How Much Did We Spend in Nepal?

September 16, 2013 — 15 Comments
How Much Did We Spend in Nepal?

Sword fighting in front of the Himalayas with our “leech sticks” – used to ward off leeches!

Overall score (Dan) = C-
Overall score (Jocelyn) = D

Total days = 6 nights, 7 days
Total cost = $914
Cost per day = $131 / day
Flight costs = $170 one-way from Delhi
Cities visited: Pokhara, Kathmandu (trekked through three small villages)


Nepal quickly jumped to one of our favorite countries we’ve visited on the entire trip even though most of our time was spent trekking. We flew from Delhi to Kathmandu and caught another flight to Pokhara which is the second largest city in the country – where we stayed one night before starting our four day, three night trek through the Himalayan foothills and Nepal countryside.

Some of our love from Nepal might have come from relief after visiting India, but more likely it was the incredible views, great food, and lovely people that won us over. Our time in Nepal was short, but it’s high on our list of countries we’d like to revisit.

Small village outside of Pokhara, Nepal

A local villager drying out corn for the winter

How far does your money go in Nepal?

Nepal’s Rupee is pegged to the Indian Rupee which means they’ve been severely hit by the major decline in the Indian Rupee. Nepal is already one of the cheapest countries in the world, and with the added strength of our currency, it was even more so. When we visited, $1 US dollar equaled roughly 100 Nepalese Rupee.

Spending details

Here are our per day spending highlights:

Excursion = $49 / day
Transportation = $46 / day
Souvenirs = $14 / day

Total hotel points used = Zero

Our per day spending was a little wacky because our “excursions” included our lodging and food during our four day trek.

The Good

We didn’t climb Mt. Everest, but we did trek around the foothills of some of the other biggest mountains in the world – after all, Nepal is home to eight of the ten tallest mountain in the worlds! Our biggest decision was whether to trek the “Poon Hill Trek” which is a tourist favorite thanks to Lonely Planet, or to take our hotel manager’s advice and trek the “Panchase Trek” which he said had similar views, but offered much more as far as culture and experiencing how the locals live. We were somewhat reluctant because we had never heard of it, but in the end we took his advice and were happy we did.

Since we visited Nepal in monsoon season, our likelihood of great mountain views was pretty low due to mostly cloudy conditions, but luckily each morning we had a great view of the mountains. In addition, the Panchase trek took us through very small villages where we stayed in small guesthouses, ate with the locals who cooked our food, and allowed us to live like them.

One of our favorite moments on the trip happened in one of these small villages after our tour guide got in a small “scuffle” with the guest house owner who failed to prepare our breakfast for our early morning start. Because of this, our guide called a friend who lived in the next village down to see if their family could make us breakfast. After an hour of hiking, we entered into their very small village of 5-6 homes, and met the family who was making our food. They didn’t speak any English, but they were the most welcoming people we’ve ever met, and the lady was overjoyed at the hard work she put into preparing our simple but delicious breakfast of potato curry and bread as we ate it on the mud floor of their 200 year old adobe house. It was very cool.

Pachase Trek, Nepal

Standing with the generous locals who cooked us breakfast during our Panchase Trek in Nepal

Kitchen in Mud House, Nepal

Inside the 200 year old kitchen of our generous hosts’ house

Panchase Trek, Nepal

Waiting on breakfast with our guide Raju

In total, we trekked around 65km over mountainous terrain that was easily navigated over the rock steps which have been around for centuries. Trekking in nepal was even more rewarding than what he thought it might be.

Everest Beer, Nepal

This is the closest we got to Mt. Everest…

View of Himalays, Panchase Trek, Nepal

A beautiful view over the Himalayas

Annapurna Range, Himalayas

Standing in front of the “Annapurna Range” in the Himalayas

The Bad

Even though Nepal is one of the cheaper countries we visited, our per day spending was much higher at $131/day because of the short duration of the trip combined with the flights between Kathmandu and Pokhara. It’s a place backpackers could do on $15/day, but we had no time to waste so our spending was much higher.

Much like some of the other “off the beaten path” places we visited such as Laos and Myanmar, the hotels and lodging weren’t up to par with some of the more traveled countries. This was especially true in Kathmandu where our highly rated hotel ended up being pretty crappy.

We also were talked into spending more on our four day Panchase trek than what we needed to. Our hotel manager talked us into doing the “full board” option of $80/day ($40 per person) instead of paying as we went – which we learned would’ve been much cheaper as the guest houses we stayed the night in were only $5-$6 US per night! We probably spent $25 more per day than what we needed, but we were ok with it as it was nice to have everything pre-arranged.

