Nepal is one of the cheapest countries to travel in the world, but it also provides the best value for your money spent as it has many things to offer except the low cost of travel. When we say Nepal is a cheap country to travel, here arises a question, Is Nepal really a cheap country? The answer is NO. Nepal is not cheap for people who earn and spend in the country. It is actually cheaper for the foreigners who have higher rates of income compared to the actual value of the currency in Nepal.
The statistics show tourism as one of the major sources of income in Nepal that’s why people who are running tourism businesses tend to mark higher price for services if they know you are a foreigner. It’s a common fact in business that people are profit oriented, but it’s not good when people are deceived in the name of profit. That’s the reason sometimes staying in Nepal may not be economical, although it actually is a cheap country.
Handling money effectively while staying in Nepal is not a big deal. It only takes how much you understand the money and markets of Nepal. First of all, let’s talk about the currency of Nepal, Nepali Rupee (NPR/Rs). Nepalese currency has denominations of Rs.1, Rs 2, Rs. 5, Rs. 10, Rs. 20, Rs. 50, Rs. 100, Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000. There are also coins of Rs. 1 and Rs. 2 and below Rs. 1, there are small denominations called Paisa, 100 Paisa = Rs. 1, which is not used that much while buying and selling in local markets. Most used banknotes are from Rs. 5 to Rs. 1000 and coins of Rs.1 and Rs. 2 are frequently used while traveling in local buses in cities.
Generally, US $1 is equal to Rs. 100, sometimes, there are slight variations of a few rupees above or below. Let’s start with the cost of basic daily food consumption in Nepal.
The typical eating habit in Nepal is three times a day; morning, midday and evening and the popular cuisine is Daal-Bhaat. The range of cost for a single meal is from Rs. 100 to Rs. 400. So, $10 is a good approximation for the total cost of the meal for a whole day. You can allocate extra $ 15 for other expenses like mineral water, coffee, tea, beer, cold drinks, cigarette, chocolates, etc. So, $25 is enough for a day if you have frugal meals. When it comes to accommodation, there are varieties of options available from cheap guest houses to the expensive five-star hotels. So it depends on one’s choice whether to compromise on price or facility. But there are a lot of guest houses ranging from around $10-20 are available with good facilities.
Hence, to be economical, for one day around $40 is enough for food and accommodation in Nepal. The higher limit of cost depends on one’s choice, though.
There are lots of local markets along the streets of major tourist areas. The cost of goods there may vary from one shop to another that’s why a bit of negotiation is good before buying random goods in the streets. If you are fond of buying, bargaining can save a significant amount of money in the long term.
If you are in Nepal for trekking, the costs might get a bit higher as things are expensive in the mountain regions. The goods are to be transported to those regions from the cities and that adds up the extra cost. Even a normal meal can cost more than 200% at mountain regions, likewise beverages and other stuff. Trekking permit is necessary for trekkers and that costs around $20 which varies for Nepalese citizens and other SAARC countries. The porters and guides are available for $10-$15 per day which is a normal rate there.
Trekking gears are necessary while trekking and you can have them in rent. Renting trekking gears is a better option than buying as they are of one-time use and there are various shops available for that. If you are dealing with Trek operating agencies, they will manage everything you need and you just have to pay the money so that you won’t have to go through all the tedious stuff. Hiring a trekking agency is a better option if you are new in Nepal but be sure on what they are costing you except the service charge. All the agencies charge almost the same and that depends on the days of your trek but some well-known agencies may charge you high because of their professional credentials. So if you want to spend few, select one that operates at comparatively low cost because all the other procedures are same and there is little or no difference in service. But be sure the company is registered under the Nepal Tourism Board and have all the legal procedures and necessary team to avoid being a victim of fraudulent activities.