Nepal on budget- 6 days/10500 per person (excluding flight)

Just back from a 6 day/5 nights trip to Nepal. We spent 3 nights in Kathmandu, 2 nights in Pokhara, visited key places of interest in Kathmandu and Pokhara. This post helps you understand how much we spent on various things-will help you plan your trip in budget.
We were a group of 5 people. We teamed up in Delhi- two flew in from Bengaluru, 2 from Chennai and one from North India. 3 of us flew on Indigo, our DEL-KTM return ticket cost us some 8700 Rs approx.. 2 others flew in on Air India, their ticket cost 9672 DEL-KTM return. You should factor another 6k for your city to Delhi and return unless you’ve a direct flight to KTM from your city (Kolkata, BLR etc have direct flights to KTM). You can even enter via land border from UP in your own vehicle at much cheaper cost.

With flight out of the way, let me explain the land-side expenses. My referral point was MakeMyTrip’s Nepal package, which had a similar itinerary as ours and had a quote of about INR 15000 per person, with many things (some lunch/dinner, site seeing expenses etc) not included, which would easily cost 4000-6000 per person. My objective was to execute the trip for much less.

Our high level plan as like below- have planned a separate detailed post on itinerary
Day 01- Arrive by noon,Bus to hotel (Kailash Kuthi Inn, close to Pashupathinath temple), Visit Pashupathinath temple, view evening Arti

Day 02- Booked an Alto Taxi, explored Kathmandu Local
Buddhanath Stupa, Kopan monastery, Vishnu temple (Budhanikanta temple),  Swayambunath temple, Garden of Dreams, back to hotel

Day 03- Early morning departure to Pokhara (booked Scorpio of 3 days), reach by noon, relaxed evening in Pokhara around Phewa lake

Day 04- Pokhara local- Sarangkot viewpoint, Mahendra cave, Bat Cave, Devi’s Falls, Gupteshwar Mahadev Cave, World Peace Pagoda and Tal Barahi temple

Day 05- Back to Kathmandu, with stopover at Begnas Lake, Maharishi Ved Vyas Cave, Manakamana temple

Day 06- Explore Patan Durbar Square, back to Airport

Below is how much we spent on our Nepal trip, total for 5 people, excluding India-Nepal flight
#
Type
Total (5 pax)
Per person
Breakdown
1
Stay
15000 INR
3000 INR
Kathmanu 9800 INR for 2 room, 2 night
Kailash Kuthi Inn




Pokhara 3000 INR for 2 room, 2 night
Hotel Nirvana, Lakeside




Kathmandu 2200 for 2 rooms, 1 night
Easy Homes Ashoka Stupa
2
Transport
20000 INR
4000 INR
2500 for 1 day KTM local site-seeing taxi
17000 for 3 day KTM-Pokhara-return Scorpio
500 other local commute (bus/airport taxi etc
3
Food
10000
2000 INR
Veg food in decent restaurants
4
Site-seeing
5000
1000 INR
Cablecar at Manakamana, Entry fee to various attractions. SAARC country members pay less.
5
Others
1100
270 INR
Local Sim, ATM cash withdrawal fee etc


51100
10270 INR
Shopping excluded
Including flight our trip expense is under 20k ex-Delhi, 26k from Chennai. We've spent a few hundred extra on shopping, not included in above list.
Things that helped us save some money:
  • We were 5 but managed with 2 hotel rooms. Bit tight but saved some money.
  • We opted for decent 2 star/ 1 star hotels, costed us between Rs 750 a night per room till 2500 a night. Two of the hotels didn't have free breakfast but it wasn't an issue as we didn't pay a lot of amount as room rent. Could have saved a bit more if I had avoided the 2500 a night Kailash Kuti Inn and opted for a bit cheaper one.
  • We used buses and share autos in Kathmandu where possible. It was not very easy but was possible to manage. For example an airport pickup organized by hotel would cost us about 1000 NPR or INR 600 for just 3 kms. But by using bus, 5 of us reached hotel for under INR 100.
  • On the day of arrival, I had selected hotel very close to Pashupathi nath temple, so no taxi was needed. Similarly on last night we stayed in Patan area, so could explore Patan Durbar square on foot.
  • Taxi quote for both Kathmandu local site-seeing and for Pokhara visit, given by the hotel folks was a lot higher. I got taxi driver numbers from a friend who had been to Nepal earlier, spoke to the driver directly and agreed on a rate fairly cheaper than the hotel quote. For example, hotel person quoted INR 4000+ for a Scorpio for a full day Kathmandu site-seeing. We managed in an alto for about 2500 INR.
We had to skip going to top of Chandragiri hill due to various factors (got delayed as we visited Manakamana temple instead and Chandragiri was bit too tight to visit on last day)- other than that, we could explore all our intended destinations.

Our Pokhara cab driver, Shiva was very accommodating. There’s an advantage when you deal directly with cab owners/drivers. Going through an agency means many people will have to be given a cut. Thus driver gets much less, so they won’t be comfortable accommodating any change of plan or giving anything extra for free.

Nepal has a lot more to offer- our short 5 day visit meant we could only visit 2 most important towns. There’s lot more in Nepal- Annapurna trek, Nagarkot, Bandipur, Chitwan national park and a lot more- these things may be for next time. We can also drive from India on our own vehicles, saving heavily on flight expense. We spent about 45000 on flight for 5 people-Delhi to Kathmandu and back. If you have a car, it costs a fraction of it to explore Nepal on your own.
How package tours will be different?
If you book a package tour from travel portals, below would be the difference:
  • You’ll usually get a slightly better hotel- like 3* ones with breakfast
  • Airport transfer is usually included
  • If site seeing is included it will be mostly customary and limited to a few places. Everything else at extra cost
  • Taxi costs the same if you’re 2 pax or 4, but package rates are always per person (min 2 required) and no discount if 4 of you can manage in 1 cab (try negotiating on that)
  • Meals, entry tickets and many other things are usually not included.
  • You’ll pay 5% GST and various other agencies need to get a cut too- dealing direct with operator is usually a better option.
  • You’ll spend minimum 50% more compared to what we spent when we managed on our own
Standby for more posts from Nepal trip.

Also read: Kathmandu to Pokhara- Bus vs flight vs taxi

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