39 responses

  1. Anna’s World
    November 12, 2012

    It continues to amaze me how little some people in the world live on. Not sure how I would cope.

    • Dave from The Longest Way Home
      November 21, 2012

      One learns to live on less. If you are born into less, it’s rare to know what “more” is.

      • Bijay
        August 21, 2013

        I am totally agree with the opinion of Mr. Dave.So true!

    • Bijay
      August 21, 2013

      Dear Anna, i am from NEPAL. If i were in your place and you in mine, maybe i also would have a question like yours! The life here is far more better than that it was earlier. It is sometimes believed that there are creatures on the other planets out there in the space, much developed and civilized that our earth, who knows if they pity over the life of Americans and Europeans!

    • Joanne
      October 28, 2013

      Great article ! Makes one appreciate what they have, and again the wisdom of growing your own produce for health and financial sense.

  2. Emma
    November 12, 2012

    Great article Dave. I’d like to see you write something similar about the state of US earnings!

    • Dave from The Longest Way Home
      November 21, 2012

      That would have to be a two-part post! ;)

  3. Christine |GrrrlTraveler
    November 12, 2012

    Good post!

    Shocking …but not surprising. I guess through travel you really discover how there are many cultures/families out there who don’t have an income but live off of the land. It’s amazing that they can produce enough to get by. U.N. & expat salaries, no shocker there- westerners can’t cope in a similar fashion and somehow, they always squeeze a better deal out of the situation. Hardly seems fair. =(

    • Dave from The Longest Way Home
      November 21, 2012

      Thanks Christine. UN, diplomatic & expat salaries are generally so large it’s more than they’d earn at home. Hence the take the positions. While expat private business is one thing. Diplomatic and Humanitarian profiting is something else.

  4. Anamika
    November 12, 2012

    Thank you for sharing this eye opening and informative article! It’s true that most third world country lives with just around $1 per day. It’s time to let other people see this situation! :(

    • Dave from The Longest Way Home
      November 21, 2012

      Thank you, just a shame most people don’t want to see this!

  5. Jim
    November 12, 2012

    Interesting read, though I’m not sure what Nepal’s politicians will make of it! I’ve been following their lack of progress since the revolution. Your past article on the caste system there sums it up nicely with this. No wonder they don’t want to leave office. When they do it is just to create a new party with the same old people. A vicious circle that doesn’t see any end. I suspect it will end in a second revolution or a return of the monarchy. I’d vote for the monarchy at this stage even though current king is straw short of a full bale.

    • Dave from The Longest Way Home
      November 21, 2012

      It’s true Jim, the parties just change names here. Same old people from the same castes. It’s up to the Nepalese people at the end of the day. Just sad to see people down trodden to the point of saying there’s nothing they can do.

  6. Laura
    November 13, 2012

    I remember when I first met some UN workers in East Africa and was astounded by the salaries. One guy was a filmmaker from Los Angeles who basically took an archiving job in Tanzania and said his salary was 2.5 times that of his salary in LA! And I imagine cost of living is about 1/10th.

    • Dave from The Longest Way Home
      November 21, 2012

      Very glad that you mentioned that Laura, thank you. Yes I’ve met diplomats and expats who also take jobs in “developing” countries because of all the “perks.” There seems to be no accountability.

  7. Mark
    November 13, 2012

    You could take this in a western perspective too. How much do we really know about our Senators, Governors or civil service pay packets.

    I remember working (briefly) in government. There were no issues taking the odd “expenses” paid lunch etc. After all, “we deserve it and it’s work related”.

    • Dave from The Longest Way Home
      November 21, 2012

      Yes, it’s hard to find these details out in the west too. Problem comes when people say they don’t publish them due to privacy or security issues.

