Nepal Budget Travel: Traveling on 20 Dollars a Day?

Nepal has changed quite a bit in the last 20 years or so. Trekking and mountain climbing have brought big business to Nepal and the influx of foreign currency has affected the standard of living for the Nepalese across the board. With a little creativity, you can still live well and live cheaply during your stay.

The biggest expenses when traveling in Nepal are the Visa entry fee and Airport departure tax. The departure tax ranges from 760 – 100 NPS and an entry visa is US $30.00 and valid for 60 days. Once you have those two items squared away, your expenses are your own.

Speaking of money, traveler’s cheques are the best way to go. Although these days you can find ATMs in all the major cities.

A budget traveler can live well in Nepal on about 15 dollars a day. Budget accommodations for a single or double room in Nepal run from around US$5.00-8.00 (100 NPR to around 250 NPR). This kind of money gets you a bed and a bathroom. Cheaper rooms usually do not have sheets, blankets or towels, which are provided at an extra cost. The old adage “you get what you paid for” was never more appropriate than in Nepal.

Check out the hotels and accommodations links on for more information on where to stay and how much to pay.

When it comes to fine dining and cuisine (actually any kind of dining), average meals run about $3.00 dollars. The Nepali national dish is daal bhaat tarkaari (lentils, rice, vegetable curry). This is the main course served in most Nepalese houses (for lunch and dinner). In the Everest region try the local Sherpa dish of rikikul (potato pancakes). Both dishes are cheap and will keep expenses down. Sticking with local dishes will save a lot of money. Obviously, anything above and beyond that — souvenirs, postcards, and inter-city travel and shopping will add to your costs.

Still looking to cut your costs? Travel by local bus! “Schedules” are difficult to figure out, but you won’t find a more interesting mode of travel. Most big cities like Kathmandu also offer tourist buses, rickshaws, tempo’s and taxi’s. Motorcycles may be another option to consider, but then again, so is safety.

Ironic how, after paying anywhere from 700-1800 dollars to travel to Nepal, we go out of our way to spend as little as we can when we get there! Of course, maybe that’s because there’s no money left by the time we arrive.