MONEY MATTERS

Nepal Currency

The official currency of Nepal is the Nepali rupee (NPR). Its symbol is often displayed as Rs.

Exchange rates

Refer to www.xe.com for current exchange rates.

Accessing Money in Nepal

ATMs can be found in Kathmandu, Pokhara,Chitwan and Bhaktapur and in most major towns in Nepal. Money exchange facilities are available in Kathmandu, Pokhara, Chitwan (only outside the park) and Bhaktapur and also in Namche Bazaar in the Everest region.

The Government of Nepal has banned the import, export and use of 500 and 1000 Indian rupee notes in Nepal. You should ensure you are not carrying these notes on arrival in Nepal as they will be confiscated and you may be fined.

While travellers’ cheques have security advantages exchanging them can be a lengthy process, commissions can be high (up to 10%) and they can be difficult to change in rural areas, on weekends and public holidays. If you choose to bring travellers’ cheques, make sure they are a major brand and major currency.

Please note that most establishments in Asia will not accept foreign currency notes that are old, torn or faded and they can be very difficult to exchange or extra fees added when exchanging at banks. Please ensure that you have new, clean notes.

Spending Money

Budgeting for Food and Drinks

Meals in Kathmandu and Pokhara – Breakfast is included in all city hotels. There are many fine restaurants in Kathmandu and Pokhara and you should allow approx. US$6/US$8 for lunch and US$8/US$10 for dinner. Drinks extra.

As a guideline, the average prices for other items are listed below. Remember the higher you go the higher the price! 

Mineral water US$1.50 to US$3.50
 Soft drinks US$2.50 to US$3.50
Beer – can US$3.00 to US$4.50
 Beer – bottle US$4.00 to US$6.50
 Snickers/chocolate bars US$1.50 to US$3.50
 Biscuits US$1.00 to US$2.50

Preparing for Your Trek in Nepal

Most adventures in Nepal  involve some sort of walking be it short day hikes to rigorous long treks  and ultimately strenuous peak climbs. No matter what option the individual traveller choose one must have an active lifestyle to enjoy what the Himalaya has to offer.

It is advisable to consult your personal doctor or a Travel Doctor prior to deciding what sort of an adventure would be right for you.

Medical Kits and Vaccinations 

Medical facilities in most trekking areas is basic and so it is advisable to carry a small medical kit having the following items. There is a comprehensive medical kit included on all our treks as all our trek guides and trek leaders are trained in wilderness first aid.

Travel/trekking medical kits should include:

  • Basic first aid supplies (bandages, sterile cleaners, gauze, tape, etc)
  • Band-aids and blister packs
  • Paracetamol (for pain and fever relief) and Ibuprofen  (pain and anti-infllamatory)
  • Oral rehydration salts in case of diarrhea
  • Loperamide (Imodium)
  • Antibiotics (ciprofloxacin or any broad spectrum one that your doctor advises)
  • Antifungal cream and cream for Cold sores
  • Cold and flu tablets and nasal decongestant
  • Diamox – especially for treks above 3,500 meters
  • Any other prescription medicines that the doctor has advised

The mountain enviroment is quite safe and free from any infectious diseases, it is advisable to consult your travel doctor on what would be best for your travel in Nepal.

However, one needs to be aware that while travelling in Nepal you are likely to come in contact with animals depending on where you are from dogs, cats, yaks, dzopkios and monkeys. It is therefore advisable that one takes and anti rabies vaccine prior to their travel in Nepal.

Food, Water, and Hygiene

The worst thing that can make a trip go wrong is travellers diarrhea or Delhi Belly. It is therefore important  for travelers to take care to eat and drink from clean, hygienic establishments.

This is one the main reasons why we have endeavor to train and bring awareness about the importance of hygiene whilst preparing meals in all the teahouses and lodges where we put our clients.

It is safe only to drink purified water in Nepal. Bottled mineral water can be purchased all over Kathmandu and along popular trekking trails, plastic water bottles are however becoming a major pollutant in the Himalaya. It is a much better alternative to use water purification tablets or UV light treatments like the SteriPen or portable filters.

