. I advise you to avoid tourist buses in Nepal as they are more expensive, always packed full, and only stop to eat at expensive tourist restaurants.
Nepalese Immigration to Bhairawa bus station
In order to catch a public bus you need to take a cycle rickshaw (approx. rs.100) from the Nepalese immigration to the bus station in Bhairawa (approx. 4km away). This should take about 15 – 20 minutes in a cycle rickshaw. There are many buses leaving all day from this station – do not believe the touts at the border when they tell you that the last bus leaves at 1pm.
Bus from Bhairawa to Tansen
We caught a public bus to Butwal (for Tansen) which cost rs.100 per person and took 2.5 hours. The bus will drop you at the Tansen junction in Butwal – you will then need to catch a shared jeep to Tansen village for rs.15 per person (it only takes 5 – 20 minutes). We were approached and offered a whole jeep for rs.400 – but we asked around and managed to organise a shared jeep.