Trip Budget: Nepal
Nepal is an incredibly cheap country to travel in, which is just one of the many reasons I would encourage tourists to visit. If you’re planning a trip, here’s a breakdown of the costs of our two months in Nepal (including two weeks in northern India- I’ve included it all in one budget, as costs are pretty similar). All prices are per person.
Note: we visited during off season (which meant some discounts). We also received almost three weeks of free accommodation and meals when we were filming, so our overall costs are lower than many visitors would find.
Visa: Nepal: £64/ $100. India: £30/$ for Irish citizen and £91/$ for UK citizen
Our Nepali visas (one Irish citizen and one UK citizen) were available on arrival at Kathmandu airport, and payable in a variety of currencies. A three month multiple-entry visa cost us each US$100.
Our Indian visas had to be arranged in Kathmandu (click here for more information on how to do this). As an Irish citizen, mine cost £30/$45 and, as a UK citizen, Adam’s cost £91/$138, payable in Nepalese Rupees.
Accommodation: £1-2/ $2-3 per person per night
Accommodation is incredibly cheap in Nepal, and even more so in the off-season. We initially booked beds in a Kathmandu hostel dorm online for 300 Nepali Rupees (£2/$3 ) per night, but once we arrived, we found several hotel rooms available for this price or even less (some of which we got for a third of their peak-season price). We also had the privilege of staying with some local families while we were filming in villages in the mountains. While families may host for free, a tip is appreciated.
Meals: £0.50- £4/ $0.75- $6
A decent meal in a local eatery will only set you back around 80NPR (50p/75c), and even a splurge on a pizza in the city will usually cost under 500NPR (£3/$4.50). Be aware that restaurants in cities will add 13% tax and 10% service charge to the total.
Drinks: 30p- £3/ 45c- $4.50
Soft drinks will cost around 30p/45c in a shop or up to £1/$1.50 in a restaurant or bar. A large bottle of local beer costs around 300NPR (£2/$3), while a glass of wine costs around 400-500NPR (£3/$4.50). In the cities, the 13% tax and 10% service charge also applies to drinks.
Transport: £0.40- £0.70/60c- $1 per hour of travel by bus
Buses are the main mode of transport in Nepal, and prices will vary according to the comfort level of the bus (local, deluxe, or deluxe AC).
Some sample journeys are:
Kathmandu- Pokhara: 7 hours, 600NPR deluxe (£4/$6)
Syangja- Kathmandu: 12 hours overnight, 500 NPR local (£3.30/$5)
Kathmandu- Kakarbitta: 16 hours, NPR1000/1300/1700 local/deluxe/deluxe AC. (£6.50/£8.30/£11 or $10/$12.60/$16.70).
In the mountains, the easiest way to travel between villages is by local jeep. People will cram into the seats and the pick-up, then climb onto the roof, hang off the sides and even sit on the bonnet. Just when you think it’s full, another ten people will somehow squeeze on. It can be a harrowing experience, but prices are cheap! (around NPR100/ £0.75/ $1.14 for a one-hour journey).
In the cities, local buses run set routes. They can be tricky to figure out, but are very cheap (NPR20/£0.15/$0.23). If you must take a taxi or rickshaw, ask someone at your hotel how much the journey should cost first. The driver will likely give you an inflated price, but you should be able to bargain it down to something you’re both happy with.
Entrance Fees: various
Our final few days in Kathmandu ended up bumping up our costs significantly, as we tried to fit in all of the sights we hadn’t gotten around to seeing. Entrance fees can be relatively pricey, and are higher for foreigners than locals. Here are some sample entrance fees for sights in and around Kathmandu:
Swayambhunath Stupa: NPR 300 (£1.80/$2.80)
Boudhanath Stupa: NPR 250 (£1.50/ $2.30)
Kathmandu Durbar Square: NPR 750 (£4.70/ $7)
Pashupatinath Temple: NPR 1,000 (£6.30/ $9.50)
Bhaktapur: NPR 1,500 (£9.36/ $14.20)
Goods and Souvenirs:
Bargaining is commonplace in markets and shops, though it should never be done aggressively. Remember, while you don’t want to be ripped off, you should also want to give a fair price. A good example is if they ask for NPR500, you counter with NPR300, and you both accept NPR400.
Many shops will display item prices along with notices stating that the prices are fixed. Respect this.
Total cost for 2 months (excluding flights and visas):
(£6.30/ $9.60 per day)