Hire A Private Driver In Kathmandu | Ultimate Guide (2020)
Seek To Travel Author | January 27, 2019
Are you planning to hire a private driver in Kathmandu, Nepal? If so, this article will help you find the best driver in Kathmandu.
Kathmandu is the capital of Nepal. It is a valley located approximately 1400 meters above sea level. Kathmandu is also known as the city of temples. You will literally see a temple every few kilometers as you pass through the streets of Kathmandu.
The area of Kathmandu valley is only 413.6 acres however there are nearly a million people who live in the valley.
As you can imagine, the roads would be crowded and there are many hidden areas in the city which you will not know about unless you are with the locals, a guide or hire a private driver with a car in Kathmandu.
For this reason, we have organised this guide to help you find the best chauffeur in Kathmandu which we believe is the best way to travel around Kathmandu and see some of the most iconic historical landmarks of Kathmandu.
1) Should you hire a private driver in Kathmandu?
Although Kathmandu city is not a big city, it will still take time to go from one place to another due to the heavy traffic and crowd which can be quite chaotic.
Kathmandu doesn’t have a train service however public buses and taxis are available.
Buses are a very cheap way to travel however they are no way near luxurious nor well organised, especially with seating arrangements.
If you are in no hurry and are seeking an experience of how to travel like a local then, by all means, go for the ride. They may also not stop at the places you are heading to, so you might need to get another bus or a taxi to directly take you to the place you are visiting.
Your other option is a taxi. Taxis are not really regulated in Kathmandu. Even though the government tries to mandate meters in the taxis, the drivers do not always agree to use a meter.
You will then start negotiating and without knowing how much it will cost you are from one destination to another, you will most likely pay over the negotiated price.
For these reasons, we recommend you to hire a private driver in Kathmandu. You will travel in comfort and you will know how much you will be paying. You will also be able to customise your tours and be able to see all the places you want to see.
2) Where can you go with a private driver?
Even though Kathmandu is a small valley, there are plenty of things to do in Kathmandu and places to explore. You can absorb the atmosphere of this city and experience what the city has to offer.
We have listed a few iconic landmarks for you to get an idea of some of the places to explore in Kathmandu with your very own chauffeur.
This is the most popular and sacred Hindu temple in Nepal. It is believed that this temple was founded in 753 AD which is one of the oldest structures in the city.
This temple is located on the banks of the Bagmati river which is the holy water for Hindus.
Pashupatinath temple is also a UNESCO world heritage site. You will be able to see a lot of structures in the temple including ancient art carvings.
For tourists and non Hindus are not allowed inside the main temple area however you will be able to admire the temple from outside and from the other side of the Bagmati river.
Visitors may witness a cremation ceremony performed only by priests held on the side of the Bagmati River which is the most sacred part of the river. It is asked as a respect to the grieving families that all visitors do not take pictures and to remain respectful.
Pashupatinath temple is around 5 kms from Thamel and will take around 15 mins drive (depending on traffic) to the temple.
This is one of my favourite Stupa. Boudhanath is one of the world’s largest dome shaped stupas located in Kathmandu in Boudha, the holiest Buddhist shrine outside of Tibet.
It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Boudhanath is known to be one of the most famous tourist attractions in Kathmandu.
The stupa is located in the center surrounded by small shops where you can find traditional Buddhist arts and crafts. The atmosphere around the stupa is very calm and peaceful with the sounds of mantra in the background chanted by priests and worshippers.
You can also enjoy a cup of coffee while soaking in the atmosphere from one of the cafes overlooking Boudha.
Boudhanath Stupa is located around 6 km from Thamel. It will take around 25 mins by car to reach Boudha from Thamel without traffic. However, do be prepared for traffic and give yourself extra time to reach there and back.
Swayambhunath known as the Monkey Temple is a Buddhist temple located atop the hill overlooking panoramic views of Kathmandu valley. It is one of the most sacred sites for Buddhists and one of the oldest religious sites in Nepal.
You can reach the top of the temple either by car or by stairs (have your driver drop you off at the bottom of the steps) and walk right to the top. The walk is worthwhile as the views from the top are spectacular of Kathmandu valley.
