BIRGUNJ may not be one of the best places in Asia to spend time, but it certainly beats Raxaul, its evil twin across the border. The town has exploded in the last decade on the back of cross-border trade with India; its population has almost tripled since 2001. Unless you have business interests, there’s no reason to come here except to cross the border to or from Varanasi or Kolkata. Even then, you’re more likely to use Sonauli because of its better connections within Nepal. You could probably kill a few hours in the market area around Maisthan, a mother-goddess temple just off the main drag.

The border is 2km south of birgunj, and Raxaul, the Indian border town, sprawls for another 2km south of it. Horrendous traffic jams are a regular occurrence – if you’re driving it can take hours physically to get through, leaving aside the paperwork.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Nepal features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Go solo: the 20 best places to travel alone

Go solo: the 20 best places to travel alone

Solo travel can be one of the most rewarding ways to explore the world. Whether you'd rather spend it on a desert island or in a frenetic new city, here are th…

21 Dec 2016 • Rachel Mills camera_alt Gallery
Stunning documentary on Nepal shows restoration of the country's sites

Stunning documentary on Nepal shows restoration of the country's sites

"The only thing you could focus on was the fact that the earth was moving from side to side by about eight to ten metres." These are the words of Kathmandu resi…

07 Jun 2016 • Lottie Gross videocam Video
Painting the town red, pink, green and yellow: Holi Festival 2016 in pictures

Painting the town red, pink, green and yellow: Holi Festival 2016 in pictures

Every year, Hindus around the world celebrate Holi Festival: the festival of colours. The event attracts many non-Hindus to take part, too, with hundreds of p…

24 Mar 2016 • Lottie Gross insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month