Thamel Area, Kathmandu
The owner of the shop, Mr Shakti, is a very nice gentleman and seems quite honest with his prices.
What to buy: The Nepalese multicoloured precious stone necklaces are nice to buy. You can only find this type of necklace in Nepal and India.
Silk bed spreads and wall hangings start at $15 USA and the pashmina shawls start at $6 USA.
What to pay: For a seven strand necklace, (approx. 325 carats) the average price can be $350.00.
There are many shops in Thamel that sell plain and embroidered pashminas and jackets.
What to buy: Some embroidered jackets are made of wool or wool mixes and some are made of raw silk. This one caught my eye!
What to pay: About 7,000 rupees (one hundred dollars)
In Thamel, you can find travel gears, accessories, clothes, laundry shops, money changers, restaurants, book shops, gifts shops, cafes, travel agents, almost everything. Dont be surprised if someone comes up to discreetly and says "Hashish? Dope? I got the best stuff. Wanna buy?" A simple "no, thanks" or a shake of head will do. Also, if you are not gonna buy anything, don't waste the retailers' time asking for the 'best price'. Have a look around the 1st time so you know what you want and where to get it from. The 2nd time round, go knowing what you want and get it. If its affordable, buy it - its that simple. The Thamel shopping area can be reached by a 5-min walk from the hotel I recommended in my hotel tip page.
The North Face outlet on Tridevi marg is the only official dealer in Nepal. That means, most of the other North face stuff is either second hand or fake. In my opinion North Face isn't a particular good brand for my uses, but I occasionally buy clothes there in lieu of anything better. Too much fashion, too little function, occasionally.
The stuff here is mostly surplus production sent over from factories in Asia, and you may not find the items in contemporary catalogues. They will normally not have the same products coming in again if they have sold out. Nearbu is the sherpa Outdoor store, a local production just as good and the moeny stays in the country... , and United Brands and a few others. So you can compare goods and prices.
What to buy: I like their shirts.
What to pay: The price level is at the high end on the Nepali market, but fairly cheap from an American or European point of view. You can equip yourself for half the price of what you do in N. America and Europe.
MapPoint Nepal in the turn of the road just up from Tom&Jerry's carries the best selection posters that I have found in Kathmandu. That is, if you like mountain panorama posters.
What to buy: There are some spectacular Himalayan sceneries to choose among. Beware of quality, they fade quickly if hanging exposed to sunlight when you return home.
Get them rolled up in a cardboard tube for the trip home.
What to pay: 150-1500 Rs depending on size and quality.
Thamel is a very good place to buy fake North Face or Columbia mountaneering gear, but it´s also a good place to buy handicrafts (Tibetan Paintings, wooden statues, puppets, etc), maybe you can get lower prices in other stores outside Thamel, but you won´t find the diversity of shops.
You will most probably find everything you want to buy in Nepal in Thamel. There are many, many shops selling souvenirs, clothing, jewellery, carpets, books etc. There are also a fair amount of bakeries and supermarkets for everyday needs.
There are many shops selling similar goods, so do shop around to get the best deals.
What to buy: Clothing
Books etc etc
What to pay: Haggle!
Thamel is mostly shops, there's really only about 5 kinds of shops and they're repeated all over the neighborhood - pretty much the same, so if you see something you want, no need to look further.
What to buy: T-shirts
Any visitor visiting Nepal/kathmandu/thamel ought to visit this cool store called "Khukuri House" in thamel area. Kukris/khukuris are the coolest gifts to take away from Nepal as they are unique and the most useful gift one can give and its worth collecting if you are a knife fanatic. Try buying the kukri what the soldiers carry because they are the army that made them famous using them in world war I - II scaring away germans and japanese. Buy the kukri called the "Historic". It only costs Nepalese Ruppes Rs.1150.00 (US$17.00).
I am treasuring it now.
What to buy: Gurkha knives called kukri-khukuri are must to buy from Nepal. Its the knife that put Nepalese warrior in history book and now popularly known as Gurkha soldier.
What to pay: Nepalese currency Rs. 1150.00
Thamel is a great place for some shopping. Most of the shops seemed to be open quite late, i wandered round at night and some were still open well after 8pm. Discussions on price are very much in order, i dont think i payed the asking price on anything.... it was all fun though and i think both parties end up with a fair price at the end.
Traditional Nepalese arts and crafts are everywhere aswell as things like books, dvd's and cd's. Lots of shops sell trekking gear if you need any for a trip.... most of which seemed reasonable, and definitely cheaper than trying to buy it while you are on your trek e.g. Lukla or Namche Bazar. Some of it is fake though, and not sure if i would be able to tell the difference on all of it..... be careful!
Quite a few people trying to sell things on the streets aswell, bracelets, food, drugs... most of which, if you say "no thankyou" will respect that and move on.
Found a great shop for the Ghurka Khukuri knives... "Khukuri house" quality knives and really quite cheap!
Pashmina is sold in a lot of shops there.... good present for the wife or girlfriend. :-) Tibetan style painted Thangkas are also available in lots of shops... some of which really were fabulous, but the good ones are quite expensive because of the amount of work that goes into them.
What to buy: Nepalese arts and crafts... prayer wheels, flags, paper goods, jewellery, pashmina goods, khukuri knives, Tibetan thangkas.
Cd's, dvd's and books. All really cheap!
Trekking and mountaineering clothes and gear.
The most common street to shop is Thamel, a.k.a. the tourist ghetto.
Indeed all those streets are fullfilled of every kind of GH, hostel, low level hotel, restaurant, bars, shops, libreries and so on.
For a day, it could be also nice to shop walking up and down to his treets, but keep in mid to bargain, as the price here might be higher then in other parts...
What is in a way cool, is that here you will find lamoust all the things produced, imported or distributed in the whole Nepal, from hand made papers, incens, Kaiga, to Tshirt hand made (you will see also some labouratories on the street’s side) and so on...
What to buy:
Themel is full of small shops where you can find your souvernir of everything, silk, cashmere, musical instruments, crafts, books, Nepalese tea with beutiful bags, knives...
I personally like paper lamp cover very much. Negotiating the the price of 40Rs each, I bought a lot with different kinds of designs.
What to pay: 40Rs/each
I shopped from a number of shops in the Thamel area and bought different sovineer items.
The prices they quote are nowhere near what you expect to pay. You can bargain them down. All prices have this bargaining factor in built into them so if you pay the sticker you will definitly be ripped off.
What to buy: There are a number of things that you can buy.
- Fantastic Thenka paintings
- Handicrafts ( fine metal work)
- Wood carvings
- Prayer wheels
What to pay: Remember there are number of shops and you can ask around and once you know the going price start the negotataion. Usually you can retuce it by at least 30% to 40%.
There are many, many shops....
What to buy: I bought so much things: Gifts,clothes, trek equipment, sweet, alcohol, chess - everything you can buy in Kathmandu.
I bought woolen jacket with polar inside, first jacket with bright colour and second - soft colour and for my husband with soft colour.
Starting price - 1500 Rs / 19 USD/ and my final price 900 Rs / 11 USD/.
Everything is rather inexpencive.
Thamel area is full of gift shops (besides hotels and restaurants). Most of them carry pretty much similar things. Jewelry shops with silver and semi-precious stone ornaments (particularly turquoise). Clothing shop with printed pants, embroidary shirt etc. Also rice paper products such as lanterns and calenders seem to be popular. You can find both Nepali and Tibetan crafts here since there are many Tibetans around.
What to pay: King of barganing pays less.