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Tips for backpacking in Nepal: cost breakdown, routes & helpful travel information

So that your perfect on Backpacking in Nepal prepared, I have put together the best routes, accommodations and budget tips for you. Here you can find out how you can travel cheaply through the country and still not miss a highlight. Because Nepal is a fascinating country that not only invites you to go on trekking tours, but is also a travel destination full of historical sights and attractions, for example with historical sights in the capital Kathmandu and the Chitwan National Park.

© Damon Beckford / Shutterstock.com

Costs Nepal Backpacking

currency: 1 EUR = 126.66 Nepalese rupee (NR)

Visa: 30 days, $ 40 + extension for an additional 150 days possible

Best travel time: October & November, February - mid-April

time shift: UTC + 5:45

When it comes to costs, Nepal is a true paradise for all backpackers, because the prices for accommodation, food and transport are extremely cheap. The country in Asia is one of the poorest countries in the world. As in India, Laos or Cambodia, you come to Nepal with a relatively low rate Daily budget of around 15 euros out. You shouldn't expect any luxury on your trip, but you can experience a real adventure with little money. Nepalese rupees are used to pay in Nepal - 1000 Nepalese rupees are roughly equivalent to 7.90 euros (Status: August 2019). Although living and traveling in Nepal is generally very cheap, most of the sights require entry fees. It is therefore best to always carry cash with you. As a rule, you can withdraw money from all ATMs with your debit and credit card. However, since these are rare outside of the big cities, I advise you to always have enough cash on hand. When withdrawing money, pay attention to the fees incurred by your bank. Alternatively, you can use your money on site in Exchange offices exchange for local currency. It is best to keep the receipt for this, because if you want to exchange the rupee back into euros at the end of your trip, you will be asked to present the corresponding proof at the exchange office. So that you know how much budget you have to plan for your trip through Nepal, I have created an overview of the costs in my graphic.

Catering

The national dish of Nepal is dal bat, a rice and lentil dish that you can get for around two dollars. Water is also extremely cheap at around 15 cents. Avoid the western restaurants and eat in small ones instead local restaurants. By the way, the food in the Thamel district in Kathmandu and in higher elevations is significantly more expensive than in other places.

Accommodations

You don't have to pay huge sums of money for accommodation when backpacking in Nepal. If you travel in the off-season, you can get one for four euros Double room get hold of. Otherwise you will pay around seven euros for a simple room. When trekking, some restaurants also offer free sleeping places if you eat on site.

Mode of Transport

Taxis are the easiest and cheapest way to get from one place to another in the big cities. You pay between one and three euros for short journeys, and up to six euros for longer journeys. You can take the bus between larger places. For the route between Kathmandu and Pokhara you pay around eight euros.

Routes

Are you on a world tour and looking for a fascinating and varied landscape? Then you are in the right place in Buddhist Nepal, because the Nepalese landscape is hard to beat in terms of diversity. From plains to High mountain regions you have the opportunity in Nepal to conquer several meters in altitude. But the cities also have a lot of sights to offer and should therefore not be missing on any Nepal route. So that you can experience as many highlights as possible in a short time, I would like to introduce you to the most beautiful spots for your travel route in my tips for Nepal backpacking.

Sample route Nepal Backpacking

If you not only want to explore the sights, natural phenomena and flora and fauna of the country, but have also planned a trekking route, are three to four weeks ideal for backpacking in Nepal. However, you can already explore the country in two weeks, but an extensive trekking tour through the Himalayan mountains is no longer possible in this case. I have put together an example route for you, how your way through Nepal could look like. Which stops you actually aim for, in which order you approach the spots and how long you stay there is up to you.

Route: Kathmandu | Thamel | Swayambhunath | Imperial cities | Chitwan National Park | Phewa Lake | Pokhara | Annapurna Basecamp | Lumbini

1. KATHMANDU The capital of the country is the perfect starting point for your tour. Although the capital is very chaotic at first glance, there is still a lot to see, or perhaps because of that. Kathmandu is one of the three royal cities in the Kathmandu Valley and is home to historical buildings such as the Pashupatinath temple. The temple is an important center for Buddhism, but not all parts of the complex are accessible to tourists. More Kathmandu tips can be found in my article.
2. THAMEL Thamel is “only” a part of Kathmandu, but it is also one of the biggest sights in the city and, above all, a real backpacker stronghold. The district is perfect as an introduction to Nepalese life and is rich in cafes, restaurants and bars. Here you will also find numerous low budget accommodations that are particularly popular with backpackers. Even when things get chaotic in Thamel, you should definitely put Thamel on your to-do list and browse through the many small shops and souvenir shops.
3. SWAYAMBHUNATH– When you've looked around Thamel enough and got used to Nepalese life, I recommend a day trip to the Swayambhunath temple complex. The Buddhist temple is located west of Kathamndu and was built on a hill. You can already see the Buddhist stupa, which with its ornate exterior facade is one of the highlights of the temple complex, from Kathmandu. Another must-see is Kathmandu's suburb of Bodnath with its large stupa, which is the point of contact for pilgrims.

