Traveling to Nepal soon and looking for the best way to stay connected? Don't let slow overseas data roaming plans or high roaming charges ruin your trip. This is a complete guide for finding the best sim card for your trip to Nepal.

Find out everything you need to know about prepaid sim cards in Nepal, where to buy a sim card, the best 4G/5G network coverage in Nepal, the best e-sim cards for Nepal, up to date prices as per January 2024, my recommendation, info about international sim cards and more.

Buying a prepaid sim card for tourists is cheap in Nepal! Investing a couple dollars will make your trip to Nepal so much more convenient. However, in a country with very challenging logistics having a solid 4G/LTE connection is worth a lot. Finding a phone signal can be challenging.

Over the last years Nepal became one of my favorite travel destinations in the world. I have returned multiple times to this country and would recommend anyone to meet the amazingly lovely people of Nepal and see its utterly stunning landscapes.

As Traveltomtom is also on a quest to travel to every country in the world I constantly get to a lot of new places and the first thing I do is looking for the best ways to get connected.

Since I like to document everything for my travel blog you can already find more than 200 prepaid sim card and e-sim card guides on Traveltomtom from all over the world: Dubai, USA, Vietnam, Thailand, Pakistan, Turkey, France, Germany, United Kingdom, Europe, Switzerland, Europe, Asia, Singapore, Germany, Mexico, Brazil, Philippines and many more.

Flying to Kathmandu? Here is Traveltomtom's complete guide for buying a sim card on arrival at Kathmandu Airport in 2024.

Are you traveling to more countries in Asia then you might want to check out my article about the best sim cards for Asia travel in 2024.

So next time you are planning your adventure abroad come check out Traveltomtom for the latest prepaid and e-sim card advice for your next holiday destination. Bookmark me!

My recommendation

Traveltomtom recommends a Ncell prepaid sim card for Nepal as they have great sim card deals for tourists and the best mobile data network coverage in Nepal.

It must be said that comparing the network coverage maps of the mobile internet operators in Nepal is very difficult as little info is available.

Secret travel tip for Nepal for those travelers who want to stay connected no matter what: buy a prepaid sim card from Nepal Telecom AND from Ncell. Prepaid sim cards are really cheap, so it won't hurt your wallet.

However, if you don't want to look for a sim card shop and rather arrive prepared, Traveltomtom recommends ordering an e-sim card for Nepal on the internet via either Airalo, Nomad or SimOptions.

There is also the option of buying a physical global travel sim card with data that has coverage in Nepal. These sim cards are particularly handy when traveling to multiple countries on one trip. Check out my comparison of the best global sim cards with data in 2024 and pick the one that suits your trip the best.

Best e-sim cards for Nepal

The easiest way to stay connected when traveling to Nepal in 2024 is an e-sim card for Nepal. You can arrange everything online in just a couple clicks and no more swapping physical sim cards or visiting a sim card shop.

Keep in mind that the mobile internet operators in Nepal only provide physical prepaid sim cards for tourists, no e-sims. You can only order an e-sim card for Nepal on the internet.

You order an e-sim card for Nepal on the internet, you receive a QR code, scan it, follow the simple steps and within less than 2 minutes you have a Nepal e-sim card installed on your phone.

Upon arrival in Nepal it automatically connects you to an available network and you enjoy data on your phone pretty much when the plane lands.

Make sure your phone is e-sim compatible before ordering an e-sim card for Nepal.

Airalo

Airalo is a trusted e-sim card provider that sells e-sims for pretty much every country in the world. Unfortunately for Nepal they only have 1 e-sim card plan for 2024:

  • 1 GB data for 7 days = $9.5 USD

Click here for more info or to order a Nepal e-sim card via Airalo.

The above Patancell e-sim card is data-only and operates on the 4G/LTE mobile data network of Ncell.

