Most countries charge their tourists more than they charge their locals for the same service – national parks pass, boat rides, hotels, flights. And doesn’t that make sense? If you live there, you should be encouraged to visit your local area. (Hello, America?) Nepal does this very well. I had a friend offer to book a hotel for me. It cost him $10 per night when he called teh front desk. What would it have cost me? $30. Same markup on domestic flights. I paid $135 to fly one way Pokhara to KTM. My Sherpa guide who sat next to me paid $35. Most Nepalis agree that this markup is a bit outrageous, but when you consider the income of the locals, I really don’t think so.
I was walking down the street in Thamel with a friend last night and ducked into a shop where I saw something I wanted. I asked (in Nepali) how much it cost, he said 400, and told him it was a good price when he replied. Then my friend wandered up behind me and the shopkeeper recognized him. They shook hands and went high-speed Nepali chatter like usual. “You only pay 300 because this shopkeeper is a friend of mine.” Yeah, it works that way too. It really depends on who’s asking.