Nepal – Costs & Essential Information

I’d had high hopes for Nepal, even though we didn’t really have anything planned for when we got here, and I can safely say that it did not disappoint. With a landscape like nowhere else in the world it’s a paradise for adventure lovers as well as those who prefer a more laid back pace.

Costs:

General day to day costs like accommodation, food and transport are all pretty cheap in Nepal. If you plan to do any activities like paragliding, trekking etc they can be expensive (though still less then in Europe). We spend an average of £77 per day though we totally blew the budget on an Everest flight, if we take that out of the equation then we would have only spent an average of £58 per day shared between both of us.

Getting Around:

Internal flights tend to be expensive but are your best option if your on a tight schedule. Long distance buses can be booked at any travel agents or even at the bus station, they are very affordable but often delayed. Even if there is no traffic the buses in Nepal are still very slow.

Visa:

It’s easy to get a visa on arrival, prices depend on the number of days you will stay for, 15 days or less is $25, 30 days is $40 and up to 90 days will cost you $100. You need a passport photo and can pay in almost any currency but prices will vary based on the USD exchange rate.

Safety:

Being with my husband meant that I had no issues with safety as a female, although the attitude to females outside the main tourist areas still has a long way to go. Solo female traveler should try to find a buddy if you plan on leaving the main tourist route or have any trekking planned.

Dress Code:

While there are no rules regarding dress codes in temples etc, it’s still best to remain fairly covered when walking around the city’s. (For reasons mentioned above, the attitude to women is even worse if your in a pair of hot pants, I stuck to leggings almost all of the time. (Your fine in shorts in Pokhara during peak tourist season.)

Vaccinations:

We didn’t get any special vaccinations for Nepal and malaria medication is only required along the Indian border.

Money:

The currency in Nepal is the Nepalese Rupee, most places only accept cash and ATMs can be difficult to find outside of the cities. Exchange rates in March 2018 below:

£1 (GBP) = Rs148.70

$1 (USD) = Rs104.41

€1 (EUR) = Rs128.92

Our Itinerary:

We had a very relaxing time in Nepal, we spent most of our time in Pokhara with a few days either side in Kathmandu. I did really want to visit Chitwan to see the wild rhinos there, but the only affordable option was to ride on the back of an elephant, which I would never do so we skipped it all together. If you have a bigger budget there are jeep tours available.

Pokhara – Nepal

Pokhara is a tranquil travelers paradise located on the shores of Fewa lake. It’s a popular honeymoon destination with locals thanks to its postcard perfect views over the lake and surrounding mountains. Most visitors to Nepal will pass through Pokhara at some point during their trip, and most people will never want to leave.

Things To Do:

Our main reason for visiting Pokhara was to visit the Atmashree Yoga and Meditation retreat, we planned on staying 3 nights but we loved it so much that we stayed longer. The classes are perfect for beginners as well as experts, the teachers are amazing and really understand what they are teaching. The meditation sessions were fantastic and we both felt that we got a lot from our stay there. It’s a family run centre and the mother cooks the most amazing meals which are all included in the price. You can contact them directly either through their website or on Facebook for the latest rates.

Fewa lake is the perfect spot for both sunrise and sunset, there are loads of trails up the surrounding hills to get a perfect view over the lake, there is a great lookout point behind the Atmashree yoga retreat.

Pokhara is a popular spot for adrenaline junkies looking for an adventure, we had a go at paragliding (glad I tried it but won’t be doing it again any time soon!), we flew with Himalaya frontiers paragliding for Rs6,000. The price includes hotel pick up and a GoPro DVD of your flight.

If your looking for a more gentle way to appreciate the scenery, boat hire starts at around Rs500 per hour, or a little bit more if you want to hire a driver too.

Where To Eat:

The Godfather serves traditional wood fired pizzas and have two restaurants in Pokhara. Even though Nepal has some of the best food in the world, we all need a good pizza from time to time!