Over the years, we have been boiling water for our travellers and this has been proven to be the safest and most enviromental friendly.

Altitude Awareness

Many of Nepal’s popular trekking routes go well above 2,500 meters (about 8,200 feet). When you’re mountain climbing, hiking, driving, or doing any other activity at a high altitude, your body may not get enough oxygen.

The lack of oxygen can cause altitude sickness. Altitude sickness generally occurs at altitudes of 2500m or 8,200 feet and above. People who aren’t accustomed to these heights are most vulnerable. Symptoms include headache and insomnia.

You shouldn’t take altitude sickness lightly. The condition can be dangerous. Altitude sickness is impossible to predict — anyone at a high elevation can get it.

What are the types of altitude sickness?

Altitude sickness is classified into three groups:

AMS

Acute Mountain Sickness is considered the most common form of altitude sickness. The symptoms of AMS are very similar to being intoxicated.

HACE

High-altitude cerebral edema (HACE) occurs if acute mountain sickness persists. HACE is a severe form of AMS where the brain swells and stops functioning normally. Symptoms of HACE resemble severe AMS. The most notable symptoms include:

  • extreme drowsiness
  • confusion and irritability
  • trouble walking

If not treated immediately, HACE can cause death.

HAPE

High-altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) is a progression of HACE, but it can also occur on its own. Excess fluid builds up in the lungs, making it difficult for them to function normally. Symptoms of HAPE include:

  • increased breathlessness during exertion
  • severe coughing

While there is no way to 100% prevent against altitude sickness, there are measures trekkers can take to decrease their risks of developing it and better enjoy their treks. The most important step all trekkers should take is to make sure they do not ascend faster than their bodies can adjust to the altitude.

For a safe holiday and peace of mind it is always better to travel with a sound travel operator who has adequate trained crew and carry a Portable Altitude Chamber or medical oxygen for treks above 3000 meters.

All visitors except the Indian nationals must have a  passport and a visa to enter into Nepal. Children under 10 years need not pay any visa fee. People willing to get Nepal Visa required to fill the visa form with passport size photograph. Nepal Visa can be obtained at the Nepalese embassies or consulates abroad or on arrival at the following points of entry:

  • Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu (by air)
  • Kakarvitta, Jhapa District, Eastern Nepal (by road)
  • Birgunj, Parsa District, Central Nepal, (by road)
  • Kodari, Sindhupalchowk District, Northern Border (by road, for group tourists only)
  • Belahia, Bhairahawa, Rupandehi District, Western Nepal (by road)
  • Jamunaha, Nepalgunj, Banke District, Mid-Western Nepal (by road)
  • Mohana, Dhangadhi, Kailali District, Far Western Nepal (by road)
  • Gadda Chauki, Mahendranagar, Kanchanpur District, Far Western Nepal (by road)

No Visa Required for Indian Nationals for Nepal

Nepal maintains an open border with India, and therefore does not require Indian nationals to obtain a visa. However, Indian nationals should travel with a valid ID, which is required for those arriving by air.

Nepal Visa On Arrival

Foreign nationals from all other countries have the option of obtaining a visa from a Nepalese embassy abroad prior to arriving or on arrival.

SAARC countries and Chinese Nationals-

Foreign nationals from SAARC countries other than India are granted a gratis visa for up to 30 days for their first trip of that year. This applies to Chinese nationals as of January 2016.

All other nationalities-

Foreigners from all other countries are required to pay the corresponding fees to obtain their visas.

Types of Tourist Visas in Nepal

Foreign travelers in Nepal can get the following tourist visas:

  • 15-days multiple entry visa – US $25
  • 30-days multiple entry visa – US $40
  • 90-days multiple entry visa – US $100

Visas for 15 and 30 days are only for single entry. To change 15-day or 30-day single entry visas into multiple entry visas, foreigners must pay and additional $20 fee. The 90-day visas include multiple entry status. Foreigners who are in Nepal on a tourist visa are not allowed to stay more than 150 days in a visa year (January-December). Visa fees are not charged for children under 10.