  8. Clay
    November 14, 2012

    Thank you for gathering and sharing these pieces of information! I’m amazed to see such simple living conditions in Nepal while people there often seem much happier than the wealthiest countries’ inhabitants…

    • Dave from The Longest Way Home
      November 21, 2012

      Met a man in Pakistan who said “It’s the man who knows nothing that is happier than the man who knows everything”

      • Sange
        January 17, 2013

        I like the quote. and so true too.

  9. brandy bell
    December 24, 2012

    wow- what an eye opening post. thank you for bringing this to our attention… I am hoping to visit Nepal this summer and will make sure I take extra time and attention to find out how I can give back to communities meaningfully while traveling through the country. Thank you again!

  10. Patrick
    January 11, 2013

    Great post. Am about to do the Everest 3-passes trek here so it is good to read this first.

  11. Kumar kancho
    January 30, 2013

    Every thing above is fact and im proud to say im Nepalese
    Lots of people are poor but they r not under pressure of any thing
    Nepal is undeveloped bcoz of deplomatic people like people from
    The upperlevel..and will never develope
    And im in US since 2010 finally what i knew with in three years
    is that the life of Nepal
    Is much happier then in US though nepal is poor im comming back soon……

  12. Anthony
    February 26, 2013

    Unfortunately, this is the way most of the world lives. Can be quite confronting for some Westerners!

  13. Navin
    March 28, 2013

    it’s an awesome post. A person outside from Nepal can have a rough idea on how much person in Nepal earns and cost of visiting Nepal.

  14. Shub
    April 5, 2013

    Hi Dave,

    This is quite an interesting article. I am a Nepali girl studying at a top-notch-hyper-expensive university in the US with the constant guilt that some weeks I spend more money on books than the GDP of my country! I totally agree with your point that wealth distribution starts at zero in Nepal– and its quite ironic that I understood how poor my country is recently as I was working for a group project where my study base was Rolpa, a rural district in Mid western part of Nepal. I was trying to figure out how much a person earns a month– and I was stunned to see the dollar conversions of the figures. Though I am from KTM, I have traveled across the country for interviews and what not. I am curious to understand your methodology for the study. Would you be willing to share how you came up with these figures?

    On behalf of the Nepalese, thank you for taking the time to study about our society.


    • Dave from The Longest Way Home
      April 5, 2013

      Hi Shub,

      Similar to you I’ve traveled to many parts of Nepal and indeed other countries with similar queries. Some of the costings are based on averages from major and rural areas. Others are from national daily figures that are published by the department of trade/finance. Government salaries were very difficult to get hold of with the last public publication that I could find listed as being from 2009 – if anyone has anything more recent I’d be very happy to read it.

      As you can see it’s a culmination from many different areas.

      I wouldn’t fall into the pit of guilt about spending more than Nepal’s GDP. The USA is on a different economic level to Nepal so a straight up comparison of guilt is not something I personally would dwell on. I would be more concerned with spending USA level wages and recreating a USA lifestyle within Nepal and the detrimental effect that can have on local socio-economic input.

      Thanks for stopping by and I hope you studies are going well!

