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How best to arrange money

Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
40 posts
42 reviews
How best to arrange money

Hi everyone

Two of us are going to Nepal in February and staying in Pokhara, a few days on a rural walk and then travelling by bus to Kathmandu. I assume we will be able to pay main hotels by creadit cared but many other activities we have booked want cash. How best to I arrange our money? We will have Australian dollars in cash but not sure about using debit based cards ect at ATMs. Thanks for your help.

27 replies to this topic
Sheffield, United...
Destination Expert
for Nepal
Level Contributor
15,239 posts
56 reviews
1. Re: How best to arrange money

Hi Tilly

I am not an Aussie and the best options to arrange money can be country-specific, however, my views seem to in accordance with a number of regular Aussie posters. In brief; cash is king.

Many hotels do accept credit cards but there is usually a surcharge of 4/5% to cover their additional costs. This is the case with the more upmarket restaurants and souvenir shops.

ATMs in Nepal typically charge 400/500 rupees per withdrawal so despite the good headline exchange rate this might not be the cheapest way to obtain rupees. I understand there are some Australian debit cards that will refund such charges (not the case in the UK). many UK cards an exchange rate 'loading' in the range of 2-5% making debit cards an expensive way to get cash. Hopefully this is not the case for you but worth checking with your card provider.

Australian dollars are easily exchanged at banks (best rate) and money changers (convenient) which is probably the cheapest method of obtaining rupees.

Fellow Aussies will post...

scoodly

Edited: 20 November 2018, 15:43
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
40 posts
42 reviews
2. Re: How best to arrange money

Thanks scoodly. I am a bit worried about carrying much cash to exchange - should I be?

Espoo
Level Contributor
2,677 posts
3. Re: How best to arrange money

Do not tell anybody, but at the moment I have 100000 NRs and 1600€ in my backpack in my lodge room and I am not worried a bit.

Sheffield, United...
Destination Expert
for Nepal
Level Contributor
15,239 posts
56 reviews
4. Re: How best to arrange money

You're welcome.

Your concern is understandable. In my view Nepal is a relatively safe country and crimes against travellers seems low compared to its southern neighbour. The worst I have experienced is an inept attempt at pickpocketing by a group of children. In some circumstances carrying cash is the only practical way e.g. people on a tight schedule heading straight out on trek where cash rupees are needed.

This is not to say there are no concerns and street smarts are still required. Some people leave cash and other valuables in the hotel safe while others, including me, prefer to keep them with me. It's personal decision about the security risks of cash versus (probable) additional costs of using cards (always good to have theese as a back up).

scoodly

Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
122 posts
32 reviews
5. Re: How best to arrange money

Hi Tilly,

It's easier to take $aus cash and change into NPR prior to your trek. The exchange rate seems to be the same in Pokhara and Kathmandu so it doesn't really matter which city you exchange in. Cash is definitely easier than cards.

I've carried hundreds of dollars around with me while trekking in Nepal and never given it a second thought. I'm sure there are trekkers out there who have had the misfortune to have money stolen, however I've not heard of it happening.

Western Australia...
Level Contributor
665 posts
6. Re: How best to arrange money

In addition to the above comments, it looks like you are not staying that long so the among of money needed may not be as much to carry around in cash so less problematic. If you are staying in expensive places and buying expensive items then that will change despite less time on the ground.

Of the two Aust cards I carried a bank related one and general cash card, the latter did not work, which is a common reported issue for Nepalese ATMs and the one that worked cost about 7% more than cash after fees, bad exchange rate and multiple withdrawals due to ATM limits of US$350.

Refer to previous post such as https://www.tripadvisor.com.au/ShowTopic-g29…

I continue to feel uncomfortable with repeated open admissions on such forums of large amounts carried by Trekkers as it continues to advertise that tourists are walking neon cash signs to would be robbers out there despite how safe any country is reported to be as things can change and robbers are always looking for new opportunities. It also adds to ever increasing prices for tourists if locals can see it repeated as well. Look up online topics on appropriate security measures when travelling out there.

Edited: 20 November 2018, 16:55
Espoo
Level Contributor
2,677 posts
7. Re: How best to arrange money

Re #6: have you ever been to a bank in Nepal where local businessmen bring cash in plastic shopping bags to be deposited? People like me are paupers compared to them.

Sheffield, United...
Destination Expert
for Nepal
Level Contributor
15,239 posts
56 reviews
8. Re: How best to arrange money

I am not uncomfortable with people asking such questions and TA allows them. Criminals are already aware that travellers carry money and have been since way before internet forums existed and still crime against travellers is relatively low.

scoodly

Western Australia...
Level Contributor
665 posts
9. Re: How best to arrange money

It wasn’t about people asking it was about saying how much one carries and it still doesnt address the issue of rising tourist prices which have gone ballistic over the years though still affordable.

Here is a good link https:/… for suggestions on how to carry cash more safely when travelling and many like it but it doesn’t have to be as serious as all the suggestions mentioned as it needs to be practical and comfortable on your body and in your bags. There is a small brick of money to conceal for good reasons.

I managed to survive a total of five years on and off backpacking for the last 30 years mostly overland from Bali to Capetown, across EU (infested with pick pocket thieves), across Russia, China and parts of Americas with minimal issues but seen quite a few around me having problems and heard a lot more stories. My preferred method is a money pouch slung around neck, under one arm under a loose shirt as it allows use of a backpack hip belt and ventilates well while being very accessible to me. While trekking it is in the main pack but stays close always or in secure hotel save, if in a dormitory I sleep with it and hence it sometimes smells worse than my underpants and needs a regular wash :)

I havnt seen or had issues in a total of 8 months in Nepal over the many years but last year while waiting in a crowded bus ticket line for the Langtang trek a kind Nepalese man behind me constantly warned me to keep my eye and hand on my valuables.

Edited: 20 November 2018, 18:34
Sheffield, United...
Destination Expert
for Nepal
Level Contributor
15,239 posts
56 reviews
10. Re: How best to arrange money

People saying how much they carry is a minor contributory factor to rising tourist prices if anything at all in my view.. There are much more significant factors.

scoodly

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