© Rene Holtslag /Shutterstock.com

4. ROYAL CITIES In addition to Kathmandu, the Kathmandu valley has two other royal cities to offer. Bhaktapur and Lalitpur are in the immediate vicinity of Kathmandu and are therefore definitely worth a trip. It is best to travel to Bhaktapur first, where you can admire the royal palace and the impressive stupas, among other things. Then it goes on to Lalitpur with numerous temples and pagodas. Be sure to check out Patan Durbar Square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
5. CHITWAN NATIONAL PARK After you have done enough sightseeing, you continue into the fascinating nature of the country. You should definitely make a stop in Chitwan National Park. Here you will meet rhinos, which you can admire, for example, as part of a safari tour. In addition, Bengal tigers, leopards and king cobras live in Chitwan National Park. Not only jeep tours are possible here, but also boat trips and elephant safaris.
6. PHEWA LAKE If you want to travel further through the extensive Nepalese landscape, you should make a detour to this famous lake. The lake is located west of Pokhara and can therefore be perfectly combined with a visit to the tourist stronghold. The lake is surrounded by an idyllic mountain landscape and forms a great vantage point of the mountain region, as there are two high peaks directly behind it. A highlight is the Hindu temple complex in the middle of the lake, where important Hindu ceremonies still take place today.

© Valdis Skudre /Shutterstock.com

7. POKHARA Continue to Pokhara, which is more than 800 meters above sea level. A stay in Pokhara is worthwhile due to its location on the Annapurna massif. Be sure to visit the World Peace Pagoda or hike to the International Mountain Museum. Pokhara is also a perfect starting point for hiking tours. You can find more tips for Pokhara here.
8. ANNAPURNA BASECAMP As I said, Pokhara is the perfect start for all mountaineers, as numerous trekking tours start in the area. A popular route is the hike to Annapurna Basecamp. On this hike you will pass rice terraces and idyllic villages. There are numerous guided hikes of varying lengths to Annapurna Basecamp.
9. LUMBINI At the end of your trip, I recommend Lumbini in the south of the country, because the city plays an important role in the history of Buddhism. This place is considered the birthplace of Buddha and is therefore an important place of pilgrimage. The place of birth is marked by a stone slab that is located in the Mayadevi Temple. Another attraction is the Peace Park, which houses more than 60 temples.

Backpacking with trekking

Most backpackers who do not suffer from altitude sickness are drawn to Nepal not only because of the numerous Buddhist temples. For a large part of the travelers, trekking through the mountain regions is the top priority. As you have already learned, many mountaineers use the region around Pokhara as a starting point for their trekking adventure. But in Nepal there are even more areas that are suitable for trekking. Another region is that Langtang area in Langtang National Park, which is located north of Kathmandu. Highlights of this area are the Lakes of Gosainkund. By the way, from Gosainkund you have a wonderful view of Manaslu, the eighth highest mountain in the world. However, if you want to go trekking in Nepal, you should inform yourself in advance about the best travel time for trekking. The climate in Nepal is largely shaped by the monsoon season, which brings heavy rain showers in the summer months. Since the roads in the rural regions are not particularly well developed, you should avoid trekking during the monsoon season and travel to Nepal in the winter months instead.

Nepal trekking tips

Locomotion

Within the country, it is hardly worthwhile to use domestic flights in Nepal, because they are not only relatively expensive at 100 euros upwards, but also deny you a view of the beautiful landscape. Within the big cities you can reach many sights on foot. Alternatively, I can do that for you taxi recommend, which is really extremely cheap in Nepal. There are also buses within the cities that take you back and forth, but a bus trip in Nepal is not exactly uncomplicated. However, buses are the cheapest option between two larger cities. In this way, you not only get from one place to the next for little money, but you also have a wonderful view of nature as you drive by. Whether the vast expanses of the Terai Plain or the kilometer-high peaks of the 14 eight-thousanders of the Himalya Mountains - there is a lot to see on a bus trip through Nepal. In order to see as much as possible, I advise you to take your journeys to book during the day. In addition, driving during the day is much safer than at night due to the better visibility.

