Flying to Kathmandu and wondering if you can buy a prepaid sim card for your trip to Nepal on arrival? This is a complete guide with everything you need to know about buying a sim card at Kathmandu Airport in 2024.
Get yourself a prepaid sim card for Nepal on arrival or an e-sim card for Nepal and don't let your trip be ruined by high roaming costs or slow overseas data roaming plans.
Buying a sim card at Kathmandu Airport is easy, simple and quick. Find out everything you need to know, where to buy a sim card, up to date prices as per January 2024, the best e-sim cards for Nepal and more.
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 slow WiFi. Traveltomtom also always used to buy a sim card at Kathmandu Airport, but now mostly uses e-sim cards for Nepal.
As Traveltomtom is on a journey to visit every country in the world I constantly get to new places and since I like to document all my travel tips you can already find more than 200 sim card guides on Traveltomtom from all over the world: Asia, Europe, USA, Austria, Italy, Europe, London, Paris, Rome, New York, Canada, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Philippines, Mexico and many more.
If for some reason you are unable to buy a sim card at Kathmandu Airport have a look at my complete guide for buying a sim card for Nepal in 2024.
If buying a local prepaid sim card on arrival in Kathmandu is too much hassle then have a look at my recommendations for travel sim cards for Asia in 2024 or get yourself an e-sim card for Nepal. Traveltomtom recommends Airalo, Nomad or SimOptions for ordering an e-sim card for Nepal.
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!
Why buying a sim card for Nepal
Stay connected and don't rely on WiFi in Kathmandu. WiFi in Nepal is pretty weak and not always reliable. Don't expect bars, restaurants, hotels and guesthouses all to offer free WiFi. Some do and the WiFi speed is ok, but mostly it is not!
Personally I simply can’t deal with slow internet anymore, so getting yourself a tourist sim card at Kathmandu Airport or ordering an e-sim card for Nepal on the internet will solve a lot problems. Traveltomtom recommends Airalo, Nomad or SimOptions for ordering an e-sim card for Nepal.
Having data on your phone is the best way to kill long bus rides, waiting in traffic, getting directions from Google Maps, staying in touch with friends, emergencies, check banking apps, etc. It makes life much easier and therefore traveling in Nepal much more fun.
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. Or curious what a Nepal packing list looks like? In the link you read all I bring with me for my trip to Nepal.
Traveling to several countries on your trip to Asia then have a look at buying an international sim card that is valid in for example all of Asia. Check out my guide with a comparison of the best travel sim cards in 2024.
Arriving at Kathmandu Airport
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 for buying a tourist sim card for Nepal.
Where to buy a sim card at Kathmandu Airport
It might all seem a bit chaotic, but in the baggage hall, after you collect your luggage it is easy to find a Nepal sim card shop. In 2024 there are now sim card stores inside the terminal. You can not miss the signs, see the photo above.
When walking out of the baggage hall and you walk through the last customs bag check there is a sliding door to a covered outside area. On your right hand side you will see another Nepal Telecom and an Ncell shop next two each other.
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 cards.
Sim card registration form
To buy a tourist sim card in Nepal you need to fill out a whole form and you also need a passport photo and of course your passport. Don’t worry in case you don’t have a passport photo on you they will take one for you for 50 NRS ($0.40) at the shop itself.
You will also need to bring Nepalese Rupees. USD and Euros are not accepted. However, the easiest way to pay for your new Nepal sim card is to use your international credit card. Visa and Mastercard are accepted in 2024.
Also great is that the sim card shops at Kathmandu Airport are open for every incoming international flight from early morning till after midnight.
Prices Nepal sim card at Kathmandu Airport
All the info and prices are updated in Janaury 2024. Below prices are in Nepalese Rupees and per January 2024: $1 USD = 133 NPR and 1 NPR = $0.75 USD.
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:
- 1 GB per day for 7 days + 60 minutes = 500 NRS - $3.70 USD
- 1 GB per day for 28 days + 100 minutes = 1,200 NRS - $9 USD
- 4.5 GB data for 28 days + 60 minutes = 700 NRS - $5.3 USD
- 12 GB data for 42 days + 60 minutes = 1,200 NRS - $9 USD
Which Nepal Telecom data package is the best for you depends on the length of your stay.
An Ncell Nepal sim card at Kathmandu Airport cost 110 NRS ($1.2 USD) and can be bought after you fill out their registration form. For tourists there are a wide array of prepaid sim cards plans and data packages available:
- 10 GB data for 7 days + 40 minutes = 500 NRS - $3.70 USD
- 20 GB data for 15 days + 40 minutes = 700 NRS - $5.30 USD
- 28 GB data for 28 days + 280 minutes = 1200 NRS - $9.00 USD
- 40 GB data for 30 days + 80 minutes = 1300 NRS - $9.80 USD
- 30 GB data for 60 days + 40 minutes = 1700 NRS - $12.80 USD
- 50 GB data for 90 days + 40 minutes = 2200 NRS - $16.60 USD
Ncell Nepal has a little more variation plus they don’t limit your usage to 1 GB a day.
Best Nepal sim card at Kathmandu Airport in 2024
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 extra 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.
In all honesty it is hard to decide which is the the best sim card for tourists at Kathmandu Airport in 2024!
Another important factor to determine what is the best sim card at Kathmandu Airport is to consider the mobile data network coverage maps for Nepal in 2024.
In some areas there is only a Nepal Telecom signal available, some areas only have an Ncell signal. For example I did the Langtang Valley Trekking for 10 days and there was only a Nepal Telecom signal available.
For a complete overview of the 4G/LTE network coverage in Nepal check out my article about the best sim card for Nepal in 2024.
My advice for buying a sim card for Nepal in 2024 is to buy a sim card from both operators, especially if you have two sim card slots. But that is only for those who no matter what want to stay online.
Going offline is the charm of traveling to Nepal.
To avoid all the hassle of buying a local prepaid sim card on arrival Traveltomtom recommends using an e-sim card for your trip to Nepal in 2024.
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 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 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.
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.
Visa on arrival Kathmandu Airport
If you are eligible for a visa on arrival then 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 USD and $100 USD. You can pay in Euros too. There is an ATM next to the cashier, but it charges $5 USD 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 it on Facebook, tweet it on X or pin it on Pinterest. I will be forever thankful!
Curious what it looks like trying to visit every country in the world? Go check out my Instagram account @traveltomtom and follow along. As of January 2024 I have visited more than 155 countries, so still a long way to go.
Enjoy your trip to Nepal!
Some links in this article about the best sim cards for traveling to Kathmandu are affiliate links. If you buy any of the products after using an affiliate link I will earn a small commission. This is at absolutely no extra cost to you.