Traveling in Kathmandu Got More Expensive: Fuel Crisis in Nepal

Flying to Kathmandu we were told that getting a taxi from the airport to Thamel used to cost around 500 Nepalese rupees (NPR), but since India blocked the fuel transports to Nepal, the prices get as high as 2000 NPR – that’s nearly $19 for 6 km ride. We wanted to walk, as we usually do, but the girl we spoke to, who has been living in Kathmandu for the past 6 years, said it may be dangerous to do so at night (she said that there’s an increasing number of people who are desperate for money).

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Since late September 2015 Nepal is unable to import sufficient fuel to enable people to live normal lives and recover from a recent earthquake. It is due to “alleged” Indian blockade of petrol and gas transports to this land-locked country. The only other country from which Nepal can source petrol is China, but the 2015 earthquake, and continues landslides that followed, severed the roads that connect the two countries. China is doing its best to deliver on the promise to supply one third of Nepal’s fuel demand, but as of January 2016, there’s still a big gap between supply and demand, which created a fuel black-market with inflated prices paid by locals.

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Don’t be surprised or angry if you are asked to pay more than you have read on the internet. The prices went up for locals and they have to pass it onto their customers. If you are on a tight budget, an alternative to taxis would be hiring a motorbike. We rented one for 600 NPR a day ($5.5) and a black-market petrol costs around 300 NPR per litre ($2.75).

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Now, locals working in nearly every industry have to pay higher prices, wait in line for days for the normal price, or go about their business without fuel. It’s not only drivers that suffer from this, restaurants need gas to cook, hotels need it to warm the rooms, power stations do not have sufficient supply to power households around the clock. Nearly everyone is affected. Nepali people and economy, which were recently struck hard by the earthquake, are further denied the opportunity to stand back up. Even though it is harder and more expensive to travel to Nepal, it is the best possible moment to go and help support the amazing people of Nepal. You don’t need to volunteer, you just need to go and support at least the travel industry as a consumer.

Please share this article to help Nepali people.

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About Agness

Travel freak, vagabond, photography passionate, blogger, life enthusiast, backpacker, adventure hunter and endless energy couchsurfer living by the rule "Pack lite, travel far and live long!"


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24 Comments

  • I remember watching American news and they all talked about when the earthquake hit, how many people died/were injured, and what history sites were ruined. That sort of thing. Yet I haven’t heard a peep on how they’re recovering and what the government is doing to try to fix the damages (sensationalism at it’s finest if you ask me). It’s great to read an update like this. Thank you!

  • I’ll be sharing this so that I can help. At least one friend (Ben from Best Life In The World) who has been there recently says we should… so when’s your turn? :)

  • Hi guys! Glad that you made it to Nepal. Unfortunately, the situation has been very tough due to the Indian blockade since months now.. I look forward to reading more about the travel here!

  • I visited Nepal in the early days of the fuel strike (November) and prices were already pretty inflated – we paid 1300 from the airport to Thamel. Many restaurants were unable to serve full menus and travelling anywhere was almost twice the price. I really hope that the blockade ends soon.

    • It’s getting worse these days, unfortunately. Let’s hope the situation will get better in the upcoming months.

  • Bardzo cenny post, jeśli ktoś się wybiera w tamte rejony, bo w internecie jest wciąż wiele informacji sprzed trzęsienia ziemi i wydaje się, że ceny są tam dostępne.

    • Zgadzamy się, a że akurat stamtąd wracamy to postanowiliśmy podzielić się notką jak najszybciej. Pozdrawiamy!

  • I heard about the Nepalese fuel crisis earlier through the German media and it made me super-sad. To read about the effects on blog makes it even more depressing. India should really stop blocking the fuel transports to Nepal. I spent five and a half days in Kathmandu and the Kathmandu valley at the end of my Tibet trip in August 2010 and since we travelled all the way from Lhasa to Kathmandu overland I can imagine how hard it must be to deliver the necessary amount of fuel and gas that way when parts of the road are blocked. Nepal is such a beautiful country and the locals hospitable and heart warming.

    • We totally agree, Vanessa. It was heart-breaking to see how Nepali people were struggling with daily activities due to lack of the petrol.

  • Thanks for the info update. I was unaware of the Nepalese fuel crisis. I don’t understand why India would do this.

  • This is such a shame for Nepal to have to go through this after everything that happened with the earthquake. Perhaps now more than ever, they need support from the tourism industry.

  • Thanks for a great sharing! I got a lot of useful information after reading your post about things to do in Dubai like the shape of island! It is really amazing country! I hope one day I can enjoy the beauty of this country.

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