They say Nepal is a backpacker’s paradise. However, this is not the case as Nepal has become quite expensive over the past two decades. Rooms cost more and food prices skyrocket with shipping costs. So how can a backpacker enjoy a trip to Nepal on a budget of $20 a day?
Well, we have some ideas for you. While this may not be suitable for government or the hospitality industry, these ideas can save you a lot of dollars.
Check them out if you want to learn how to save money while traveling in Nepal.
1. Use a ride-sharing app to travel
If you are in Kathmandu during your trip to Nepal, use a carpool app that can be used for commuting, as most taxis in the valley will fail you. Since you are a foreigner, they will most likely charge double the price and won’t haggle with you. To avoid this, install a carpooling app like Pathao or Tootle and pay the normal fee. If not, the Kathmandu valley is so small that you can walk. The apps aren’t available far from the valley, so it’s best to walk or take a public bus. Taxis are ridiculously expensive in Pokhara, the tourist capital of Nepal, so just walk because things won’t change the cost of your trip in Nepal unless you do.
2. Bargain as much as possible
When Nepalis see foreigners, they think of dollars. They charge you extra. So try to haggle as much as you can during your Nepal trip or you will end up paying more than you deserve. If the store doesn’t say “fixed price,” it will most likely charge you double the price, so try to haggle. Who knows what he/she might sell you at the price you quoted?
3. Eat at a local restaurant
Many restaurants in the valley charge a lot for a small portion of food. They do this to Nepalis too, if you want to avoid these places during your Nepal trip, try the local restaurants near where you live. If you’re a meat lover who can handle your spice, you’ll love a delicious Newa food spot that can be found in almost every major tourist region of the country. If you’re a vegetarian, some dessert shops offer a range of vegetable dishes to fill you up.
4. Use a hotel instead of a hotel
Another way to save money while traveling in Nepal is to forgo hotels and stay in hostels. One might think hotels are bad, but there are some pretty good hotels in Kathmandu and Pokhara with beds as low as $5. You can also get a half-decent hotel room for $10, so consider that too, but don’t pay anything more than that as people might try to trick you in other ways.
5. Don’t use a tour guide
The Nepal Tourism Board recommends trekking with a guide during your trip to Nepal as you may get lost. But if you take a map to places with lots of hikers like Annapurna Circuit, Annapurna Base Camp, Carnival Himalayas or Mount Everest, you’ll be fine. Accepting a guide will only add to your bill because most of them aren’t as well-trained as you’d like them to be. However, keep in mind that it is very important to take a guide to off the beaten track places like Makalu, Kanchenjunga or anywhere in western Nepal as these trails are not well marked. If you do want the locals to join you, make friends along the way, but don’t be fooled by the ubiquitous sweet talk.
6. Avoid flights and use local buses to commute between cities
Airfare for tourists is ridiculously high, so if you want to save money while traveling in Nepal, be sure to take the bus to travel between the cities. If you want to make your commute cheaper, take a local bus. Traveling with these buses takes a lot of time, but can also save you a lot of money. Get ready for the adventure by checking the fares at the bus stop before boarding.
7. Dive into heritage sites
The authorities may not be too happy about this, but seriously, paying $10 or more to get to Banastapur, Patan or Bhaktapur Durbar Square is a blackmail. So try diving through the many alleys leading to the heritage site. You won’t get into trouble right away, if you get caught, you can buy a ticket, but be smart and try not to pay as most of these areas are overrated. Find these entry points on the Internet, Maps or YouTube.