The official currency of Nepal is the Nepalese Rupee, codenamed NPR, with the symbol as रू or Rs. The consumption level in Nepal is very low: 15-30 Rupees (0.13~0.2USD) for a liter of bottled water, NPR 300-1000 (2.51~8.38 USD) per capita for a mid-range restaurant, NPR 35-100 (0.29~0.84 USD) per kilometer for taxi fare. Moreover, tourists can easily exchange Nepal money in major cities in Nepal, or pay by credit card. So it is not necessary for foreign tourists to carry large amounts of cash when traveling in Nepal.
Nepal currency refers to the Nepalese Rupee. Nepal currency has banknotes in 11 denomination of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 25, 50, 100, 250, 500, and 1000. 1 NRP is subdivided into 100 Paisa. Paisa is a coin. It is available in 9 denominations of the coin including 1, 5, 10, 20, 50 Paisa, and 1, 2, 5, and 10 Rupee.
Nepalese Rupee and Indian Rupee
The Nepalese Rupee is an independent currency. It is written and pronounced as Rupee, the same as the Indian Rupee, but the exchange rate to US dollars is different. It is currently pegged to the Indian Rupee, which is two-thirds of the Indian Rupee. The exchange rate between the Nepalese Rupee and Indian Rupee is fixed at 1:1.6. Once the exchange rate between the Indian Rupee and the US dollar fluctuates, so does the exchange rate between the Nepalese Rupee and the US dollar.
Where to Exchange
Tourists can exchange money at banks, ATMs, money exchangers, hotel counters, airports, and other places. Each has pros and cons, you can choose according to your own situation.
Nepal has modern banking facilities for Nepal currency exchange. The city’s well-known banks include Everest Bank, Nepal Standard Chartered Bank, Himalaya Bank, Nepal SBI Bank, etc. Some international banks also have branches in Kathmandu. Most banks are open from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM from Sunday to Thursday, from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM on Friday, and closed on Saturday. However, bank transactions require more time because you need to fill out some forms and often queue up.
*Remember to bring your passport.
*Be sure to keep the receipt, because it is important for you to convert Nepalese Rupees to your currency when you leave.
*Please check with your bank about the use of cards in Nepal, because sometimes they may not allow you to do so or charge a high fee.
It is a good choice for tourists to withdraw cash from ATMs directly. In the Thamel district of Kathmandu, there will be ATMs every 50 meters or less, which are usually set next to the bank, but some are not. The fixed fee for ATM withdrawal is small and the exchange rate is usually reasonable. Different banks have different regulations on the cash withdrawal limit once a day. However, this rule will also depend on your bank policy. Your bank can advise you on exchange rates and expected fees.
Money Exchange Point
Compared with banks, Money Exchangers are more convenient and do not require filling out forms. Tourists in major cities in Nepal will see many small shops that exchange foreign currency.
They use NRP, NR, and Rs to express prices in the currency for Nepal and all have their own prices. If you want to get a good exchange rate, it is recommended to consult a local guide. Bargaining is possible.
*Thamel in Kathmandu is a tourist hub, and most of the currency exchange kiosks are concentrated here. It is usually open from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM every day. In addition, Lazimpath, New Road (Basantapur), Bouddha, Swyambhu, etc. also have currency exchange points.
*Some currency exchange points in Kathmandu: Annapurna currency exchange, Dolphin currency exchange, North Point currency exchange, Continental Money near Durbar Square, etc.
*In other tourist cities like Pokhara and Chitwan, the exchange rate is lower than in Kathmandu, so it is recommended that tourists exchange money in Kathmandu.
Tribhuvan International Airport
The airport facilitates your Nepal currency exchange upon arrival. You will find two currency exchange centers in the arrivals hall. But the exchange rate is low, and there is a handling fee. Therefore, it is generally not recommended to exchange money at the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), or only exchange a small amount for emergency purposes, such as paying transportation expenses.
If you enter Nepal by land from Tibet in China, you can exchange Nepalese Rupees at the Gyirong port. In addition, many hotels, restaurants, and shops in Nepal can also exchange currency, but the exchange rate is not stable.