Payment in hotels, travel / trekking agencies, and airlines are made in foreign exchange. Credit cards like American Express, Master and Visa are accepted at major hotels, shops, and restaurants. Remember to keep your foreign exchange encashment receipt while making foreign exchange payments or transferring foreign currency into Nepali rupees. The receipts may be needed to change left-over Nepali currency into hard currency before leaving the country. However, only 10 percent of the total amount may be converted by the bank. ATM is widely in use in major cities.
Major banks, hotels and exchange counters at Tribhuvan International Airport provide services for exchanging foreign currency.Exchange rates are published in English dailies such as The Rising Nepal, The Kathmandu Post and The Himalayan Times. Nepali currency notes are found in denominations of Rupees 1000, 500, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1. Coins are found in denominations of Rupees 5, 2 and 1. One rupee equals 100 paisa.
Foreign currencies must be exchanged only through banks or authorized foreign exchange dealers. The receipts from such transaction are to be obtained and retained. Visitors can exchange money at the foreign exchange counter at the airport upon arrival also.
The mainstream banks in Kathmandu and Pokhara all have a cash machine where you fill your wallet 24 hours a day using your normal bankcard or Master Card / Visa. Banks have cash machines, though we would recommend only using these machines during bank opening hours so as not to run the risk of losing your card if the system crashes.
Banks in Kathmandu Valley are open between 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. from Sunday through Friday. They are closed on Saturdays and other public holidays. In other places banks are open from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. from Sunday to Friday and are closed on Saturdays and government holidays. ATM machines are located in many banks in the capital. Money can be transferred from other parts of the world from the numerous transfer agencies in the capital.
NOTE FOR TRAVELERS FROM INDIA / VIA INDIA!
Indian currency notes 500 and 1,000 are illegal in Nepal. It is a crime to deal with these notes. Indian currency of Rs.500 and Rs.1, 000 bills are not allowed to be brought into Nepal. They will not be exchanged and will not be accepted for transaction of any kind.