| Frequently Asked Questions: Travelling to Nepal
It varies. You can always choose to make your trip expensive by staying at fancy luxury hotels and dining in their restaurants. But then you may as well be in New York. But if you are looking for a unique Nepali experience, you can do it for a lot less money. Outside the main tourist centers, $7-$10 will take you through the day even if you throw around money lavishly. In the main tourist areas, expect to spend about $20-$25 per day for everything including accommodation, food, and other travel expenses. Read the FAQ on Accommodation, the FAQ on Drinking and Dining, and the FAQ on Trekking for more details on specific cost approximations.
Traveler’s checks are the best and safest option. US dollars are the most widely accepted form of money, but banks also accept other major international currencies. For a listing of currencies accepted in Nepal check the daily exchange rates listing in The Kathmandu Post.
All major banks in Nepal exchange convertible hard currencies into Nepalese rupees. There is an exchange counter in the Kathmandu airport for you to start off. The US dollar is the most widely accepted currency. Don’t exchange more money than is necessary for usage in the next couple of days because exchanging Nepalese rupees back to hard currency is not easy: it can be done only at the airport before you leave, and only a certain fraction of what you originally exchanged into Nepalese rupees can be re-converted.
It is important to retain your exchange receipts in order to apply for visa extension and re-conversion of left-over Nepalese rupees when you leave Nepal.
The Nepalese rupee tends to devalue steadily every couple months against other hard currencies. To get the most recent rates check the exchange rate section of The Kathmandu Post.
Many tourist related businesses have started accepting payments in credit cards. It is, however, a fairly recent phenomenon, and cards other than Visa and Mastercard may not be accepted in most places. Remember that usage of credit cards in Nepal can cost you an extra three to five percent in transaction costs.
Commercial Banks such as Himalyan Bank and Nabil Bank have installed ATM machine’s in some places of Kathmandu but you may or may not be able to draw money from these machines depending upon the type of machine.
You can draw funds against your American Express, Mastercard or Visa cards in Kathmandu. The service premiums for doing this, however, is pretty steep. You can also have money wired directly to Kathmandu through any major bank within two to three working days.