You get a sense of peace once you reach to the top with the chanting of om mani padme hum in the background, the prayer flags fluttering in the wind and the prayer wheels spinning.
Entrance to the Stupa is free for locals and 200 rupees apply to all tourists. For a sunrise or sunset experience, visit Swayambhunath in the morning or the afternoon and get a stunning panoramic view of Kathmandu Valley.
Manakamana takes around 3-4 hours by car west of Kathmandu. Manakamana is known as a sacred place and Hindus from all over the country come to visit Manakamana Temple which is dedicated to the Goddess Bhagwati, an incarnation of Parvati.
It is said that the Goddess grants the wishes of those who visit the temple. The temple is located at the top of a hill overlooking the rivers of Trisuli and Marsyangdi.
Kathmandu Durbar Square is one of the three Durbar Squares and home to the old Royal Palace of the Malla and Shah Kings. Durbar Square in the Kathmandu valley is rich in history and surrounded by temples.
The courtyard of the Square is where all the cultural and traditional ceremonies take place with thousands of people who come along to watch these ceremonies.
Kathmandu Durbar Square is also known as Hanuman Doka (a statue of Hanuman located at the entrance of the old Royal Palace) and here you will also find the most iconic statue of Durbar Square and that is Kal Bhairav.
Narayanhiti Palace is located right in the center area of Kingsway. The Palace has been the main residence of the Shah royal family and was built by King Mahendra in 1963.
The palace stands alone on large land with beautifully landscaped gardens. There are 52 rooms inside the palace and are named after 75 districts of Nepal.
The palace is no longer a residence to the royal family and has now turned into a museum showcasing the lifestyle of the royal family.
City tour of Kathmandu is a must when one is visiting Kathmandu. The experience sightseeing around the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu is what makes it worthwhile, especially for a place that is rich in history, culture and traditions.
There are UNESCO world heritage sites to visit, temples, palaces as well as shopping like a true local at one of the many street markets and famous shopping districts.
Thamel is one of the well known areas of Kathmandu attracting thousands of people every day, mainly tourists but has also been a favourite hangout spot for the locals.
Thamel is known for its streets and alleys filled with small shops all lined up together selling goods, souvenirs and trekking gears.
Here you will also find travel agencies who can organise your trips, many guest houses for tourist accommodation as well as trendy restaurants, cafes and bars.
New Road is the busiest street and the shopping district of Kathmandu. It is close to Durbar Square and the old royal palace.
The area is surrounded by shops, markets and department stores all with a great selection of items from clothing, accessories, traditional clothing, etc.
Everyone comes here to shop especially during the festive season. You can also find cafes, restaurants and authentic Nepali street food.
Asan also is known as Ason Bazar is the main marketplace of Kathmandu located in the residential area of Asan surrounded by temples.
Many shoppers from all over Kathmandu come to Asan Bazar to do their shopping. The variety of items you will find here is huge where you can pretty much find everything.
Asan is a very busy area with street vendors all cramped up selling their items, this is a vibrant area and one that makes a unique shopping experience in Kathmandu so be prepared to bargain, walk around and soak up the atmosphere.
Dhulikhel is located on the eastern side of Kathmandu, about 30 km from Kathmandu city. Dhulikhel is a well known area to view the Himalayas. On a good day, visitors are able to see panoramic views of the Himalaya range including Ganesh Himal, Langtang, Gaurishankar and Mount Lhotse.
Dhulikhel attracts many visitors especially to get away from the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu and stay the night at the many hotels and lodges located in Dhulikhel.
Although visitors can make it a day trip from Kathmandu to Dhulikhel, it is a great idea to spend at least a night in Dhulikhel to relax. The view from these hotels is beautiful overlooking the valley and the Himalayas in the background.
Nagarkot is located 32km east of Kathmandu, close to Bhaktapur. Nagarkot is considered as one of the best viewing spots for panoramic views of the Himalayas.
It is a well known area for tourists as well as for the locals. There are many luxurious hotels/resorts and lodges to stay at, simply to relax and to enjoy your stay in Nagarkot.
