Currency Exchange

Money can be exchanged at Kathmandu International Airport and at any of the myriad banks and money exchange kiosks in the capital. Although it is illegal to exchange foreign money with unauthorised individuals, there is a thriving black market for currency exchange, especially in the Thamel district of Kathmandu. Often these street-side traders offer the best rates, but can be an annoyance after you have completed the transaction. Hotels also change money, but at a lower rate than the banks. It’s hard to change rupees back into foreign currency so only change as much as you need.

ATMs are accessible in the larger cities in Nepal. Kathmandu and Pokhara have the highest number of them in the tourist areas. Standard Chartered Bank has a 24-hour ATM in Thamel Chouk which accepts Cirrus, Visa and Mastercard. Keep in mind that the farther from civilisation you go, the less likely you’ll be able to exchange or withdraw money from an ATM, so carry plenty of cash when you go trekking.

No one accepts credit cards in the Annapurna villages. However, credit cards are widely accepted in Kathmandu Valley, though most shops tack on a five per cent service charge for each transaction.