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Nepal Money, Costs and Tipping

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Many of the most commonly asked questions about travelling to Nepal revolve around money, so we’ve put together some FAQs to help you prepare;

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What is Nepal’s currency?

Nepal’s currency is the Nepalese Rupee (NRs). Each rupee is divided into 100 paisa (like cents and pence), although most transactions will be rounded up to a full rupee.

The exchange rate is usually somewhere around NRs110-120 to US$1.

NRs1000 is about US$8.50, if that’s easier to remember!

It comes in a variety of notes and coins, ranging from NRs1 to NRs1000.

Are other currencies accepted?

You might be able to pay for some things with major currencies like USD, EUR or GBP, but for day-to-day spending you should always carry the local currency. Some more upmarket hotels and businesses may prefer payment leonbet in USD, EUR or GBP.

Where do I get Nepalese Rupees?

You can’t get hold of Nepalese Rupees outside of Nepal, so you’ll need to wait until you arrive. You can either bring cash to exchange – most major currencies will be accepted – or use one of the ATMs which are easily found in Nepal’s towns and cities. Both options are available at Kathmandu International Airport, so you can get some cash straight away.

If you’re trekking or just visiting a rural area, make sure you get cash beforehand. Having smaller denomination notes in these areas will make your life much easier!

ATMs

We’d recommend making use of these in Kathmandu and Pokhara, where the widest selection is available. Most other towns in Nepal will also have ATMs, but they are likely to be less reliable and some may have problems with foreign bank cards. It’s a good idea to take your cash out in the daytime, so that you can speak to the bank immediately if there’s a problem.

Some machines will have minimum withdrawal amount of around NRs15,000, and you should expect a fee of around NRs500 per withdrawal.

Exchanging Money

Official exchange rates are set by the government, and will be honoured at any official money changing facility across the country. Banks such as Himalaya Bank, Nepal Bank and Standard Chartered will offer a similar rate to the government, but any hotels offering money exchange are likely to give a lower rate.

You should take your passport with you when you change money, and make sure you keep the receipt.

What I have Rupees leftover when I leave?

You can change rupees back into foreign currency before you leave by going to a bank or exchange office. You may need to show the receipts from your previous exchanges, and be prepared that the rate won’t be all that good.

Can I pay with a debit or credit card in Nepal?

For the most part, Nepal has a very cash-based culture, but many hotels or more upmarket restaurants and shops will take card payments. There’s likely to be a fee of 3-5%, depending on your card issuer.

If all else fails…..

Services such as Western Union and Moneygram are available in most towns and cities in Nepal, so you can have money transferred if you run into any problems.

Should I tip in Nepal, and how much?

Tipping is less common in Nepal than in many other countries, but it is always appreciated and there are some situations where it is expected.

  • Many restaurants include a service charge, but if not then a small tip of 5-10% for the waiting staff will be appreciated.
  • Taxi and rickshaw drivers will be grateful if you round up the fare, or give a little extra change.
  • Guides and porters should usually be tipped, especially if they’ve done a good job. NRs300-500 per person per day, or around 10% of the tour price would be reasonable.

How much do things typically cost in Nepal?

Of course, prices vary across the country, and as a general rule the higher the altitude, the more expensive your food and drink will be. Here are a few example costs which you may find helpful;

  • A dal bhat (traditional Nepalese meal) shouldn’t cost more than about NRs250/US$2 in a local café in Kathmandu or Pokhara, but could be double or even triple the price if you’re in the mountains.
  • You should be able to have nice evening meal in a mid-range restaurant for under NRs1000/US$8, along with a local drink (nothing imported!).
  • Small local snacks, such as samosas or chapatis shouldn’t cost much more than NRs50/US$0.40, but imported crisps and chocolates will be similar in price to what you’d pay at home.
  • A bottle of Nepalese beer will cost you around NRs250/US$2 in the cities, but is likely to be double to price in the mountains.
  • An average taxi ride within a city or town will cost around NRs200/US$1.70.

What is a good daily budget for Nepal?

In terms of basic everyday spending (food, drinks, entertainment, local transport, tips, minor entrance fees), a budget of around NRs3000/US$25 will be comfortably enough for most travellers.

Of course, everyone has different spending habits. If you’re backpacking on a low budget then you may be able to get by on around NRs1000 per day, and if you like to travel more upmarket then there are plenty of extra things to spend your money on in Nepal!

Hotel, tour and permit costs in Nepal

  • Accommodation ranges from as low as NRs250/US$2 for a hostel dorm bed to around NRs15,000/US$125 for an upmarket hotel. A 3-star hotel room will cost between US$15-50 per night.
  • Trekking permits vary from NRs2500/US$20 up to NRs35,000/US$500, depending upon the region. Porters will usually charge US$20-25 per day, and guides $30-40. If you’re booking an organised tour then these costs will usually be included, so you can just leave a tip.
  • Day tours are available for around US$25-100 per person, depending on the tour type and location. This will generally include a guide and transport.

Need some help organising your trek or booking a good tour? Contact the Travel Nepal team for advice and help.

Can I haggle over prices?

Very much so, haggling is part of Nepalese culture and can be fun for both parties. Whether you’re shopping in a market or speaking to a potential driver or guide, it is almost expected that there will be a little negotiation on price.

Our advice would be to try to reach a deal that feels fair, rather than to keep pushing for the absolute lowest price as a matter of pride. You should consider that most workers in Nepal earn considerably less than the average tourist, so those few extra rupees you’re arguing over will make much more of a difference to them than they will to you.

Entertainment

While exploring Nepal and immersing yourself in its vibrant culture, you can also enjoy some online entertainment. Icecasino offers a wide range of online games, including slot machines, which can be a fun way to relax. With Icecasino, you can experience the excitement of gaming from the comfort of your hotel room or any internet-connected device, adding an extra level of excitement to your adventure in Nepal.

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