Sean’s put the vegetable curry at the double view restaurant in his top 5 Indian curries ever, no other words needed.

Getting There:

A direct bus from Kathmandu will cost between 800 and 1000 Rs and it takes anything from 6 to 10 hours depending on traffic. You can pre book your seats and any travel agents, most buses leave at 7am.

Pokhara also has a domestic airport but flights are expensive during peak season. A flight to Kathmandu is around 35 minutes and costs an average of £65 to £95 depending on season.

Where To Stay:

We stayed in the OYO Hotel Badmin close to the lakeside. It only cost £9 per night on hotels.com including breakfast and was such a nice hotel that we stayed there again the next time we passed through Pokhara after our yoga retreat.

Kathmandu – Nepal

Certainly a marmite city (you will either love it or hate it), we had a bit of a shock when we first landed in Kathmandu, we had arrived from sleepy Laos and weren’t completely prepared for the chaos and dust. We were there for the new year 2075 (that’s right, not a typing error) celebrations so the area was even more busy than usual.

Unfortunately we didn’t see too much of the city, we were applying for Chinese visas at the embassy in Napal which turned out to be an absolute nightmare. But now is not the time for ranting about that.

Things To Do:

The best thing we did in Nepal (and one of the best things we’ve done during our whole trip) was a mountain flight to Everest and back. The plane is tiny, meaning that everyone gets a window seat and they let you take turns visiting the pilots cockpit, the flight takes around 1 hour. We haggled hard and managed to get the flight for $165 per person (the most expensive thing we’ve done all year) and it was worth every penny.

We’re not really massive hikers but we did do a 1 day trek from Kathmandu (because you can’t go to Nepal and not do at least 1 hike), we paid $80 for 1 full day including driver and guide. There are quite a few places you can see in just 1 day from the city, ask your hotel for some ideas.

Swoyambhunath Stupa, also known as Monkey Temple has the best views over the city, it’s named money temple because of its resident monkeys who play around the site. It takes around 40 minutes to walk from Tamal and costs Rs200 per person. Nirvana roof top restaurant is perfect for a cool lassi or iced tea to cool you down after all those steps to the temple.

The Durbur square was hugely effected by the 2015 earthquake and is still currently (2018) undergoing huge restoration work. It’s still worth a look but don’t plan to spend all day there as there is a lot covered in scaffolding so you can’t see much. Entrance costs Rs1,000 per person and takes around 20 minutes walk from Tamal.

For a break from all the craziness that comes with any trip to Kathmandu, visit the garden of dreams, you’ll instantly feel calmer and more relaxed. Entrance costs Rs200 per person.

Where To Eat:

One thing Kathmandu really has going for it is the amazing food available in Tamal and its surrounding areas, we never had a meal that we didn’t love, and there were so many choices, all at reasonable prices.

Blueberry Restaurant – must try the Mo:Mo’s,

Mitho Restaurant – really good pizzas,

Fusion Kitchen – my favourite curry in Nepal,

Sanangi Vegetarian – perfect dal bhat,

Rosemary Kitchen – Mongolian curry was to die for,

Getting There:

A taxi from the airport costs Rs700 to the centre of Tamal, see the taxi counter outside of arrivals.

Where To Stay:

We don’t usually stay in the centre of the tourist traps, they tend to be busy and expensive, though in the case of Kathmandu, you really do need to stay in the heart of Tamel. Anywhere else can be a bit daunting, loud and chaotic. The centre of this backpackers paradise is closed off to traffic, giving you a much needed break from all the craziness.

We actually stayed in 2 hotels in Kathmandu, the first one was the Bed and Breakfast Tamal, we really liked it there but they only have 3 or 4 rooms so it gets fully booked pretty fast. I booked through Hotels.com for £14 per night.

The second time we visited Kathmandu we stayed at the Hotel Namasto, prices are usually around £40 per night but we booked on a Hotels.com flash sale for only £15 per night including breakfast. The hotel was lovely and the staff on reception helped book our mountain flight and trek.