SimOptions

SimOptions is another reliable e-sim provider and Traveltomtom has used SimOptions in more than 50 countries around the world. SimOptions offers international e-sim cards that are valid in up to 141 countries, including Nepal:

  • 6 GB data for 8 days = $19.90 USD
  • 6 GB data for 15 days = $39.90 USD

Click here for more info or to order an international e-sim card for Nepal via SimOptions.

Nomad

nomad esim card plans for nepal 2024

Another reviewed and trusted e-sim provider is Nomad. Nomad sells e-sim card plans for Nepal from SingTel and they operate on the Ncell 4G/LTE network.

Here are the Nomad e-sim cards for Nepal in 2024:

  • 1 GB data for 7 days = $6 USD
  • 3 GB data for 30 days = $12 USD
  • 5 GB data for 30 days = $15 USD
  • 10 GB data for 30 days = $24 USD
  • 15 GB data for 30 days = $28 USD
  • 20 GB data for 30 days = $36 USD

Click here for more info or to order an e-sim card for Nepal via Nomad.

With an e-sim card you keep your own phone number from home. All the e-sim cards for Nepal you order on the internet are data-only.

If your phone is not e-sim compatible then you need to order a physical prepaid sim card for Nepal on the internet. Order one online and get it delivered to your home address before your trip. Have a look at ordering an international sim card for Nepal online.

Why buying a sim card for Nepal

sim card thamel kathmandu

Staying connected avoids high roaming charges and it makes life simply much easier and therefore traveling in Nepal much more fun.

Think about using Google Maps, ordering taxis, booking hotels, killing time on endless long bus rides, waiting at the airport, etc. with a data connection on your phone you also protect yourself in emergency situations. Do not rely on Wifi in Nepal!

Bike sharing apps are popular, download Tootle and Pathao for bike sharing apps in Kathmandu and Pokhara. A taxi app is Sarathi, but don't except Uber standards.

On my second last trip to Nepal I did a Kathmandu street food tour, highly recommended! I would have never found all those places myself as we ended up in hidden courtyards and got to try the most amazing Nepal street food. Check out my vlog about my Kathmandu street food tour on my YouTube Channel.

More of my travel adventures in Nepal you can find in my blog about the Langtang Valley Trekking or click here for my Nepal packing list for 2024.

What to bring when buying a Nepal sim card

nepal telecom sim card registration form

I have done research about buying a sim card in pretty much every Asian country: PakistanMaldives, Vietnam, Thailand, UzbekistanIndonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong, etc. and like everywhere you will have to bring your passport for identification.

But when buying a Nepal sim card they also require a passport size photo. In case you don’t have one, don’t worry for 50 Rupees ($0.40 USD) they will take one of you on the spot.

Tourists buying a prepaid sim card in Nepal will have to fill out a registration form as well, see the photo above.

Buying a prepaid sim card for tourists in Nepal is a little time consuming. Prepaid sim cards are cheap. But if you rather skip all this or if you simply don't want to register your sim card then look into ordering an e-sim card for Nepal. Traveltomtom recommends Airalo, Nomad or SimOptions for ordering an e-sim card for Nepal.

Mobile internet operators in Nepal

nepal telecom kathmandu

This is the Nepal Telecom office in Kathmandu.

There are 2 main mobile internet providers in Nepal: Ncell, which is a private company and the state owned Nepal Telecom, also referred to as NTC Namaste. Both have an extensive 3G/4G network and competitive prices when it comes to data packages. But don't expect mobile data speed like home.

Best mobile data network in Nepal in 2024

To find the best sim card for traveling in Nepal lets look into the network coverage of both mobile internet operators. The 4G/5G coverage maps for Nepal are pretty important as you don't want to lose connection when leaving Kathmandu. I researched the internet to find coverage maps for both Ncell and Nepal Telecom, but could only find a 4G network map of Ncell.

Is there 5G in Nepal?