Visa fees must be paid in cash. In Tribhuvan International Airport, Nepal’s main international airport, foreigners can pay visa fees in major currencies (EU, USD, GBP) or in Nepalese Rupees. There is an ATM inside the customs and immigration section of Tribhuvan International Airport as well as a money exchange counter. At land borders visa fee payments are usually expected in USD.

Transit Visa
Transit visa for one day can be obtained from Nepal’s immigration offices at the entry points upon the production of departure flight ticket via Tribhuvan International Airport in Nepal, by paying US $ 5 or equivalent in convertible currency.

Visa extensions are available for tourist visas in Nepal

  • 15-day extension – US $30
  • Extension over 15 days (up to 30 days) – US $2/day
  • Extension for more than 30 days – US $50

To extend their visas foreigners have the option of completing the entire process at the Department of Immigration in Kathmandu or the Immigration Office in Pokhara, or of completing the application form online and then bringing a copy of the form with them to those offices. Foreigners must bring their passports (showing their Nepal tourist visas) with them to receive an extension. Extensions can be paid in USD or Nepalese Rupees. Extension fees are not charged for children under 10.

Kathmandu: The Department of Immigration Office is on Kalika Marg, Kathmandu. They can be reached at +977-9843545431

Pokhara: The Immigration Office is located in Sahid Chowk, Pokhara. The office can be reached at 061-465167.

Overstay in Nepal

Overstaying a tourist visa can be a serious problem, so it’s best to deal with it as soon as possible. Foreigners who overstay their tourist visa less than 30 days are charged a penalty fine of US $3/day as well as an additional extension fee of $2/day. These fees must be paid the Department of Immigration office in Kathmandu, not at Tribhuvan International Airport.

The best way for foreign travelers to avoid this problem however is simply to not overstay their visa. The fines mentioned above, heavier fines if the tourist overstayed beyond 30 days, and arrest are possible consequences.

TREKKING PERMITS

Foreign trekkers are required to obtain specific permits and registrations to go trekking or climbing in Nepal.  The requirements and fees are different for each area. Most trekking destinations in Nepal are located in areas that are protected for environmental or cultural purposes, from national parks and conservation areas to restricted areas. As of August 2015, all foreign trekkers are required to trek with a Nepali guide or porter registered with the Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) in Nepal’s national parks, conservation areas and restricted areas.

National Parks and Conservation Areas:

Foreign trekkers need to obtain permits to enter all the national parks and conservation areas in Nepal. The fees collected from these permits are used to maintain and preserve those areas. Entry permits are not required for children below ten years of age to enter conservation areas or national parks.

Trekkers’ Information Management System (TIMS)

Foreign trekkers are also required to register with the Trekkers’ Information Management System (known as TIMS) and purchase a TIMS card to enter most trekking areas. Managed by the Nepal Tourism Board and the Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN), TIMS is used to keep track of foreign visitors in Nepal and respond in case of emergencies. Foreign trekkers are not required to register with or purchase a TIMS card if they are acquiring a Restricted Area Permit. Children below ten years old are not required to pay the TIMS card fees.

Permit requirements for some of Nepal’s most popular trekking destinations is listed below. Trekking agencies will arrange all permits.

  1. Everest Region

Area Type: National Park

Trekking routes in the Everest region lie within Sagarmatha National Park. Foreigners are required to obtain a Sagarmatha National Park entry permit as well as a rural municipality fee to trek in the Everest Region.

Permits and Fees:

  1. Sagarmatha National Park entry permit fee for foreigners: 3,000 NPR + 13% VAT, totaling 3,390 NPR (Approx. US $34)
  2. Sagarmatha National Park entry permit fee for SAARC nationals: 1,500 NPR
  3. Khumbu Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality of Solukhumbu district has started levying entrance fee of Rs 2,000 (approximately $20) on every foreigner entering the rural municipality from October 1, 2018 replacing the TIMS permit: 1,000 NPR (Approx. US $10)

Where to get the permit:

Sagarmatha National Park entry permit can be purchased in the Nepal Tourism Board Office on Pradarshani Marg, Kathmandu, Tel: +977 1 4256909.

