Moving to Nepal...a bit terrified


I am moving from Toronto to Lalipatur, Nepal for 10 months.
I have no idea what to expect.
I'll be there to volunteer but will have a stipend to live on. I have to find my own accomodations.

My questions...

How is internet access there?
How cheap is it to live? What should I expect to pay for rent?
Is it safe?
Are there gyms? I can't imagine jogging outdoors there...
Are there a lot of expats there, or mostly in Kathmandu?
Cell phone service?
Travel within the city?


Any help, please?!



I have some experience with Nepal...been there 4 times so far...a very exciting place!

I can offer some advice ref your questions:

1. Internet access - there are internet cafe's all over the city. You should have no problem with internet access. However there may be what is called load shedding. There is a electricity shortage in Kathmandu so you may have to schedule your day around the power outages.
2. Living Expenses - this can vary depending on how basic you want to live and how much you want to spend on food. Once you get settled in and make some contacts (make sure there good contacts) you may find ways to decrease your rental expenses.
3. Is it safe? - Like any large city anywhere in the world use common sense, don't trust strangers, don't wander out after dark alone, keep a mobile phone with you and know the number for police, hospital and taxi. There is no reliable ambulance service...Talk to the locals and get a feel for your neighbourhood.
4. A lot of Expats....sorry I don't know about that one...
5. Cell Phone Service - everyone has a cell phone...the service is very good.
6. Travel within the city - again depends on how much you want to spend...there are buses, tuk-tuks, taxi's. For the taxi's always agree on a price before you get in. There are also rental places if you want to have your own motorbike for a few days.

Hope this helps...

Have a great time in Nepal!

Ontario, Canada

There are gyms, but you will probably find a nice jogging area. Everyone will look at you anyway, so just smile and wave. They always look at white people, first the face and then the feet to make sure you are really that white all the way through. During one of the festivals a young boy looked at me and said, 'you are very white.' I agreed and smiled, but they are fascinated with us.

To give you an example of the price to live here, I have a huge, lovely, very western lay-out apartment 2 bath/3 bedrooms for $200 in Bhaktapur. But you could do about half that outside the valley, but I have my own furniture. I've seen some rentals advertised for furnished apartments that they want a lot more for.

For some information on life in the Kathmandu Valley take a look at my blog There are a few other blogs that are not strictly about trekking, but I haven't seen any with the theme of living here on the cheap like mine. It will help you to get a feel for life here.

Thanks. I have actually been taking a look numerous times on your blog but am unable to access the e-book you are working on.
Well I don't know how easy it is to get around there...but the organization I will be working with is located in Lalitpur, so I assume it is around there that I will be looking for a place, but I have no idea how easy it is to get to other towns.

In terms of packing, as I am going for nearly a year...should I bother bringing a winter jacket, duvet, etc. or get that all there? 
It's the packing that I am most concerned about as I have no clue what to bring and to leave.

Thanks again for your assistance, everyone! :)


I've been living in Kathmandu on a tourist visa for the last 5 months and I'm planning on getting a business visa so I can stay here longer. So I think I can help you out a little.

Internet Access: Cyber Cafes are common. That's how many locals access the internet as they can't afford the computer. Outside of touristy areas, prices can be as low as 25 cents an hour. Most of the time it is around 50 cents per hour. If you are planning on bringing a laptop or something, look into getting a Broadlink account.

Here's a website with cost of living expenses...

Rent: Depends on the area. I'm currently looking at finding an apartment. Prices obviously vary depending on the suburb. Just be aware that you will probably have to put renovate a little. Carpet, paint job, hot water systems etc. So you will have to spend some time and money before it is liveable.

I find Nepal safe, but I'm a 6 foot "giant". The average height over here is around 5 foot 3 inches. (moderated). However, a girl may find things a little different. My advice is to just be wary. Don't give your number out to anyone you don't trust. Be careful on buses and just use common sense.

There are a few gyms, but I only know of one foreigner who has gone to one. She walked in and it was full of Nepalese men who immediately started staring at her. So she left intimidated. Maybe you would have better luck.

Jogging around the city is pretty much impossible as the sidewalks are uneven. You would just be a sprained ankle waiting to happen. However, you might find somewhere a little bit out of the city. I don't know I haven't tried. I'm not a fitness freak.

There are a few expats. I've met a couple and they are all really friendly. (moderated: no generalised comment here). So you should be able to meet people easily. A lot get in touch with people using forums.

For cell phones: I bought a knock off Nokia for $25 and have a pre-paid NCELL (they are a Finnish/Swedish owned telecommunications company) simcard and never had a problem. Coverage has been great.

Travelling around the city is trial and error. It helps if you get shown where the buses and everything run. Also, 500 rupees ($6) is the max for a one way taxi trip anywhere in the city. I don't let the cab drivers charge me more. Hopefully, the organisation you are working for will show you around.

Weather in Kathmandu at the monent is around 35 degrees C during the day. However, monsoon season is coming up and a good umbrella here is hard to find. So pack a raincoat as well. In December, the nights were getting below 0 degrees celsius and the concrete houses make it even colder. You can get plenty of woolen clothing items here dirt cheap though. So scarves and beanies I would leave at home and buy here.

Also, don't be shocked if your house doesn't have a functioning washing machine. I was washing my clothes by hand for 3 months and then my hosts hired a washing lady. She usually charges me $2-3 a load. There are also laundry services that do washing for 50 rupees a kilo.

We also have power outages here. Depending on what the government and power company feel like doing, these range between 6 and 14 hours a day. This is obviously a disadvantage. For example, if you have to straighten your hair every morning, you won't be able to do it certain mornings because there will be no electricity to power your hair straightener. So this can become very frustrating. Although, having candlelight dinners for most nights in the week is pretty cool.

