Deep in the heart of Nepal, bordering Tibet and India, is the culturally rich city of Kathmandu. Kathmandu is the largest urban center in Nepal, and is considered a metropolitan city. Kathmandu has a population of nearly 1 million people, merely a fraction of the population of Nepal, hundreds of which are expats who live and work abroad in Kathmandu. Living in Kathmandu is similar to living in India, and the prices of transportation, food, entertainment, accommodation and otherwise living, are nearly the same.
Here’s what you can expect to pay when living in Kathmandu…
The cost of housing in Kathmandu
The cost of housing in Kathmandu is higher than other Nepalese cities, being the only metropolitan city, but surprisingly cheap for travellers and expats.
Here is a rundown of what to expect to pay for accommodation in Kathmandu:
- Guesthouses: $120 - $230 per month
- Guesthouses are a popular choice for students, expats and travellers who wish to stay longer than a few weeks. Prices could be as low as $4 per night and usually paid on a monthly basis if staying long term. This could include even include breakfast, cleaning services and WiFi. Prices vary based on whether you will be sharing a room or staying alone.
- Hostels: $4 - $17 per night
- Hostels are used on a per-night basis by travellers in Kathmandu, Hostels are usually furnished and are in a good overall condition through out the city. Obviously the more you pay the nicer the hostel but even the cheap ones aren’t so bad.
- Bed & Breakfasts and Inns: $6 - $30 per night
- Bed & Breakfasts are not as common as hotels or hostels, but a good bed and breakfast can make your entire stay in Kathmandu worthwhile. Hosts are usually very good at making sure you are well fed and have amenities such as WiFi and sometimes even a computer to use.
- Hotels: $6 - $295 per night
- In Kathmandu, you pay for the experience you want. Budget hotels are the cheapest option, at only $6 per night, and include only basic needs such as a furnished room and free water. The more comfort you seek, the pricier the hotel will be.
- Apartments: $112 - $280 per month
- Apartments in Kathmandu are a great option for an extended stay in the city, however serviced apartments for short term can also be found for around $48 per night. The cheapest option for long term stay is to rent per month on a fixed term.
How much does food cost in Kathmandu?
Food is considerably inexpensive in Kathmandu. Like India, street food can be found on every corner, for prices equivalent to less than $1. A full meal at a locals joint can cost anywhere from $1.25 to $5.60 on average.
The cheapest way to eat in the city, is to buy your own groceries and cook for yourself. Buying groceries in Kathmandu for one week costs about $6 to $8 on average which is a great deal.
How much does transportation cost in Kathmandu?
Transportation is cheap, no matter which method you take, the cheapest being the metro system. To get from one side of the city to the other by metro transport, will cost less than $0.20 each way.
Rickshaws and Auto-rickshaws are inexpensive transportation options. Auto-rickshaws cost slightly more due to prices of petrol.
Transportation for one month can be estimated anywhere from $15 to $45 a month.
Healthcare in Kathmandu
Healthcare is incredibly inexpensive by western standards and the quality is of course depended on the hospital you chose.
When considering healthcare, consider this:
- It’s cheap: Visiting the doctor can cost an equivalent of $4.50 or less, while having an x-ray done, can cost around $10.
- You have options: Government hospitals are the cheapest option for healthcare, but are typically flooded with people from smaller surrounding cities. Private hospitals offer luxury, privacy and the best care for the price.
- It’s convenient: Pharmacists (also known as a chemist) have shops open just about everywhere. Unlike other parts of the world, it’s easier, cheaper and more convenient to get the medicine you need without seeing a doctor. A bottle of name brand cough syrup can cost about $6.
The average cost of entertainment in Kathmandu
Entertainment is abundant in this Nepali metropolitan city, and at a reasonable cost. A ticket to the movie theater costs about $3 per person, while a ticket to a performing arts theater can cost about $5 per person.
If you like the club scene, a cocktail at a local club can cost roughly $6.80 while a beer can cost about $3.25.
Dinner at a fancy restaurant in the same neighborhood will cost about $32 for 2 people.
Study abroad in Kathmandu: The cost of education
Studying abroad in Kathmandu is not as common as other parts of the world, but it’s an experience well worth the price.
Private universities are the preferred choice of expats, as public colleges tend to be overcrowded and the education quality falls far below Western standards.
At a local Kathmandu college, a Bachelor of Computer Science costs around $680 per year. At a similar college in Kathmandu, a Bachelor of Business will cost about $205 per year.