Panchase Trek, Nepal

One of our “home stays” on the Panchase Trek in Nepal

The Ugly

Kathmandu is the only city I had heard of before in Nepal before I started researching our trip. It turns out that it’s the biggest city with over three million people, and it’s almost one of the least Nepal-like cities anywhere in the country! It has grown drastically over the last decade and locals don’t necessarily love the dirty, traffic-filled city it has become. With the influx of immigrants from neighboring countries has come beggars, thieves, and hard charging touts which Nepal was never previously known for. We spent one day in Kathmandu and I think that was about enough.

Yeti Airlines, Nepal

Flying within Nepal was pretty scary too – we flew on Yeti Airlines!

Buddhist face in Kathmandu, Nepal

Although dirty, Kathmandu did have some really neat sites

In conclusion, maybe it was because our expectations were beat down after India, but Nepal proved to be exactly what we needed to recharge us for our next couple of months of travel.

Next up: China

Fish Tail, Annapurna Range, Himalaya

One of the mountains in the Annapurna Range of the Himalayas

Annapurna Range view from Panchase Trek

Even though we were there during monsoon, we still got some tremendous views of the Annapurna Range of the Himalayas

Dal Baht dish, Nepal

Their local dish – “Dal Baht”

Pokhara, Nepal

Kids horsing around in Pokhara, Nepal

Panchase Trek, Himalayas, Nepal

A view of the Himalayas in Nepal

Fish Tail Mountain, Annapurna Range, Himalayas

Another beautiful mountain on the Himalayas

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15 responses to How Much Did We Spend in Nepal?

  1. I am living vicariously through you, Did you know that? I love the pictures of the mountains. The experience with the family who made you breakfast must have been very heart warming. I am very excited to see China through your eyes. It is one of my bucket list places to visit. My Mom went many years ago when thing were a bit more tense between our two countries. She was mesmerized by the people and the country. 🙂

    • Susan, when we’re back in a few months I’ll somehow be trying to live vicariously through the previous months so I’ll be joining you :). Preparing the China report now… it’s probably changed a lot since your mom visisted!

  2. It looks like I am not the only one living vicariously through you and your travels. 🙂 Sometimes it’s not what you spend, but what you get out of it. Sounds like you had a nice time with some lovely people.

    • haha, as I mentioned with Susan, I’ll be joining you soon enough in trying to live vicariously through our past few!! Totally agree – the experience with the locals has been some of our best moments this entire trip.

  3. Love reading about your travels. I went to Kathmandu in 1984 to speak to a bunch of computer people, staying with an American ex-pat who’d started a computer company there. Beautiful country. Love the way you’re traveling, meeting local people everywhere you go.

    • Carol – that’s awesome! i can’t imagine how much it’s changed since 1984… it sounds like it’s blown up in size just the last few years so it was probably very small (and quaint) then

  4. Hey Dan,

    I just watched an older Dateline program the other night where they were talking about some hikers that were bound and determined to hike up Mount Everest. When your post said you were in Nepal that’s the first thing I thought of. I didn’t get to see much of the country during that segment but it sure was interesting the lengths people will go to to make that trip, or not for some of them I’m afraid.

    Since this is my first visit to your blog I take it that you’re traveling around the world? China is your next destination? You are very brave my friend, I wouldn’t enjoy it because of the language barrier myself.

    I really did enjoy though you sharing your experience with us and the photos are breathtaking. From someone who has never seen anything like that, even to that 200 year old kitchen, that’s amazing.

    Just be careful but enjoy the heck out of this experience which I know you are.


    • Adrienne – thanks for stopping by! Yes, we’re on a nine month round the world trip, and we only have two months to go! It’s been amazing and we have had some interesting “lost in translation” moments thanks to the language barrier, but we’ve mostly encountered very nice people who were always willing to help

  5. Of all things, I love reading nonfiction accounts of climbers who have scaled Everest. Your post got me to thinking it’s been too long since I read a book like that.

  6. I admire your enthusiasm and energy. I’ve not travelled off my continent, although I hope to someday…far into the future! It’s too bad the weather wasn’t better for you and your wife.

  7. Hey Dan,

    Just saw the link on linkedIN and saw this. Nice pictures and great post. Lots of stuff to read!


  8. Hi Dan, I am from Pokhara. Now I am in Columbus Georgia, USA. I read all about your visit to Nepal. Thank you very much for visiting Nepal. I love to be with Americans in Nepal. I am a Nurse (man). Mostly I worked with American and British charity organizations in Nepal. I am going back to Nepal in November. Please stay in touch with me. I have many more things to share with you. Looking forward to hearing from you – Your friend in Nepal – Shashi

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