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Currency Exchange

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Using banks in Nepal is, by South Asian standards, surprisingly hassle-free. Numerous private banks and two quasi-government ones (Nepal Bank and Rastriya Banijya Bank) all vie for tourists' business, as do a horde of government-registered moneychangers . The government banks give slightly better rates and/or charge less commission than the private ones. The private banks and moneychangers offer very similar rates once you've factored in commissions, which vary considerably, but some work out better for large transactions, others for small ones.

Moneychangers can be found wherever there are significant numbers of tourists. Private bank branches are located mainly in larger cities, with government banks typically providing the only service in smaller, untouristed places. Hours for foreign exchange vary: at least one Kathmandu airport branch operates around the clock, Nepal Bank's central Kathmandu (New Road) branch stays open seven days a week and some private banks keep extended hours, but lesser branches generally change money only Sunday to Thursday 10am-2pm, Friday 10am-noon. Specific timings are given in the guide where they're notable. Moneychangers, confined to tourist areas, keep generous hours - usually 8am-8pm, seven days a week.

Hold onto all exchange receipts, as you'll need them for changing money back when you leave. Some private banks in Kathmandu will buy rupees back, as will banks at the Kathmandu airport and at official border crossings. However, they may have trouble giving the exact change equivalent in foreign currency, and they may be able to give it only in US dollars. If you're entering India, changing NC into IC is no problem.

Edit by: DougW
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