As of January 2024 there is no 5G network in Nepal. According to a news articles in 2022 they said Nepal Telecom would start tests with 5G in 2022, which got cancelled and postponed to January 2023. However, in 2023 another news article reported that Nepal Telecom put the 5G tests on hold again and in June 2023 The Kathmandu Post started with the headliner: Nepal waiting and waiting for 5G Mobile Technology.

Anyway as of 2024 there is still not proper 5G network available for tourists sim cards. The fastest mobile data connection is 4G/LTE.

3G/4G network coverage map Ncell

ncell 4g 5g network coverage map nepal 2024

3G/4G network coverage map NTC

nepal telecom 4g 5g network coverage map nepal 2024

Although the above mobile data network coverage maps are updated for 2024 they are not 100% accurate. From my own experience traveling in Nepal I know there is much more 4G/LTE signal available.

However, the above network coverage maps of Ncell and Nepal Telecom are a great reference to compare the 4G/5G networks of the mobile internet providers in Nepal in 2024.

Based on my own experience it is hard to tell you which one of the two internet providers in Nepal has the best Nepal mobile network. I eventually bought an Ncell sim card and in and around Kathmandu there was a 4G/LTE signal and internet was reliable and pretty ok.

In remote areas finding a good mobile internet connection was harder. Some of the porters and guides on my Langtang Trekking had a Nepal Telecom sim card but they encountered the same problem.

In January 2021 Nepal Telecom published an article about having extended their 4G network with more than 2,000 new towers across the country. Nepal Telecom specifies every region where they have a NT 4G network. Not a map, but a list.

nepal sim card tourists

Therefore it is hard to tell you which mobile internet network in Nepal is the best. When traveling to Nepal and going off the beaten path just be prepared to be offline and in case you find a phone signal make the most of it!

Another Traveltomtom secret travel tip for Nepal is to buy 2 sim cards from both mobile internet operators and when going off the beaten path switch to the sim card that is working. Thank me later!

Where to buy a Nepal sim card

sim card kathmandu

Kathmandu International Airport

The best place to buy a tourist sim card for Nepal is on arrival at the airport. Check out my complete guide for buying a sim card for Nepal at Kathmandu Airport.

Sim card prices at Kathmandu are pretty similar to sim card prices in the city center. At the airport the staff is trained selling sim cards for tourists and they all speak very well English. So if you want to buy a prepaid sim card on arrival in Nepal I recommend to do so at Kathmandu Airport.

Phone stores in Kathmandu 

When for some reason it wasn’t possible to buy a Nepal sim card at the airport you will find them everywhere around Kathmandu. Souvenir shops, clothing shops, etc. Everyone seems to sell local prepaid sim card for tourists.

But be aware that these sellers somehow have to make money too and they will charge you a couple dollars more. This is an example of the prices they charged at a random shop in Thamel, the most popular tourist district in Kathmandu. Prices are often 50% higher than at the official shops.

data packages nepal sim card

You are better off heading to the official Nepal Telecom or Ncell shops across Kathmandu. Everywhere you buy a Nepal sim card it will be activated for you on the spot.

Official retail store Ncell or Nepal Telecom

ncell shop kathmandu

Where to find them? Simply go to Google Maps and type in either: Ncell or Nepal Telecom. This is also where I lately bought my sim card for my trip to Nepal. Traveltomtom recommends official retail stores over a random shop because of the service offered and in case something goes wrong.

If you want to support local shops then I recommend you to buy a Nepal sim card in any of the clothing shops. Remember that 2020 and 2021 Nepal was hit really hard, so when traveling to Nepal in 2024 help the local shop keepers a little bit.

Pokhara sim card

If you for some reason want to buy a sim card in Pokhara then you can also find an official Ncell shop and a Nepal Telecom in Pokhara. They are a little bit away from the Lakeside, so you might just want to buy a sim card in Pokhara from one of the tourist shops around the lakeside area.

Online

As shown before there are lots of different e-sim cards available for Nepal in 2024. Traveltomtom recommends ordering an e-sim card for Nepal from either Airalo, Nomad or SimOptions.

