I had written a post here sometimes back. The post was titled as “India and Foreign Currency Conversion”. There, in that post, I had promised at the bottom of the post that I would write something about Foreign Currency issues and conversion related matters on coming days.
Therefore, here it goes-something about Nepal and Nepal’s foreign currency related laws. First of all, to be frank with you, I do not know anything about foreign currency law of Nepal. So, what I am going to write is my experience of almost six years back. This issue is being talked here in the light of difficulties that we face in India to convert your Indian money to foreign currency from Nationalised or Private Banks. If you have already read my earlier post about India, You will know by this time that it is very very easy to get your Indian currency converted to US Dollar or other recognised foreign currency in private open market albeit the rate might be different from what Reserve Bank of India would prescribe.
In this background note, I am talking experience from Nepal. The story is of 2003 June. First time, I was on a foreign tour/trip. For the first time, I was stepping out of my country and was heading to foreign territory. The Country of destination was India :), the foreign land where I was venturing to.
I knew that Nepalese Currency is of no use in India. I required either Indian currency or USD or something like that. At that time, I did not know much about forex law of Nepal and how to get foreign currency. First of all, I was not sure which currency to get or some kind of cards.
Problem in Nepal is that Rs. 500, and Rs. 1000 currency notes of India are not legally recognized. So, if I wanted those notes, I had to contact some businessmen of Terai and I did not have much time to do so. Another problem was that I did not want to do something illegal which may put me in some kind of trouble in the Airport-Tribhuwan International Airport. Now, legally, the problem was that I could get only Rs. 100 Indian currency and at that time, I was carrying something around 50,000 INR. First time, I was travelling to India and I did not know how much money I need and to get 100 Rs. currency note for that amount would make me to carry a big bunch of papers. I was little irritated with this idea.
My brother had suggested me to make Traveller’s Cheque, which he himself did not know what was that and neither I had any damn idea of what’s that. I thought I should contact with Bank people itself. Then, I visited to Everest Bank, in New Baneshwor where I had maintained my Savings Accounts at that time. I went to Bank told them that I am going to India and asked them to suggest what is the best method to carry some money.
They had only one suggestion-get Indian currency from us and go. I inquired about Traveller’s Cheque, Debit and Credit Card. They had low opinion about India and said me it’s not worth of doing any such things. They asked me about the city where I am heading to, and I said Hyderabad. From their facial expression that they had very low opinion about Hyderabad and in a manner of contempt to this place, said there it will be difficult for you if you do not have hard cash. I myself, did not know much about this place, and did what they suggested. I gave my Nepalese Currency and they gave Indian Currency-bunch of INR 100. The conversion rate was same as it is today as Nepalese currency is pegged with Indian Currency. N I headed to India with inner pockets of pants and shirts filled with Indian currency bunch.
In Nepal’s International Airport, while frisking my body, a policeman asked what’s there? I said-money, Indian Currency. He further said that he does not think that I have 500 INR currency note and I affirmed his thoughts. He said me to move and I moved. That’s all about my experience.
Now, let me add little more of my story before I conclude this. That day, the trip was in many ways a new for me. First foreign trip as already said, first time, I went to any International Airport and first time, I was traveling by Plane, among others. My sister Minu and Brother Rewati Raman Pokhrel came to Airport to see me off. We used to stay in Babarmahal Area and we took bus. There was no need of taking taxi. My sister had recently passed Nepal Telecommunication’s Exam and she had training in Kathmandu at that time. She skipped the half’s day training and came to see me off.
I will write more on this later. Keep on reading !!!