Costs are very low in Nepal compared to Western standards but prices jump in tourist areas. Bargaining is less a part of life in Nepal than in India, so the cost of food and other goods should not be contested. This is less the case in tourist areas where you may feel you are being overcharged. There are banks and ATMs all over the city, but they do not always work, so try to keep a reserve of cash with you. Licensed moneychangers all over the city usually offer competitive rates. Credit cards are usually only accepted in some mid-range and most top-end hotels and restaurants.
Currency and Exchange
The national currency of Nepal is the Nepalese Rupee (Rs.), which divided into 100 paisa, although you are not likely to encounter the latter. Bills come in 5, 10, 20, 25, 50, 100, 500 and 1,000 rupee denominations. Coins come in 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 paisa, and 1, 2, 5 and 10 rupee denominations. At this writing, the exchange rate was Rs.87 to $1.
A sales tax (VAT) of 13% is added to non-essential goods and services in Nepal. VAT is added to hotel room rates, and mid- to upper-end hotels often have a 10% service charge. Both charges are usually included in the rate quoted.
Tipping is not compulsory in Nepal, but is expected by pretty much everyone who might provide you with a service. Tip waiters in restaurants and taxi drivers (unless their meter has been rigged) 10-15% of the bill. Tip hotel porters Rs.20-50 depending on the class of hotel.
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