If your phone is not e-sim compatible you can order a physical prepaid sim card for Nepal via SimOptions.

Prices Nepal sim card in 2024

Below you will see that prepaid sim cards with data in Nepal are among the cheapest you have ever seen. Tourist sim cards with data are super cheap and therefore already I recommend to a big data/voice package/plan just to make sure you don't run out during your trip.

Prices below are in Nepalese Rupee and as of January 2024: 100 NPR = $0.75 USD and $1 USD = 133 NPR.

Nepal Telecom

nepal telecom prepaid sim card plans 2024

At Kathmandu Airport they give away free sim cards to tourists. You only have to register, give a copy of your passport and a photo. In the official Nepal Telecom shop in Kathmandu city the same procedure will cost you 90 NRS ($0.70) and it comes with 50 NRS ($0.40) credit.

Nepal Telecom offers a wide range of data and voice plans, literally something like 50 different ones. The above pictures is an indication of what prices you can expect in 2024:

  • 5 GB data for 28 days = 290 NPR - $2.2 USD
  • 25 GB data for 28 days = 800 NPR - $6 USD

As you can see the prices for Nepal Telecom data packages are super cheap. Probably one of the cheapest prepaid sim cards in the world! If you buy the 25 GB data package you pay less than $0.25 USD per 1 GB data.

The same Nepal Telecom data package at Kathmandu Airport is $10 USD, that is almost 50% more expensive, but we are talking about $4 USD.

The above prices are up to date as per January 2024 and are a selection of the best data plans. There are also endless social media packages, voice packages and more. For more info check the Nepal Telecom website. In Nepal Telecom stores in Nepal they only provide physical prepaid sim cards, there are no e-sim cards for tourists available.

Ncell

ncell nepal prepaid sim card plans 2024

An Ncell Nepal sim card costs 110 NRS ($0.9 USD) and you also have to register with a passport size photo and your passport copy. It does come with 30 NRS ($0.2 USD) and 1 GB data for 3 days or you buy one of their data, voice, combo plans.

Ncell also has uncountable prepaid plans available and the above 3 are just a selection. There are a ton of social media packages per application, so a TikTok plan, a YouTube plan and so on.

  • 1.5 GB per day for 28 days = 599 NPR - $4.5 USD
  • 60 GB data for 28 days = 599 NPR
  • 5 GB data for 7 days = 145 NPR - $1.1 USD

For more info check the Ncell Nepal website.

Best sim card for Nepal in 2024

As you have read between the lines it is really hard to define what is the best prepaid sim card for tourists in Nepal in 2024. But one thing is certain: prepaid sim cards in Nepal are super cheap.

Getting connected in Nepal is most probably one of the cheapest in the world. For example 5 GB data for 7 days for a little over $1 USD is incredible.

In all honesty it doesn't matter so much which prepaid sim card you buy for Nepal. In fact if you really need to stay connected all the time then buy 2 prepaid sim cards: one from Nepal Telecom and one from Ncell. That is what most locals do!

Traveltomtom is an advocate for using e-sim cards when traveling. It simply makes everything so much easier and there is no need anymore to visit a sim card shop on arrival in Nepal. Traveltomtom recommends ordering your e-sim card for Nepal via either: Airalo, Nomad or SimOptions.

However, after comparing the Nepal e-sim cards Traveltomtom comes to conclusion that Nomad is the best e-sim card for traveling to Nepal in 2024.

The charm of traveling to Nepal is to be offline and being one with nature! Personal opinion of Traveltomtom...

Best sim card for Langtang Valley trek

The most amazing thing I did on my one of my last trips to Nepal was the Langtang Valley trek. Being offline is one of the main reasons why I love hiking in the Himalayas so much but nowadays there is a phone signal almost everywhere. On the Langtang Valley trek there was only a Nepal Telecom phone signal available, as I had an Ncell sim card I was offline for 7 days.

