A smallish shop specializing in teas and coffee and packaged spices in Thamel/Chhetrapati - a bit away from the crowds in the central area. A very good selection of teas and coffees. I still recommend the one down in Basantapur, Nepal Tea House, but if you do not have the time, the prices and quality at Buddha Tea Shop are also ok, even if geared mostly toward tourists.
What to buy: I found the selection and quality of green teas to be good, in particular.
What to pay: From 300 rupees to 9.000 per kilo, depending on type and quality. The latter price for Nepalese white tea.
Unique Money Changer is not particularily Unique, but they are conveniently located near the entrances of Summit and Greenwich hotels in Kupondole. Fast, efficient and good service with a smile.. They do Western Union transfers, too.
What to pay: Good echange rates, low commissions.
This shop is owned by Mr. Chandra Jewan Shahi and the shop is styled and decorated by an elderly English Lady Mrs. Angela Durose from Northern England, who has made this her home for the last three years. The shop sells maps, curios, flags, posters, stickers etc. Mrs. Durose has been nurturing this pace like her own son. Though there are not much buyers these days but I found the prices are very reasonable almost half the price from Thamel shops. The posters I bought here for only Rs.125/-NPR are priced at Rs280/- NPR in Thamel area. Mrs. Durose also assist Mr.Chandra to run the shop.
I strongly recommend this shop for real value for money.
What to buy: Curios, Posters, Flags, Key Rings, Maps etc.
What to pay: Reasonable.
A small exhibition/art gallert one level up from the street in Thamel. Doesn't really distinguish itself from many similar shops around there except for the wide open front and sometimes very large paintings seen from the street.
The painter/artist is Raju Manandhar.
I bought a large Tharu dance motif. Very nice, has gotten many compliments from visitors at home. It may be something off a postcard, but never mind, it is lively, artsy, recognizeable and with colors that act as a polka dot in my place.
What to buy: Landscapes, folklorish motives, city motives. They will probably paint according to order, too.
What to pay: Not cheap, but you will find that the frame may cost more when you live in Northern Europe....
It is all in the eye of the beholder....
If you need trekking maps and overview maps, postcards and some books on geography, the Himalayan Map House down the street from KTM Guest House (near Third Eye, opposite side) may have what you are looking for. a wide selection, but if you need the 1:50.000 maps you will still have to go Thapathali to get them.
Friendly service, easy layout of the shop.
The Himalayan Map house is also a publishing company, producing maps and other things.
What to buy: Wide selection of maps and post cards.
I go here to shop shawls and woolen sweaters, scarves, mufflers etc. for fiends and myself. I was never dissatisfied after coming out of this shop.
What to buy: Good quality pashmina shawls, pure or mixed with silk.
Woolen sweaters and other garments made of fine wool.
What to pay: 100% Pashmina shawl full size 2500-3200 NPR
70/30 pashmina/silk 1800-2800
I put this tip under "art"... It may you like chrystals (mainly quartz) from a geological point of view or a by far more esoteric one; who cares, this shop had a good selection of fine chrystals. I thought they were nice, anyway, but i will leave to an expert to judge...
What to buy: Small and large chrystals, some set in jewellry metal. some real big and colored ones, too, blueish, pink and smoke quartz.
What to pay: Variable depending on size, quality and your ability to negotiate...
As a 5 starred hotel, Yak and Yeti has a corridor full of jewelers. Some of them were Muslim and they understood that we were from Turkey (it was a religious holiday season). They offered us special prices but even a special price was over my budget here. They had so many amazing gemstones that I’ve never seen before. There is no harm in looking, but beware of the jewelers. They are good at catching people.
What to buy: They have an amazing collection of precious stones.
What to pay: Too much
Kathmandu is a great place to shop for clothes. A large variety of clothes can be bought. The alleys around Indra Chowk, between Thamel and Durbar square, have dozens of fabric shops and tailors.
When buying clothes, anything from T-shirts to trousers, do fit them before buying. I found that the sizes are not what we are use to and does not say much about the real size of the piece of clothing. If you buy a shirt marked L, another L shirt in the same shop might not fit.
What to pay: Haggle
Mithila Art or Madhubani art is also one of the better buys. Mithila is now located in the State of Bihar, India and is very famous for its typical style of Art and Painting. If you buy something from them it will be helping a poor artisan as well as good buy for your house. You can buy a decoration piece, a mirror, a painting, or so on. Look at the photographs in detail for selection of article.
A word of caution: Please bargain for the correct price. Start with 30% price of what they quote you will settle at some point. Please remember these shops are not owned by the artisans but the businessman who is there to make profit. They buy the articles from the poor artisans and then make the killing. So remember whatever you do to help only a fraction of the amount will go to the artisans.
What to buy:
Nepal is known for its pashminas - they are much cheaper than anywhere else in the world.
There are many different kinds of pashminas - ranging from poor to high quality. Water pashminas are not high quality but are lighter and cheaper. Another type of pashmina is a mix of silk and pashmina (70/30).
What to pay: The high quality - double layer pashminas are about $40-50 USD - depending on the number of pashminas you purchase and your negotiating skills - note that 100% high quality pashminas can easily run over $200 outside of Nepal.
The Nepalese Madal is a unique Drum you can buy for your friends or yourself. It is unique in nature and sounds sweet. Try to hear some Nepalese folk song and you will find extensive use of Maadal! Also featuring Spanish or Hawaian Guiter, you can also buy for yourself as they are very cheap compared to west about 1/10 th of the price and sounds well!
Please go in for bargain in Thamel area as the shopkeepers of Thamel area do not like Nepalese people as their customer as they feel Nepalese people would pay only genuine price, where as an westerner will pay them ten times more since he does not know the real price! Bravo!
What to pay: Madal would be available for Rs 300 -400 and Guiter for Rs.1500- 5000! A bargain indeed.
Once in Nepal, you will always find that Nepalese women are very beautiful and wear colourful dress and simple jewellery. Almost 90% women wear Potha or Pothi ( See picture women wearing Tiluri of different colours). This is popular among married women, who wear it as a symbol of their marriage and long life for husband.
These are made of simple plastic beads and sometimes it is locked with Tilhari or Tiluri, a drum type ornament made of either brass or those who can afford make it with gold.
You may try it , may be for party wear or just as souvenier. You may also try it when you have the opportunity to wear Asian dress. It goes well with Sari or any Asian dress!
What to pay: This is very cheap comes for Rs.50 to Rs.1000/- ( USD 1 to USD 20) depending on the quality.
Though the city of Kathmandu has shopping malls everywhere but the oldest and the best shopping area remains in New Road. It is very popular with Nepali and Indian people. You get right from expensive cameras, watches, clothes, jewellery to tailors to stitch your suit in 24-48 hrs! Just try or have stroll in the evening when you have nothing to do.
You find hand embroidered T shirs or other garments very attractive buy in Kathmandu. This is worth buying and the process takes about half a hour to about an hour by an expert using a Stencil. They are mostly Moslem artisans from State of Bihar, India. You just select the design and they will make it a ziff. You can watch them making it very fast. We bought three T. Shirts.
What to pay: They will ask for sky but will settle for much less. The T shirt I am wearing was quoted for Rs.450/- or 11 USD but I paid only Rs.100/- or USD 1.25.
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