The rupee is the official currency of Nepal. It is distinct from other rupee currencies such as the one used in India. However with that said it is pegged to the value of the Indian rupee although the two are not the same in terms of value. It is just something to keep in mind.
While some versions of the rupee are divided into 100 cents, this version is akin to the Indian rupee in that it divides into 100 paise. This is referred to as paisa in the singular form.
What coins and notes are available for this currency?
There are lots of coins available for this currency and when any amount is referred to it generally has the letters Rs in front of it. The coins are valued at 1, 2, 5, 10, 25 and 50 rupees.
There are plenty of banknotes too. These are the 5, 10, 25, 50 100, 500 and 1,000 rupee notes. The 1 and 2 rupee notes are also available but in practice they are rarely used.
From past to present – the history of the rupee
You need to go right back to 1932 to find the year when the Nepalese rupee was officially introduced to the country. This replaced the existing currency known as the mohar. The Nepalese rupee would not be pegged to the value of the Indian rupee until much later though – not until 1993 in fact.
How to get hold of the Nepalese rupee
The good news is you can use traveller’s cheques in Nepal so if you want to take some of these with you, go ahead and do so. You can take in cash in your home currency (euros, US dollars and British pounds are always easy to exchange) but you can equally get the rupee in your home country before you travel. However do be aware of the risks of carrying a large amount of cash on your person when you travel. You might be better off taking in a small amount in rupees and in your own currency and relying on traveller’s cheques and cards to fund the rest of your trip.
Nepal is quite an advanced country when it comes to providing you with the means to gain access to cash. It has a good network of cash machines and the most familiar credit cards will easily be accepted by these. Just remember to let your card issuer know you are travelling to Nepal so your card isn’t rejected or withheld. Be prepared to pay a transaction fee at all times when using your card to pay for goods or other services or to get cash out of machines. It is part and parcel of the way of life so it is best just to accept it.
The only other thing to be aware of is the usual safety measures that you should bring into play when using cards. Protect your PIN, never let anyone loiter around you when using cash machines and make sure you never let your cards out of your sight even for a second.
How to find out the latest exchange rate between your home currency and the Nepalese rupee
Use a currency converter to find your own currency and compare it to the Nepalese rupee. You can find it more easily by typing in NPR for its currency code – this should make it appear rather than scrolling down the list to find it. You can also do this when looking to see what the exchange rate is when you are changing up money in the country itself.
The Embassy of Nepal in London has an official website and this might be useful if you decide to visit the country. Visit the website first at http://www.nepembassy.org.uk/.
Travelling safely with the Nepalese rupee
Nepal is a pretty safe country to go to for the most part. Trekking can be a problem as can travelling on your own, especially in non-tourist parts. Make sure that you book with a well-known agency if this is the type of holiday you wish to have in the country.
Unfortunately petty thievery does occur quite a lot in Nepal so you should be prepared for this. You can reduce the odds of being picked on by being less conspicuous in terms of carrying the minimal amount of jewellery and other similar valuables. Carry your cash in different places if you can too, and minimise the amount you have on you. Keep your cards in a money belt and make sure you don’t venture into areas that are off the beaten path. Don’t go anywhere on your own if you can help it and stay in well-lit areas too.
This is all really common sense and you could well be a target in your own country if you make things easy for pickpockets. So try not to be too nervous of being in Nepal otherwise that could make you a target too!
Where to spend your rupees in Nepal – and what to spend them on
Nepal is a landlocked country so its borders all meet with other countries. You might assume many other countries border Nepal but in fact this is not the case – only China and India share its borders.
The country is a relatively small one in relation to the likes of China and India. It is long and quite thin in shape, and its capital – Kathmandu – is located to the east of the central part of the country.
So where can you go when visiting the country? Actually you might be surprised at just how many options you have. For example you should definitely make the time to see Phoksundo Lake, since this is a freshwater lake that exists in the Shey Phoksundo National Park. It is quite a sight and boasts a beautiful greenish-blue colour. People often go trekking around this area for days at a time, but remember what we advised regarding booking onto an officially organised tour. These are safer and they also mean you can learn a lot more about the area.
Another great place to go to is the Chitwan National Park. This park is an excellent place to go to get closer to nature, and it is renowned for protecting certain species of animal too. These include the one horned rhino and the Royal Bengal tiger.
You may also know that Nepal is home to the highest mountain the world has to offer. Mount Everest actually exists on the border of the country but very few people actually climb it. It costs thousands of dollars to do so per person, and you must be an experienced climber and prepared to pay the ultimate price to climb it. Some have tried and been unsuccessful – and have never returned. However if you are in the area of the mountain it is still quite an experience to see it and appreciate just how high it really is. Interestingly enough, Nepal is home to many of the world’s tallest mountains, with several ranking in the top ten.
Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, is a major tourist attraction in itself. There are many hotels here to stay in and it also offers the famous Kathmandu Valley. This has been recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, not for just one attraction but for no fewer than seven. These include Durbar Square and Patan Durbar among other sites and monuments. A Durbar Square may not sound particularly interesting but when you realise this is not simply a square but a plaza where several architectural treasures can be found, you can understand its value. You will find the Hanuman Dhoka complex here that includes towers and a palace among other structures.
While you are in the capital you should also go to Thamel. This is the tourist part of the area and it is much loved by tourists who are on a tight budget. The streets here are packed with shops selling virtually everything you can think of. You can easily spend a day wandering around soaking up the atmosphere and parting ways with a few rupees as well!
Nepal may be most famous for Mount Everest, but there are many other delights to be found here. Nepal is knee-deep in history in many ways, and you can be sure you will enjoy a fantastic holiday here. Tourism is a big industry in Nepal and it will continue to be so for a long time to come. From pilgrimage sites such as Pashupat Kshetra and Vaishnav to the natural wonders of the Himalayas and the surrounding areas, there is plenty for everyone to enjoy here regardless of what type of holiday you would like to have.
There may be no beaches in this landlocked country but there is plenty else to keep you amused and amazed. Nepal is a stunning country to visit and if you have enough rupees with you there is every chance you will come back with a few souvenirs as well.