© KorradolYamsatthm / Shutterstock.com

Since you as a backpacker usually cover most of the routes by bus, I have listed some routes for you in my table. There you can see not only the route, but also the duration and the associated costs. As you can see, even for long distances of eight hours, you only have to plan a small budget for getting around between different travel destinations.

Transfer between popular backpacking destinations:

DestinationMode of TransportDurationcosts
Kathmandu - Pokharabusapprox. 8 h8 €
Kathmandu - Chitwanbus6 h6 €
Kathmandu - Lumbinibusapprox. 8 h9 €
Chitwan - Pokharabusapprox. 6 h6 €

Accommodations

In Nepal you have a variety of simple accommodations available for little money. What you might not necessarily expect: There are also luxurious 5-star hotels in Nepal. However, if you want to get along with your backpacker budget, you should use the cheaper guesthouses. If you are not traveling in the high season, you will often even find rooms with double beds and WiFi for little money. Those who have decided on a trekking tour usually stay in lodges or Teahouses in the middle of the Himalayas - if not in your own room, then at least in the mattress dormitory. In Nepal, hot water and electricity are not automatically part of the equipment of an accommodation, so it is best to inform yourself in advance whether your hostel has them. I have selected a small selection of different accommodations in different regions for you.

© Olga Danylenko / Shutterstock.com

Cell phone & internet

Would you like to share your impressions from dizzying heights and pictures of the most beautiful sights such as the Hindu temple Hanuman Dhoka directly with your loved ones at home? Then take care of a suitable tariff for your cell phone in advance. The best thing to do is to buy a prepaid SIM card when you arrive on site, which you can insert into your mobile phone. Remember to take a current passport photo and a copy of your passport with you and present them when purchasing, because without these documents you will not get a prepaid card in Nepal. I would like to give you the tip to buy a card with data volume right away, because there is no guarantee for WiFi in most of the accommodations. Also make sure that your cell phone does not have a SIM lock.

providersdealsDurationcosts
Nepal Telecomunlimited (SMS, telephony, internet)1 happrox. € 0.16 (20 NR)
7 GB7 daysapprox. 2 € (250 NR)
28 GB28 daysapprox. 7 € (850 NR)
Ncell4 GB (incl. 60 min. Video bonus per day)7 daysapprox. 4 € (254.1 NR)
16 GB (incl. 60 min. Video bonus per day)30 daysapprox. 8 € (1020,24 NR)
Smart Cell1 GB7 days€ 0.70 (88.11 NR)
1 GB15 days0.90 € (113.64 NR)
5 GB30 daysapprox. 4 € (407.33 NR)

Travel & safety information

Before you set off for Nepal and cross the border crossings, you should inform yourself about the entry regulations and safety instructions. German citizens need to get to know the authentic local life a visa. I have put together all the information about mandatory documents, entry and the required vaccinations in my Nepal tips. Incidentally, there you will not only find everything about immigration, but also the current safety instructions.

Nepal visa information

How safe is traveling alone in Nepal?

Are you a real adventurer and would you like to travel alone through Nepal? Basically: traveling alone in Nepal is possible, but you should only undertake trekking tours in a group or at least with a guide. Similar to India, Nepal is said to treat women in a questionable manner. But many female backpackers report on their travel blog that backpacking in Nepal is also possible for women traveling alone. In doing so, however, you should adhere to a few rules and, for example, not spend too long outside alone in the evening or avoid dark alleys. It's best to listen to yourself a little and trust your intuition.

Packing list

Are you making a stop in Nepal on your world tour or have you just decided to spend a few weeks in the Asian landlocked country? Then it depends on the contents of your backpack - especially if you are exploring the many hiking trails between the breathtaking and majestic peaks, you should go with them if possible little luggage be on the move. If you like to have your private blanket with you, you should carry a light sleeping bag with you and those who want to protect themselves from the sun despite the snow-covered mountains should pack sunscreen and a hat. You should also have comfortable hiking shoes with you so that you can master the multi-day hiking tours without any problems. You can find out what you should pack when backpacking on my packing list. There you will find a travel checklist especially for backpacking, which you can download and print out. I have also put together an additional list of utensils that you need specifically for Nepal.

To the packing list

What you shouldn't forget, especially in Nepal:

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