Nepal Costs: $40 a Day

The cost to travel in Nepal is comparable to India: It’s extremely affordable! Hotels and food are priced even lower in Nepali cities than in India. The costs to trek can add up if you purchase new gear, but they are mostly offset by the low price of guesthouses in villages – some are only $3 a night for a basic room, and even that can be waived. Food and alcohol are understandably more expensive up in the mountains, since cars can only reach the lower villages and everything has to be taken up by porters or horses. (On the flip side of this, most garbage that is taken up is never taken back down, so please be sure to pack out as much as possible if you go trekking).

The permits to trek on the Annapurna Circuit, including the TIMS card and park fees, add up to more than $30 per person. Looking back on it now that doesn’t seem like much at all, but at the time it seemed like a lot! It’s funny how your definition of “big ticket” can change so much. But if a full meal costs $4 and a hotel room is $7, things tend to get skewed.

The daily average cost for our trip to Nepal was $40.53 (or $20.27 per person per day) which is about what we were expecting. Trekking didn’t increase our daily average, but had we paid for hotels it would have had an affect. Either way, traveling in Nepal is cheap cheap. If you are able to find local’s restaurants (which can be hard in places like Kathmandu’s Thamel neighborhood), I’d guess you can live in Nepal for less than some people’s daily Starbuck’s habit.

Here is a breakdown of all our costs during our stay. This table does not include costs to enter the country, which included $42 for a cross-country bus from the Indian border and visa fees of $88 ($44 each).

Type of Expense Total Cost
(for 23 days)
Daily Average Notes
Lodging $157.57 $6.85 Our lodging choices ranged in price from $0 in the mountains (where we were able to pay for food and sleep for free) to $12.68 in Kathmandu.
Food $506.54 $22.02 Local dishes like dal bhat are really inexpensive, but the Thamel neighborhood and trekking towns are a bit higher.
Transportation (within country) $47.37 $2.06
Entertainment $108.05 $4.70 Includes the Boudhanath and Swayambhunath Temples and trekking permits.
Alcohol $84.22 $3.66
Incidentals $28.53 $1.24 Includes the costs for items like sunblock, internet, and donations.
Grand Total* $932.26 $40.53 *Total reflects expenses for two people. It does not reflect costs to enter the country (i.e., visas or airfare)

Some Examples:

1 L water – Rs.25 ($0.30)
640ml beer from a wine shop – Ranged from Rs.135-180 ($1.50 – $2)
Dinner at a local’s restaurant, per person – Rs.150 ($1.75)
A small cup of chai – Rs.50 ($0.60)
Western style breakfast – Rs.250 ($3)

3 Replies to “Nepal Costs: $40 a Day”

  1. Hi, just wondering if you could give a bit more info about your trek and the related costs. It seems like the trekking permits and TIMS are pretty standard cost-wise, but what were the expenses like for porters, guides, and equipment (if you hired/purchased any)? I’m looking to do trek this year with my girlfriend, either EBC or Annapurna, and we’ve found it pretty difficult to get ballpark prices. I’ve also seen some blogs say that no guide or porter is necessary on the well marked treks like EBC or Annapurna, and I’ve seen others say that it’s an absolute must to do the whole package – which could really change the cost. I’d really appreciate any info!

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