Haha, all jokes aside the direct bus from Varanasi to Kathmandu is a plush air conditioned Volvo bus which will guarantee a pleasant journey (well, as pleasant as a long haul can be).
It runs every other day.
One day it will be coming back to Varanasi and the other it will be heading out to Kathmandu.
So, to avoid my mistake of turning up on the wrong day – make sure you know which day it is running! You can check here.
Although more expensive, a direct ‘luxury’ bus totally beats getting the cheaper local buses which will take twice as long and will be twice as sweaty.
The traditional way used to be to head to Sanauli, then grab a bus from there to Kathmandu/Pokhara. Or, head to Gorakhpur by train then Sanauli by bus and finally a bus to Kathamandu.
We were told that a trip to Sanauli via the local bus would take 9-10 hours.
Having taken many local buses now in India, I knew this would be nothing but a horrendous dirty, hot and hectic journey. So much so, I decided to book another hotel for the night and wait until the next day to take this one.
It simply takes out a lot of the hassle. Our ‘nice bus’ also took around 11 hours, so the local bus would have been around 15-20 as local buses seem to stop everywhere, for anyone and for any amount of time.
It leaves at 10am from Varanasi and arrives to Kathmandu the next morning.
We were at first told it was going to be 2am, then it was 5am, but we ended up getting there at 4pm the next day!!
To be fair, this was due to landslides and some naughty bus drivers heading the wrong way and blocking the road. Tut, Tut.