Banking, ATMs, and Money Exchange in Upper Mustang: A Complete Guide
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Upper Mustang, one of the remote regions of Nepal, is a popular destination for trekkers and adventurers. While it is a fascinating place to visit, it is also important to know how to handle your finances in this region. In this article, we'll explore everything you need to know about banking, ATMs, and money exchange in Upper Mustang.
Local Currency in Nepal
The official currency in Nepal is the Nepalese Rupee (NPR), which is issued in bills of NPR 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, and 1000. NPR 1 and 2 are issued as coins. If you're traveling to Nepal, you'll need to exchange your currency to NPR as foreign currency is not widely accepted, especially in remote regions such as Upper Mustang.
Money Exchange in Nepal
Money exchange can be done in many places in Nepal, including Kathmandu, Pokhara, and the trail itself. However, not all currencies are exchanged in Nepal, so it's best to carry major currencies like USD and Pound Sterling with you. In Kathmandu and Pokhara, there are exchange centers, banks, and ATMs where you can exchange your money.
ATMs in Nepal
ATMs are the easiest way to exchange currencies, and they are available in almost every popular street in Kathmandu and Pokhara. However, there are only two locations with ATMs on the Upper Mustang trekking trail, which are Jomsom and Muktinath. It is important to note that each use of an ATM is charged with an exchange rate and service charge, and there is a limitation in the cash withdrawal amount from banks, approximately between USD 100 and USD 340. Some cards that are accepted include Visa and MasterCard.
Banks in Nepal
Banks in Nepal operate from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, Sunday to Thursday, and on Friday, they open between 10:00 am to 3:30 pm. On Saturdays and national holidays, the banks remain closed. However, in Thamel, the tourist hub in Kathmandu, they open late. Hotels and restaurants in Kathmandu and Pokhara accept credit cards and traveler's cheques in Pounds Sterling or USD. The cards that are accepted include Visa and MasterCard. The only place traveler's cheques can be reliably cashed in is the FOREX (Foreign Exchange) offices in Thamel.
Money Exchange in Upper Mustang
As mentioned earlier, there are only two locations with ATMs on the Upper Mustang trekking trail, which are Jomsom and Muktinath. If you're planning to go further up, there are no ATMs, but some private bank branches in Lo-Manthang. Therefore, it's always a good idea to have some cash handy.
In conclusion, handling your finances in Upper Mustang can be challenging, but with the right knowledge and preparation, you can have a stress-free trip. It is advisable to carry major currencies, exchange your money in Kathmandu or Pokhara, and have some cash handy while trekking. By following these tips, you'll be able to enjoy the beauty of Upper Mustang without any financial worries.