Between 2005 and 2011, USD $1 would buy 60 Nepalese Rupees. In 2013, you’d get 87 – 90 Rupees, and in 2016 it has jumped to 106 Nepalese Rupees.
Prices for goods in Nepal jumped as well. For example, in 2005 a traveler would pay USD $10 for a porters’ services, while in 2016 you’ll pay closer to USD $20.
One unusual universal indicator of the prices in Nepal is the price for dal bhaat - a traditional Nepali dish.
Generally, you’ll notice a consistent pattern: the higher you are, the more expensive.
To save those pennies, your cheapest option for food in Nepal is to eat at local cafes and teahouses. Just be aware that not all local cafes prepare food hygienically!
If you go to a tourist restaurant, expect to pay 3-4 times more. The cafes and restaurants for tourists serve a variety of meals, and your average meal with a non-alcoholic beverage may cost 7-20 USD.
If you want to buy a potato or pasta dish, rice with vegetables, or momo at the elevation of 4,500m, it will cost as much as 400-700 rupees, with the exception of dal bhaat, which will cost up to 900 Rupees.
Due to the influence of western culture and a market demand, new services are rapidly popping up all over Nepal.
For example, bakeries, pizzerias and cheese shops exist now, even at the elevation of 3,500-4,000m. So, if you’re craving a cinnamon roll, chocolate cake, or a cup of freshly brewed coffee, be prepared to pay 300-500 Rupees.
There are a couple of local beers in Nepal, and a 600ml bottle will cost you 250 – 700 Rupees, depending on the elevation.
Western-style snacks, sweets, and chocolates are obviously more expensive in Nepal than locally-grown and cooked foods.
A 200g pack of cookies will cost 30-50 Rupees in Kathmandu, and up to 200 Rupees in the mountains.
In the major cities of Nepal, you can find hotels and guesthouses to suit any budget.
A basic bed in a dorm room will cost 200 Rupees (USD $2), or if you’re looking to stay one night in a luxury hotel, you’ll pay up to 13,000 Rupees (USD $120).
The cost of the accommodation in the trekking lodges varies. In some regions, you can get a room for free if you pay to eat where you stay.
In Langtang-Helambu National Park, which suffered from the earthquake in 2015, we paid close to 1,000 Rupees for a very basic room with 5 people in the Spring of 2016.
The cost of the trekking permits are the same for everyone – they’re not negotiable and will vary from 2,000 Rupees (USD $20) up to 34,000 Rupees (USD $500), depending on the region.
The cost of the porter’s work is USD $15-25 per day, where the guides charge normally USD $30-40 a day.
When hiring a porter or a guide through an agency, make sure the cost of food and medical insurance for your Nepali staff are included into the price.
Although travelers don’t have a habit of bargaining back home, it’s a culture of Asian markets to do so, and permeates through almost everything in Nepal.
So, don’t hesitate to bargain and negotiate the prices down, and you’ll get more respect from the local people.
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