In the beginning of June 2019 I arrived at Kathmandu Airport as I was attending the Himalayan Travel Mart. Getting connected to the internet is one of the first things I do when I arrive to a new country. As a professional travel blogger I am constantly updating my social media channels and I don’t want to rely on free Wifi. Therefore I bought a Nepal sim card at Kathmandu Airport.
WiFi in Kathmandu and Nepal is widespread and most bars, restaurants, hotels and guesthouses offer free WiFi. I must say it is often ok, but I simply can’t deal with slow internet, so having a prepaid Nepal sim card with 4G data is a must for me when traveling to Nepal.
Buying a Nepal sim card is also the best way to kill long bus rides, waiting in traffic, getting directions, etc. It makes your trip to Nepal much easier, trust me! Therefore upon arrival at Kathmandu Airport I strongly recommend you to buy a Nepal sim card.
Interested in trekking in Nepal? Read my travel blogs about Langtang Valley, Poonhill, etc. But what you should definitely read now that you are about to travel to Kathmandu is my Nepal street food tour in Kathmandu. So much recommended! Yummy food, hidden courtyards, unknown food stalls and so much fun. Click on the link to read the article and see the video.
Curious what a Nepal packing list looks like? In the link you read all I bring with me for my trip to Nepal.
Be prepared for a little chaos when arriving at Kathmandu Airport. This is not the newest airport and everything is not that well organized. There is only one international arrival hall and baggage claim so that makes things easier. In the baggage hall you will already see advertisement from Nepal telecom who are offering free sim cards.
Where to buy a Nepal sim card at Kathmandu Airport
It might all seem a bit chaotic in the baggage hall but after you collect your luggage it is easy to find a Nepal sim card. When walking out of the baggage hall and walk through the customs check there is a sliding door to a covered outside area. On your right hand side you will see a Nepal Telecom and an Ncell shop next two each other. You can’t miss it.
There are only two mobile internet operators in Nepal: Ncell and Nepal Telecom. Nepal Telecom is sometimes also referred to as an NTC Namaste sim card.
To buy a Nepal sim card you need a passport photo and your passport. Don’t worry, in case you don’t have a passport photo they take one for you for 50 NRS ($0,50) at the shop itself. For buying a Nepal sim card you will have to fill out a registration form, which looks like this.
You will also need to bring Nepalese Rupees. USD and Euros are not accepted. Instead you can pay by credit card.
Prices Nepal sim card
Nepal Telecom prepaid sim card for tourists
As mentioned before you can get a free Nepal Telecom sim card at Kathmandu Airport. Just go to the NTC counter, fill out the form and you will receive one. The sim card does not come with any credit though.
At Kathmandu Airport you can buy the following Nepal Telecom data packages.
Which Nepal Telecom data package is the best for you depends on the length of your stay.
Ncell Nepal prepaid sim card for tourists
An Ncell Nepal sim card at Kathmandu Airport cost 110 NRS ($1) and can be bought when you fill out their registration form. For tourists there are 4 different Ncell prepaid sim cards available.
Ncell Nepal has a little more variation plus they don’t limit your usage to 1GB a day.
Best Nepal sim card at Kathmandu Airport
It is hard to determine the best Nepal sim card at Kathmandu Airport as it totally depends on the length of your stay. If you for example stay 7 days only, then a Nepal Telecom sim card is $1 cheaper, but they limit your data usage to 1GB per day. Personally I would not want that restriction for that dollar.
For longer stays a Nepal Telecom (NTC Namaste) is significantly cheaper and is more value for money, but again it comes with a limited 1GB per day restriction.
As Ncell sim cards are simply more flexible and have no limitations in my opinion Ncell is the best Nepal sim card at Kathmandu Airport!
Another important factor is to have a look at the 4G coverage maps. Some areas there is only a Nepal Telecom signal available, some areas only have an Ncell signal. For example I went trekking in Langtang Valley and there was only a Nepal Telecom signal.
For a complete overview of the 4G coverage in Nepal check out my best Nepal sim card article in this link.
Visa on arrival Kathmandu Airport
If you are eligible for a visa on arrival than there is nothing to worry about because as soon as you land you will be directed to one of the many visa machines. You fill out all the required information, print out your visa entry receipt and head to the cashier. Depending on the length of your stay you pay between $25 and $100 USD. You can pay in Euros too. There is an ATM next to the cashier, but it charges $5 extra to withdraw Nepalese Rupees.
On the visa entry receipt they already mention that a Nepal sim card is available after the custom counter! :)
How to get from Kathmandu Airport to the city
Nepal is one of the cheapest countries in the world to travel and therefore there is no need to tell you all the possible ways to get to the city. It is really simple: just grab a taxi. The taxis in Kathmandu all have a meter but as you can guess it is hard to find one who wants to use that meter. Ask around you might be lucky! A normal fair from KTM airport to Thamel (the popular tourist district) is around 600 - 900 NRS ($5 - $8).
There's no Uber yet in Nepal, but there are some alternatives. Bike sharing apps are popular. Those are handy, but not from and to the airport of course. Download Tootle and Pathao for bike sharing apps and Sarathi for taxis, but this last one doesn't really work.
I hope the above tips for buying a sim card at Kathmandu Airport were handy. Please return the favor and help me by sharing the link of this article on the internet. Share it on Facebook, tweet it on Twitter or pin it on Pinterest and I will be forever thankful!
Enjoy your trip to Nepal!