While Khumbu Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality fee needs to be deposited at the Lukla Check Post.

  1. Annapurna Region

Area Type: Conservation Area

Most trekking trails in the Annapurna region, including the world-famous Annapurna Circuit and Annapurna Base Camp come under the Annapurna Conservation Area. Foreigners are required to obtain an entry permit from the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) as well as a TIMS card to trek in the Annapurna region.

Permits and Fees:

  1. ACAP try permit fee for foreigners: 2,000 NPR (Approx. US $20)
  1. ACAP entry permit fee for SAARC nationals: 200 NPR
  2. TIMS permit: 1,000 NPR (Approx. US $10)

Where to get the permit:

Kathmandu: Permits and TIMS cards can be purchased in the Nepal Tourism Board Office on Pradarshani Marg, Kathmandu, Tel: +977 1 4256909.

Pokhara: Permits can also be purchased in Pokhara at the Nepal Tourism Board Service Center in Damside or at the ACAP entry permit counter in Besisahar, Lamjung. TIMS cards can also be purchased from the TAAN Lakeside office in Santi Patan, Pokhara.

Your trekking agency will arrange these for you.

  1. Langtang Region

Type: National Park

Trekking routes in the Langtang region lie within Langtang National Park. Foreigners are required to pay an entry fee to enter Langtang National Park as well as obtain a TIMS card to trek in the Langtang region.

Permits and Fees:

  1. Langtang National Park entry permit fee for foreigners: 3,000 NPR + 13% VAT, totaling 3,390 NPR (Approx. US $34)
  2. Langtang National Park entry permit fee for SAARC nationals: 200 NPR
  3. TIMS permit: 1,000 NPR (Approx. US $10)

Where to get the permit:

Kathmandu: Permits and TIMS cards can be purchased in the Nepal Tourism Board Office on Pradarshani Marg, Kathmandu, Tel: +977 1 4256909.

Permits can also be purchased at the Park Entry point in Dhunche.

Your trekking agency will arrange these for you.

  1. Rolwaling Region

Type: Conservation Area

Trekking routes in the Rolwaling region lie within the Gaurishankar Conservation Area Project. Foreigners are required to pay an entry fee to enter the Gaurishankar Conservation Area as well as obtain a TIMS card to trek in the Rolwaling region.

Permits and Fees:

  1. Gaurishankar Conservation Area entry fee for foreigners: 2,000 NPR (Approx. US $20)
  2. Gaurishankar Conservation Area entry fee for SAARC nationals: 200 NPR
  3. TIMS permit: 1,000 NPR (Approx. US $10)

RESTRICTED AREA PERMITS

A few trekking destinations are located in places that the Government of Nepal classifies as restricted areas. Foreign trekkers must obtain specific Restricted Area Permits (RAP) to enter these areas. The fees collected from RAPs are used for local community development and cultural preservation projects. Children below ten years old are not required to pay the Restricted Area Permit fees.

Where to get the permit:

Kathmandu: All restricted trekking permits  will be issued in the trekking department of the Nepal immigration office in Kalikasthan, Kathmandu.

Your trekking agency will arrange these for you.

a.To get a group trekking permit an application form with other relevant documents should be submitted through any registered trekking agency of Nepal.
b. Trekking fee can be paid in Nepalese currency: Notwithstanding anything written in above, the Indian citizen can pay in Nepalese currency equivalent to US Dollars.