The best view of the Himalayas is during sunrise, where you can see spectacular views of the Himalaya range including Mount Everest. The ranges include Manaslu, Ganesh Himal, Everest range, Numbur and Langtang along with views of Kathmandu Valley and Shivapuri National Park.
During the early days, those who wanted to visit the temple would have to hike up 3-4 hours to the temple. These days a 10 minute cable car ride from Kurintar takes you to the temple and back making it very convenient to visitors so they no longer have to hike for hours.
There are many places to visit in Kathmandu, although it is a small city there are plenty of things to do and see in Kathmandu.
Depending on what your interests are and where you want to go, you can hire a driver with a car for the day and have them take you to some of the most iconic historical places in Kathmandu and its surrounding areas.
For adventure seekers, day trips outside of the valley can also be organised such as hiking and whitewater rafting. The sightseeing tours are suitable for everyone with an extensive list of things to do and see depending on each individual’s interest.
This is definitely an experience of a lifetime learning about the history, culture, and tradition of the Nepalese people.
Patan is the third largest city of Nepal located in the district area of Lalitpur. The city is rich in Newar culture, tradition and history. The main area of Patan is Patan Durbar Square, which is one of the three Durbar Squares in Kathmandu Valley.
There are historical temples and landmarks surrounding Durbar Square but mainly the whole area of Durbar Square was the residence of the Malla Kings of Lalitpur.
Bhaktapur was once the capital of Nepal and the residence of the royal family during the Malla Kingdom. Bhaktapur is a very popular tourist destination, it is a well organised (not as crowded as Patan and Kathmandu), clean and charming city filled with so much history and Newar culture.
Not only is Bhaktapur known for its famous Newari cuisines but the city is also very well known for its traditional artwork made from clay. Everyone looking for souvenirs come to Bhaktapur particularly for souvenirs made from clay. The craftsmanship is outstanding, you can also watch them being made.
3) How to find a driver in Kathmandu?
It can be quite tricky and challenging if you need a driver in Kathmandu, especially finding the best and the right driver who understands your requirements.
So how to hire a driver in Kathmandu?
The best way for you to hire the best driver in Kathmandu is through word of mouth from family and friends.
Their recommendation on a driver would be the best option as they are able to share their experiences with you which allows you to hire a car and driver in Kathmandu they recommend.
You can also look at recommendations for drivers in online forums however there are plenty of fake reviews online these days.
You can also search in Facebook groups, but you will find there are a lot of self-promoters who may or may not suit your requirements.
If you prefer a verified driver with a valid driver’s license, you should consider contacting drivers on Seek to Travel. You can discuss your plans with drivers anonymously and also there are no booking fees.
You will also be able to negotiate in advance and pay online so you won’t have to pay cash to the drivers after your trip.
Seek To Travel also provide a VIP service. You can let us know your requirements and we will connect you to the best driver available.
4) Should you connect with random drivers using WhatsApp?
How to contact a private driver in Kathmandu? Should you use WhatsApp, Facebook, TripAdvisor? Let us go through some of these ways in a bit more detail.
Giving out your phone number to a stranger can be quite risky. Once you give out your number to someone, they can save your phone number on their phone. They will then be able to view your pictures, profile details, and other information through WhatsApp/social media and other technologies.
To avoid this situation, it is best to stay anonymous when you contact drivers. You should get information from drivers and only give your contact details to just one driver which you have selected to work with. This will minimize you having to give your personal details to several people.
Seek to Travel messaging technology allows you to message drivers anonymously. You can choose the driver you would like to work with, pay securely and get connected to the driver via email.
5) Should you connect with random drivers in Kathmandu on Facebook or Facebook Groups?
It depends who is recommending drivers to you on Facebook. Is it someone you trust or is it a friend on Facebook?
You will find that once you ask a recommendation on Facebook Group, you will be overwhelmed with responses from drivers you do not know.
You may get recommendations from group members as well. If you know them and trust their advice, then you can look into it in detail.
If you don’t want to share your Facebook profile with strangers, then you should not post on public pages. You will find that taking advice from strangers on Facebook who you don’t know and trust, is not the best idea.