If you have any more questions don't be afraid to ask.

My book still isn't quite up online. It is a ridiculous situation in that it just doesn't want to get up there. Give me another day or two.

On your first post I think you misspelled the town. You will be in the city. There are some parks that I've seen people jogging in, but the city is in the lowest part of the valley and is quite polluted.

If I knew I'd be here like this I would have brought a reverse osmosis water filter system from home. They are available but more expensive and I don't know about the quality. But that was in the fall when I looked and every month Kathmandu gets a little closer to the west. Things like this are more expensive, except for possibly things in solar technology. 

It gets damp and cold in the winter, but you can have a nice down comforter made for about $50-60 with good quality down. I have a good merchant for this in my merchant directory that I'm working on to go with the book. I make no guarantees on these merchants; they are only suggestions. Customer service is pretty laughable here.   

I hope this helps with some of your questions.


ayesha87 wrote:

Thanks. I have actually been taking a look numerous times on your blog but am unable to access the e-book you are working on.
Well I don't know how easy it is to get around there...but the organization I will be working with is located in Lalitpur, so I assume it is around there that I will be looking for a place, but I have no idea how easy it is to get to other towns.

In terms of packing, as I am going for nearly a year...should I bother bringing a winter jacket, duvet, etc. or get that all there? 
It's the packing that I am most concerned about as I have no clue what to bring and to leave.

Thanks again for your assistance, everyone! :)

Nepal is not in the best of situations at the moment. Have ever been? be prepared for some shocking cultural distinctions, such as  , Nepal is one of the top 3 poorest countries in the World, yet one of the most beautiful. Right now , during the Bandha, Kathmandu IS NOT the happiest place to be, and with these bandhas happening , nepal will stay as one of the poorest countries and politically torn due to uneducated groups shutting business down for their own ambitions.

At the moment I would have to say it's not the best place to be, the internet is intermittant at best. Load shedding is a serious depravity for all citizens, and really sucks when you need to charge your lap top, cell phone and need light..

Also food and fuel prices keep surging. Making transporation more expensive. watch out for the exhorbant taxi drivers.. use meters, or better yet, just walk.
Do not kid yourself into thinking your moving to a nice peaceful buddhist country. THere is still plenty of violence and now curfews will be imposed.. this is no way to treat your citizens.

You can hire a servant to do your laundry for cheaper than a shop. This helps poor families. I am not talking about having a kid do it either.... anyway,Nepal is in a dire place now , but I would suffice to say, it's still a wonderful place to be sometimes as long as you can get out of KTM..

BTW I live in Banasthali and have Nepali wife and a house. I have lived here for the last 15 years off and on.

I am living in Swayambhu and it is very affordable.  Internet access is only a problem in Kathmandu during load shedding and you can get a contract for your own connection relatively cheaply.  However, do not expect the kind of speeds you get in the west.

Aslong as you do not live in one of the more expensive areas, then you can get a decent appartment for around 8k rupee per month (around 70 pound sterling).

As for safety, everyone else has summed it up, I would say it is safer than any capital in the west, but you still need to keep your wits about you.

There are Gyms but all the ones I have seen are for body building, not fitness and you may not be comfortable working out amongst a load of repressed young Nepali men.

My friend jogs everyday in Kathmandu, but you would have to be selective of where you jog, not many streets outside of the expensive areas are in good condition.

There are a number of expats here, but I tend to avoid them, I like Nepal for its culture and people so I choose to socialise with Nepalese people mostly.

Cell phone service is OK, but not quite at a western standard.  As for travel around the city, its pretty easy and as you are fit you will be able to walk most places which is easy enough.  It only takes about 2hrs to cross the city by foot really.

As someone stated there are bandhs at the moment, which are a pain.  However I do not view it with some backward colonial attitude.  I am happy living cheaply through the general strike if it means the people get to voice their concerns, would rather that than live amongst a load of hapless apathetic idiots that dont dare act against their government.

As a teacher I respect that the under-educated need to demand an education for themselves.  Also I know many highly educated people leading some of these bandhs.

Hi, I am living in Nepal since more than twenty years andI am counting the months until I can leave. The loadsheddings rise up to 14 to 16 hours during dry season, nothing against candle light dinner - but permanent candle light cooking is not much fun.
In many areas of Kathmandu water is not available (that applies also to Lalitpur-I am living there) and a tank truck needs to be ordered regularly. If there is strike or petrol shortage, one has to wait for a couple of days until the truck can come. Gas shortage is there since nearly four months (I am running on my last cylinder now), more political unrest may come up in near future, but who knows?

Nepal has definitely natural beauties - but to go to Pokhara for example, 200 km far only, the bus needs 6 to 7 hours.One can go by plane of course,but the small planes fly without radar, not advisable during monsoon.

Living costs are increasing nearly daily, also costs for petrol, gas etc. rent isdepending on the area, small houses are generally not available for rent, mostly big houses (from 500 to 600 Euro onwards) or appartments.

Hope my infos does hel p a little to get an overview.

When it comes to finding a nice, inexpensive place to live in the Kathmandu area I would suggest coming out of KTM just a bit and get a place at a higher elevation. It will be cooler in the summer and with cleaner air. It's a pretty small valley compared to many metro areas.

The rents are really high in places like Patan, where all the expats live. I live more like the Nepali in some ways. But there are many roommate situations you can start with. I wouldn't do anything long term until you are here a couple months.

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forget the gym, ....

Hi Captain Greg,

Note that this thread is quite old (2012), perhaps you could participate on recent threads of the Nepal forum.

Thank you