  15. Jason Khadka
    April 12, 2013

    Hey Dave,

    I am really surprised to find such thorough reporting on the income status of Nepalese and also more surprised to find such a recent one. Like you, I traveled parts of Nepal learning their daily livelihood and the trade construct they live on. At this point, I would have to let you know I am a Nepali currently studying in Germany.
    Some of the figures are really surprising to me, especially as a Nepali, the salary of Prime minister is just Rs. 35000? And the expenses for his whole team is just another Rs. 200000+? May be there are more unmentioned add-ons, however, you must have easily realized the lavish lifestyle these high government official can afford. But here I would not like to go on a discussion about misuse of National wealth.
    Another thing I found surprising was the Rs. 100-150 for a taxi ride around the town. Everyone knows a cab ride from Baneshwor to Newroad (I am guessing you still remember name of some places around KTM, anyway that would be 5-7 KM) would cost at least Rs. 200-250, also considering how recent the article is. I was just trying to pull your leg there.
    I would have to say the intriguing idea that you posted in your article and I quote, “A better idea might be to improve the national education system rather than profit even more from tourism”, amazed me the most. I always believed Nepal can only benefit from the Tourism industry. Nepal lack any other resources to establish itself on the global market except sale the natural beauty of its mystifying Himalayas or also the centuries old culture and heritage.
    It might be always a good idea to improve the national educational system, especially considering more than half of the country is illiterate. But the question is where will the money for the improvement come from? We have generations of people living in foot hills of Himalayas and following traditions that is surprising in most unique of sense. And I believe if given more advertisement to it, excluding the already existing Mount Everest Image, Nepal will be able to attract double or triple the amount of tourists.
    This will increase employment and earnings for lowest of levels to the highest of entrepreneurs. The local level tea shop owner en route to Poon Hill will be able to sell tea and send his daughter to school and a Kathmandu based Trekking company will be able to hire local guides and profit from it.
    In conclusion, I believe development in tourism sector will have spin-off effect in every sector Nepal is currently lacking and only this can drive country away from this bleak reality. Also being a economist enthusiast, I cannot help but mention the law of comparative advantages and Nepal with the scenic beauty and unexplored cultures and traditions, has some serious advantage in Tourism.
    I hope you continue the wonderful research that you have been doing in Nepal and other countries, and will make more people aware internationally on where the problems for humanity actually lies.


    • Dave from The Longest Way Home
      April 19, 2013

      Hello Jason,

      Yes, I’ve mentioned additional “expenses” in terms of political earnings.

      Taxi fares are as good as the days fuel price and ones bargaining ability. I’ve seen many wealthy Nepalese students not care about the price of a fare and just throw 300 rupees at the driver.

      In terms of earning money for education through tourism. Many would argue that Nepal is suffering from too many tourists and the torque of over burdening them with costs. Think of Kathmandu Durbar Square. A main throughfare. 2007 = 200 rupees to enter or just pass through. Then 300 rupees. Now 700 rupees. Yet the development of the zone has not changed in all these years aside from some excavations. Ditto many other sites? Does this money get to education? I don’t think so.

      Think of the Annapurna Circuit now with a road nearly completed that leads around it. A terrible shame that will turn tourists around all in the name of helping people in remote villages.

      Nepal has one of the world’s largest potentials for hydro power yet it sits there unused. Coffee plantations lack support for large exports, as do apples and honey. Textiles and handicrafts are being scaled back too.

      All the potential in the world is at Nepal’s finger tips. Much like tourism was 10 years ago. The problem was money was not invested wisely and sectors like tourism have become over exploited to the point of now turning away people.

      Nepal must diversify in my opinion.

  16. shankar chaudhary
    May 6, 2013

    thanks for providing information of nepal goverment

  17. Nathan John
    June 4, 2014

    Thank you for another great article. I’m looking at teaching English for 3 months in Nepal next year as part of a long term trip I’m planning out. Your site is one of the best travel sites I’ve found.

    Could you provide any information on internet access availability? I’m guessing it’s only in the major tourist cities but cheap?


    • Dave from The Longest Way Home
      June 5, 2014

      Hi Nathan,

      Thanks for the kind words. Internet access is available in most parts of Nepal. It just depends how you define it.

      In the tourist main cities you’ll find nearly all guesthouses and hotels will have WiFi. The real problem is electricity outages and speed.

      If your guesthouse has their WiFi router plugged into their battery back up then you’ll be ok barring your own devices battery limitations.

      Speed is another issue again. Don’t be expecting to watch YouTube smoothly.

      A serious alternative is to buy a 3G sim card and use your smart phone as a WiFi router. 3G speeds currently outmatch must of the WiFi speeds in Nepal. For more you can check out my article on Mobile and WiFi access in Nepal

      Hope this helps

  18. Manika Dongol
    July 1, 2014

    Being a Nepali citizen I find it very true

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