S.N. Trekking Area Permit Fee
1 DOLPA DISTRICT
a. Areas of Upper Dolpa For the first 10 days US$ 500 per person and after 10 days US$ 50 per day person or equivalent foreign currency
b. Areas of Lower Dolpo Per week per person US$ 10 or equivalent convertible foreign currency.
2 MUSTANG DISTRICT
Areas of Upper Mustang For the first 10 days US$ 500 per person and after 10 days US$ 50 per day per person, or equivalent convertible foreign currency.
3 GORKHA DISTRICT
a. Manaslu Region From September to November US$ 70 per week per person and after 7 days US$ 10 per day per person or equivalent convertible foreign currency. From December to August US$ 50 per week per person and after 7 days US$ 7 per day per person or equivalent convertible foreign currency.
b. Areas of Chhekampar and Chunchet VDC (Sirdibas-Lokpa-Chumling-Chhekampar -Nile-Chhule Area) From September to November, per person US$ 35 for first 8 days and from December to August per person US$ 25 for first 8 days or equivalent convertible foreign currency
4 MUGU DISTRICT
Areas of Mugu, Dolpu, Pulu and Bhangri
For the first 7 days US$90 per person and after 7 days US$ 15 per day per person or equivalent convertible foreign currency.
5 MANANG DISTRICT
Areas of Nar and Phu From September to November, US$ 90 per week per person and December to August US$ 75 per week per person or equivalent convertible foreign currency.
6 DOLAKHA DISTRICT
Gaurishankar and Lamabagar  Per week per person US$ 10 Or equivalent convertible foreign currency.
7 RASUWA DISTRICT

Thuman and Timure

Per week per person US$ 10 Or equivalent convertible foreign currency.
8 HUMLA DISTRICT

Simikot and Yari (Areas of Limi and Muchu village Development Committee, and area way to Tibet via Tangekhola of Darma Village Development committee)

For the first 7 days US$ 50 per person and after 7 days US$7 per day per person or equivalent convertible foreign currency.
9 SANKHUWASABHA

Areas of Kimathanka, Chepuwa,Hatiya and Pawakhola VDCs)

For the first four weeks, US$ 10 per person per week and After four weeks, US$20 per person per week or equivalent convertible foreign currency.
10 TAPLEJUNG DISTRICT

Kanchanjanga Region (Areas of Olangchung Gola, Lelep, Papung and Yamphudin VDCs)

Per week per person US$ 10 or equivalent convertible foreign currency.
11 BAJHANG DISTRICT

(Areas of Kanda, Saipal and Dhuli)

For the first 7 days, US$ 90 per person and After seven days US$ 15 per day per person or equivalent convertible foreign currency.
12 DARCHULA DISTRICT

(Areas of Byas VDC)

 For the first 7 days, US$ 90 per person and after 7 days US$ 15 per day per person or equivalent convertible foreign currency.

TRAVEL INSURANCE

It is imperative that all travellers have a travel insurance whilst travelling in Nepal. For people venturing out to trek in altitude above  3500m it is advisable to have a policy that covers helicopter evacuation. For mountaineers there should be coverage for usage of crampons, ropes, crampons and ice axes and injuries related to mountain climbing. In cases of severe illness or injury , medical or altitude-related emergencies on a remote mountain setting, travellers need to be evacuated to Kathmandu  and in some cases even on to hospitals in Thailand and Singapore if their condition is serious enough. Nepal International Clinic in Kathmandu and CIWEC clinic, which has branches in both Kathmandu and Pokhara, are two of the best clinics in Nepal which is recognised by most International Insurance companies.

Best Time to Travel

Autumn – Mid September to November

Following the monsoon, the skies are generally very clear, the days warm and the evenings cool. This makes it an ideal time to trek in the Nepal Himalaya.

Winter – December to February

Generally you enjoy clear skies with crisp days, but cold nights are a bit colder especially in mountains. A great time to travel though for the pristine weather and great mountain views.

Spring – March to late May

This season presents a spectacular floral display with the blossoming of the giant rhododendrons. The weather is crisp with clear skies.

Summer – June to mid September

Nepal experiences monsoon rains from late May through to early September and this affects the views and the scenery. In Kathmandu and Pokhara the weather is hot and humid, not ideal to trek in the Everest region as flights to Lukla and back can be delayed or cancelled.

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