6) How about Forums like TripAdvisor to connect with drivers in Kathmandu?
You may have asked yourself, how about drivers in Kathmandu recommended in Forums?
Well, if you search in google about fake reviews on TripAdvisor, you will come across a ton of articles which talks about TripAdvisor’s fake review.
It is confusing and can be a major problem. Who do you trust, and which businesses are getting true reviews?
You don’t want to book a business based on just reviews. You should contact the driver, send them a private message anonymously with all your questions and any detailed information you would like to know.
Only give your contact details if you truly think the driver understands your requirements and you would like to work with them. This way it will minimize the risk of giving your contact details to several people.
You can try Seek To Travel to contact drivers anonymously to get quotes. Try it now.
7) Should you book drivers from your hotel in Kathmandu?
Booking through a hotel in Kathmandu can be an option but it will work out to be quite expensive, costing you extra.
You may find that if a personal driver costs you $60 on Seek To Travel, some hotels may quote you around $80 for the same service. So, it is always recommended to plan your trip in advance.
Do plan beforehand as last minute booking can be more expensive and you can expect to pay more, therefore, we do recommend you to plan your trip in advance. You can check out Seek To Travel and plan your trip.
8) Where else can you book a private driver for Kathmandu?
Besides Seek To Travel, you can find drivers by contacting tour operators in Kathmandu. You will find tour operators mainly in tourist areas like Thamel.
You can also book random drivers on the streets however chances are they will not know English very well or they are not familiar with the areas you would like to explore. It is also difficult to know if the drivers are good and if they have a valid driver’s license.
You will also find some drivers will only drive you around and may not communicate as much as you’d like to. They may not have an understanding and knowledge about the places you will be seeing in Kathmandu.
Drivers registered with Seek To Travel will make sure they will walk around with you to show you the places if you ask them to. They will also give you an insight into these places and take you to the right place like a local guide. You will feel safe and secure with a local person and will get a real experience of Kathmandu.
9) What we look for in a driver in Kathmandu?
We look for the below criteria in a driver when we register them on our website. We recommend you to have a look below:
Understand the English Language:
You should choose a driver who understands English so you can communicate with them. It is important that they can be able to understand your requirements and for you to understand how they work.
An overall understanding, communication, and knowledge about the itinerary planned out for the day.
If you need someone who is an excellent communicator and who is an expert in the places you would like to see, then we recommend you hire a tour guide. Most of the drivers will know a tour guide and they will be able to bring them along for an additional fee.
They should be humble, patient and nonaggressive at all times. They should be flexible about pickup and drop off times and work with you to plan the trip that meets all your requirements.
Ideally, your driver should be a Kathmandu local and should have knowledge about the places you are visiting.
Seek To Travel works with only local drivers. Drivers will not only take you to your destination, but they will also show you around.
They will act like a local guide giving you a full insight into the places you are visiting. This will be a wonderful experience, the best way of seeing the city like a true local.
You should hire a driver in Kathmandu who has included everything in their tour package. They should include petrol, parking fees, etc.
Some places will have entrance fees which will not be included, you will need to pay for an entry ticket, however entrance fees may not apply for most drivers.
10) Do you have to pay for waiting time?
Most of the drivers do not charge for waiting time. For the private tour, you should arrange a pick-up time and a meeting point with your driver in advance to avoid any confusion.
If there are any changes to your plan, you should inform the driver and clearly communicate with your driver.
For airport transfer, most of the drivers we work with understand that there may be some situation that is not under your control.
They are considerate/flexible that things can change, and it is beyond your control if flight time changes. Hence, they will not charge you extra. If possible, do inform the driver beforehand if there have been any changes or delays.
NOTE: Do inform your driver beforehand how many passengers and the number of luggage you will be carrying. That way the driver will be able to make proper arrangements according to the number of passengers and luggage.
11) How much does it cost to hire a driver in Kathmandu?
Private driver cost in Kathmandu depends on two things, the time you would like to hire a car and the type of car. A luxury car price will vary from a standard car. A 7-seater car will be more expensive than the 5-seater car.
