Since I started traveling back in 2013, I didn’t know why, but Nepal was always rendering in my mind. It was a must to visit destination in my list, and finally that came true on 14 February 2017. Nepal offers visa on arrival to almost every country in the world, and so I also obtained my visa on arrival. The Nepal visa guide can be find on the link, and the rest of the story on how expensive Kathmandu is below.
Flight to & from Nepal (Options)
I traveled to Nepal from Yangon (Myanmar), and the cheapest one way ticket I found was with Bangladesh Airlines via Dhaka, as there is no regular direct flight from Myanmar to Nepal, so that’s why my ticket was a bit expensive if not too expensive. I bought the one way ticket for $240. And my return flight was with Flydubai from Kathmandu to Karachi (via Dubai) which cost me $360.
However, from Kathmandu airport, many airlines operate direct or connected flights to many destinations. The most popular airlines are Emirates (to Dubai), Etihad (to Abu Dhabi), FlyDubai (to Dubai), Qatar Airways (to Doha), Thai Airways (to Bangkok), Bangladesh Airlines (to Dhaka) and Nepali airlines also operate direct flights to many destinations but they don’t have online booking facility on their website.
Except the flight expenses which were almost $600, Nepal was not expensive at all.
Arrival at the Airport
A few minutes before landing, you’ll see some of the highest mountains of Nepal from the aircraft (if you are on window side), the view from the airplane is just amazing while landing. You’ll find many “Welcome to Nepal” sign boards while entering the terminal building.
The immigration process is very easy at the airport, and Nepal visa is on arrival for almost every country. After the immigration is done, you’ll go outside the terminal, and there, you’ll find currency exchange shops, SIM card shop and Taxis waiting for you.
The SIM card should cost you between Nepal Rupees (NPR) 100 to Nepali Rupees (NPR) 300 ($1 to $3) depending on which company’s network you want to use. You can buy the SIM card at the Airport (I recommend), and if you don’t have Nepali currency then you can exchange $50 USD or $100 USD at the airport to have some money for the Taxi. But always try to exchange currency outside the airport, as you’ll get better exchange rates.
The Taxis are private without any meter, and will cost you around NPR 500 to NPR 800 ($5 to $8) depending on your negotiation skills. Generally, Nepal is a safe country, and people including Taxi drivers will not cheat you unless you do something terribly wrong 🙂 The Airport is 7KM away from the popular tourist area called “Thamel“.
Accommodation in Kathmandu
Accommodation in Kathmandu is very cheap, a simple hotel room for two persons in the tourists area “Thamel” cost us $10 per night. The WiFi doesn’t work very good in all places, but it does the job for a while. The hotel we stayed in Kathmandu was “Festoon Hotel in Kathmandu”. You can find a better room on Agoda.com between $5 to $40 depending on your budget and the luxury you want to have. Overall, hotels in Kathmandu are cheaper than any country I’ve ever stayed in.
Food in Kathmandu
in Kathmandu, you’ll find small cafes & restaurants in the tourists area called “Thamel“. And you can find fast food as well around the Kathmandu city. Since I always search for Indian restaurants in every country (when there is no Pakistani or Afghan restaurant), so I found in Kathmandu that Nepali cuisine is similar to Indian taste.
Nepali people usually eat rice with traditional set of meal such as Daal, Saag, Salad and Achaar. And also, traditional South Asian bread with the above mentioned dishes. I ate Nepali food many times, and it cost NPR 200 ($2) for rice with vegetables and NPR 250 ($2.5) for rice with chicken. so, it’s reasonable and cheap.
Travel Tips for Kathmandu
First thing first, when you are in Kathmandu, make sure to find the actual prices of almost everything before you buy from the local street people/shops. Mostly people including taxi drivers will tell you higher price when they see you are a foreigner. Always try to buy things of daily usage from the big stores which have computerized billing system.
When you want to exchange money in Kathmandu, check the rates of at least 3 different shops before exchanging the money. I saw differences in exchange rates across different shops in Thamel area.
In the Thamel area, there are young boys who always come to you and offer you drugs, massage and even girls escort services, but all of them are fake, don’t try to deal with them. if you really need to join a club or bar then find a well-established club/bar in the Thamel area yourself and go there. But remember, that don’t argue with drunk Nepali guys in the clubs/bars, they simply don’t behave good when they are drunk at night.
Places to visit in Kathmandu
in Kathmandu, there are not so many good places to visit due to the bad infrastructure and transportation system of that city. The dust and pollution will stop you from going anywhere. However, there are a few places which I visited during my stay in Kathmandu.
Thamel (main tourist area)
Thamel is the main tourist area in Nepal, you can simply have a good time here. There are shops packed with traditional stuff and a huge number of hotels and restaurants. it’s 7 KM away from the airport. The nightlife in Thamel area is also very famous, and you can find many tourists walking in the streets of Thamel. Nepal is relatively safe place, and Thamel area is more safer because of tourists and presence of police all the time.
This area is simply awesome and historical. it’s just 2 KM away from Thamel, and you can reach here by using a Cycle Riksha which is available everywhere. in Durbar square, you can visit a famous museum (I forgot the name), and there are some historical Hindu temples and areas like that. You’ll also find many Nepali markets/bazars next to Durbar square, which are very interesting to explore.
If you want to experience some historical Buddhist templates while in Kathmandu, then give a try to “Boudhanath Temple” and “Swayambhunath Temple” in Kathmandu, these are located in the center of the Kathmandu city, and Taxi will take you there within a few minutes if you are located in Thamel area.
Kathmandu is a good place to stay for 3-4 nights, and it’s equally good for a stopover like 1-2 if you are going to any other city of Nepal for adventures. However, Kathmandu is a dusty and polluted city, so be careful while going outside of Thamel area, try to use a face mask. Nepal in general is not expensive in terms of everything, but again do care when dealing with locals. if you have any question then drop that in the comments or email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. And don’t forget to watch my travel vlog on Kathmandu.