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The traveler sees what he sees. The tourist sees what he has come to see. ~G.K. Chesterton

Couchsurfing in Kathmandu

NEPAL | Saturday, 7 May 2011 | Views [2237] | Comments [1]

Well, what to say. Couchsurfing is the way to travel when you are a budget traveler. Though, now I really wander is it worth couchsurfing Kathmandu, where accommodation can cost as little as 250 rupees a day (2,5 EUR). Yes, it's still worth it if you want to have someone to show you around for the first couple of day since Kathmandu can be really chaotic. Plus, it's a very nice introduction to Nepali culture if this is your first time Nepal. So Couchsurfing is worth for cultural experience part, but not worth if only trying to be economical. 

      However, there is one thing to keep in mind when couchsurfing Kathmandu. It's apparently common knowledge, but in my experience, I didn't know it at the time. Couchsurfing is business in Katmandu. Of course, it's not a rule, but it's quite common. Many of the host own some kind of "trekking agency". Which is not necessarily "western type agency", but they are still able to offer you very unorganized trekking, rafting, kayaking, various day-trips etc. Therefor, after spending couple of days at your couchurfing host's house (sleeping, eating, touring with them, drinking) one will eventually feel very grateful towards the hosts. This is the time, if your about to chose an agency for trekking or some kind of tourist activity where you will rather choose your host's agency then some other. This is at least the way I felt at the time, but talking to some other travelers I've found out that is quite common mistake. In this situation you are in no position to bargain or set conditions, after all they've been so kind to you in last couple of days.  I end up overpaying, taking agency for sth I did not need, and cancelling all of that with quite high cancellation fee.

Let's put it this way: use couchsurfing, but do not take advice when it comes to any kind of tourist activities. If you need advice, find other travelers which are everywhere around Thamel and ask someone who did it very recently ( ask couple of them ). Most of the ppl will be more than ready to help you.  Asking Nepali ppl, I haven't found very useful, since they are not the one who use tourist services, and they look at Westerns as someone who is able to pay high prices (read: price is not a problem).

   First time, first day Nepal, you will most likely end overpaying for something, so try avoiding any bigger shopping in the first week. Ask around, and never admit to shopkeepers that you've just arrived (and they WILL ask you). Newcomers are like a goldmine for shopkeepers and tour operators. Here are some prices you want to be paying: cheap hotel - 250 - 300 rupees (2,5 - 3 EUR) per person for a room without bathroom ("Annapurna guest house" and "Pilgrims" are good rate of price and quality), 400 rupees(4 EUR) for a taxi from airport to Thamel (tourist area), 80 rupees (0.80 EUR) for one hour of internet ( you can find cheaper, but this is good price), 600 rupees yak wool blanket...etc.  These are just examples, but remember, keep bargain until you get it your way. Don't bother walking away to find price and offer which fits you, and don't be discouraged putting the first price in half or even less. It's simply the way it works. 

These are just couple of tips I wish I knew when I first arrived in Kathmandu.

Tags: couchsurfing, kathmandu, prices

Comments

1

useful information, thanks a lot for posting this! I plan to go next summer so this would be handy.

  Linh/ vietnam May 28, 2013 1:49 PM

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