Below will give you some idea on the cost of if you rent a car with a driver in Kathmandu.
So, how much does a private driver cost?
Full Day: A full day which is 8-10 hours service will cost around USD $60 for a standard 5-seater car.
Half Day: Half-day tours are around 4-6 hours, it will cost around USD$30-$35 for a standard 5-seater car
Airport Transfer: Depending on where you need to go, Airport Transfers will typically start from USD $15. Make sure you communicate where you need to be dropped off and the price beforehand.
Tours in Kathmandu: Price for fixed tours in Kathmandu will depend on the length of the tour and distance the driver needs to cover. You can expect to pay around $60 a day plus any extra fees for entrance to certain attractions.
12) What happens if you go over time on your booking?
In case there is a situation where your trip may go over time, talk to the driver. You can make arrangements with the driver and check with the driver if there will be an extra fee for the overtime.
Most of the time the driver will charge per hour and cash payments can be made to the driver at the end of the trip.
13) When is the best time and day to book?
It is advised to book in advance so that you can plan your trip properly and have enough time to communicate with the driver. The drivers will be able to provide enough information in regards to your requirements and to properly make all the arrangements for your trip.
We suggest not to leave it too late for example on the day or the night before your trip and to allow a day before booking so that we can make proper arrangements for you with the driver. It is important that you provide as much detail and to have clear communication with your driver.
14) Do you have to pay an extra fee for Airport Transfers or Trips?
No, fees are not applicable to most places for car rental in Kathmandu with a driver when you book through Seek To Travel.
There may be situations where you will have to pay extra depending on the distance you are travelling. It is advised to have a clear communication with the driver and to provide as much information on where you need to go.
Make arrangements with the driver on prices and pick up/drop off time and location beforehand so that everything is clear.
15) Is there an extra fee for an early morning pick up?
No, there is no extra fee for early pickups. If your plan changes, you should provide enough notice and time for the driver to make proper arrangements.
16) Should you tip your driver in Kathmandu?
Do you tip in Kathmandu? How much do you tip a driver in Kathmandu? This may be some of the questions that have come to mind.
You do not need to tip in Kathmandu, which includes drivers and other places you may visit like restaurants, bars, hotels.
If you are booking a driver with Seek To Travel, you do not need to pay any extra fees. It is not necessary to tip but you can if you wish to. Even as much as $5 goes a long way for drivers in Kathmandu, they will appreciate your kindness.
17) Should you consider driving in Kathmandu?
Every country you travel to, you will find that there is a slightly different way of driving. Kathmandu is no different.
You may be used to driving in your country and you may be a good driver. However, we do not recommend it!
You will see motorbikes changing lanes without any signals, people crossing roads where they should not be crossing. It is just too risky to drive in Kathmandu. You do not want to risk your life and life of others.
18) How to hire a private driver using Seek To Travel?
There are two ways to book the best private driver. You can search for tours, trips and airport transfers using our search page here. Once you find the service you are looking for, you can contact the driver anonymously to make sure the driver will meet all your requirements.
Once you are happy with their response, you can click on the buy button to book their service. Once you have paid, we will send an email to you and the driver notifying about the payment. You can then exchange your phone numbers if you wish to. This way, you can maintain your privacy until you find the right driver for you.
Another way is to simply provide your requirements to us here and we will do all the work for you. We will look for a driver and book the driver on your behalf.
We do not release the payment to drivers until the trip is completed. Hence, you can be assured that the driver will maintain the highest quality throughout your journey.
Kathmandu is truly a beautiful place that is filled with rich history and culture and is known to have some of the best natural beauty in the world. There are also plenty of activities for adventure seekers whose interests are hiking and trekking.
The Nepali people are generous and happy and love to share their culture and traditions with visitors.
To see and explore Kathmandu on your visit, as discussed in this article, we do highly recommend hiring a driver with a car for private tours.
Not only to drive you around but to also experience Kathmandu like a true local with your very own guide to take you to some of Kathmandu’s famous locations and attractions that cannot be missed!
If you have any questions or would like to share your feedback, please leave a comment below.
Have a safe trip and happy travels!