Best sim card for Annapurna Circuit

In 2013 I went trekking in the Annapurna region and back then there was no phone signal at all. Nowadays things have changed and I asked experienced guides that trek there every month and the best sim card in Nepal for trekking in Annapurna is Nepal Telecom. Nepal Telecom has much better phone reception in the Annapurna region than Ncell.

Best sim card for Everest Basecamp

On the contrary according to the guides and porters Ncell is the best sim card in Nepal for trekking to Everest Basecamp. So if you travel to Nepal for the Everest Basecamp Trek make sure to buy an Ncell sim card as your primary way to stay connected.

Buy a prepaid sim card for Nepal online

orange holiday world international prepaid sim card for nepal

If your phone is not e-sim compatible but you would like to order a sim card for traveling to Nepal online before your trip then check out the following.

Arrive prepared in Nepal with an international prepaid sim card. You order them online and a physical prepaid sim card will be delivered to your home address. You put this sim card in your phone and it automatically connects to an available network upon arrival in Nepal, basically when the plane lands you are instantly online.

SimOptions is the only sim card provider that sells physical prepaid sim cards for Nepal:

  • 1 GB data for 14 days = $49.90 USD

Click here for more info or to order this internaitonal sim card for Nepal via SimOptions.

Last reminder that if your phone is e-sim compatible you can arrange everything within just a couple minutes on the internet. Traveltomtom recommends ordering your e-sim card for Nepal via either: Airalo, Nomad or SimOptions.

My experience buying a sim card in Nepal

On previous trip I always used to buy a sim card for Nepal on arrival at Kathmandu Airport. Depending on where I go I choose my main sim card or sometimes I buy a sim card from both operators.

I like that Ncell has a huge data pack for just $6 USD and no data restrictions per day and for trekking Everest Basecamp it is the recommended sim card. Although lately I had both sim cards and actually found out that Nepal Telecom had equally good phone reception on the Everest Basecamp trek as well.

On my last trip to Nepal I used an e-sim card from Nomad. These e-sim cards operate on the Ncell 4G/LTE network and I had a pretty good signal throughout my trip. I order an e-sim card with 20 GB data and liked the big data package so I did not even have to use the WiFi of my hotels.

When it comes to mobile data speed I recommend you to have little expectations when traveling to Nepal. Uploading Instagram stories always used to be a nightmare especially if you are off the beaten path. Things have changed for the better and upload speed got faster over the last years.

Data speed in Nepal drops significantly when you are traveling away from Kathmandu. Watching TikToks for some reason is mostly no problem and works pretty much good, even on a 3G signal for some reason. Uploading on 3G is simply a disaster!

Does a sim from India work in Nepal?

Something frequently asked is if Indian sim cards work in Nepal. Yes, they work, but only if you activate a data roaming plan. You can’t use your Indian data bundles and calling minutes in Nepal, you will have to pay an extra charge. Therefore also for Indian tourists it is better to buy a Nepal sim card when traveling in Nepal or ordering an e-sim card for Nepal online via Airalo, Nomad or SimOptions.

Here is some Nepal travel inspiration. Check out my blogs about Langtang Valley Trekking, Nepal Street Food Tour in KathmanduWhat To Pack for Nepal and many more.

I am traveling the world continuously since 2012 and the first thing I do when arriving in a new country is buying a sim card. As Nepal is one of the cheapest countries to travel in the world, buying a prepaid sim card is not going to break the bank. As per January 2024 I have visited more than 155 countries around the world.

I hope the above tips for finding the best Nepal sim card for your trip were helpful. Please share it in Facebook Group, tweet it on X or pin it on Pinterest. You will make me smile big time!

Enjoy your trip to Nepal!

Some links in this article about the best sim cards for Nepal are affiliate links. If you buy any of the products after using an affiliate link I earn a small commission. This is at absolutely no extra cost to you of course!