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 Nepal Travel Guide

# Shopping In Kathmandu #

Kathmandu is the obvious place to do some serious shopping, especially if its your last stop before leaving the country.

Traditional souvenirs and curios

If you are in the market for a khukuri knife, you won't have to go far; street vendors and shops sell them wherever there are tourists, there is a whole shop devoted to them next to the Ram Doodle in Thamel.Brass sets of baghchal, Nepal's own "tigers and goat" game are almost as common. Stalls and shops between Indrachowk and Asan sell all manner of household brassware.

 A couple of small shops in Thamel and Khichapokhri (south of New Road) are devoted to Nepalese musical instruments, while hack minstrels peddle sarangi (traditional fiddles) around Thamel and cheap bamboo flutes in Durbar Square.

Vendors in Basantapur Square and Thamel flog vast arrays of Tibetan-style curios. It's all attractive stuff, but much of what is claimed to be silver, turquoise, coral or ivory is fake, and virtually none of it is antique. Gold- and silversmiths in the old city (mainly north and west of Indrachowk) produce fine ethnic jewellery  tourist shops sell cheaper but perhaps more wearable ornaments, usually made with white metal. Gem sellers are grouped mainly at the east end of New Road. The pote pasal near Indrachowk is the place to go for traditional glass beads. Boxes and embroidered bags of Nepalese tea, sold in many shops in the tourist areas, make good gifts.

Countless boutiques sell identical ranges of Kashmiri handicrafts, predominantly silk carpets, chain-stitch tapestries, and various items made out of papier mache, soapstone and sandalwood.

Contemporary crafts

Nepali artisans are turning out an ever-expanding range of contemporary crafts that adapt traditional materials or motifs to foreign tastes unusual forms of dhaka and other textiles, beautiful greeting cards of handmade paper, Maithili-style paintings and papier mache items, toys, dolls in ethnic dress, ready-made clothes, woollens, leather goods, batiks, scented candles, and ingenious articles out of bamboo and pine needles.

Clothing and fashion

Thamel and Freak Street are fun of shops selling wool sweaters, jackets, mittens and socks, which are among Nepal's best bargains -just steer clear of the cheap garments, which fall apart at the seams.

Similarly inescapable around here are kit bags, caps and other fashion items made from black felt with Tibetan rainbow fringes. Hardly fashionable, though many people lap them up, are T-shirts and ready-made clothes. Tailors, usually found inside the same clothing shops, are skilled at machine-embroidering designs on clothing.

Shawls and scarfs made of pashmina, the Nepali equivalent of cashmere, are the cheapest at Indrachowk. Topi, the caps that Nepali men wear in much the same way Westerners wear ties, are sold around Ason Tol.
You will find sari material around Indrachowk.

Thangka and other fine art

It's hard to say where to look for bargains on Thangka and paubha , since there are so many standard depictions and levels of quality that any comparison of prices is often an apples-and-oranges exercise. The biggest grouping of dealers is in Makhan Tol, north of Durbar Square, but there are many others along Tridevi Marg and else where in Thamel.


Kathmandu has a great collection of English-language bookshops, and browsing them is one of the city's main forms of nightlife many stay open till l0 pm. Most are nameless holes-in-the-wall.


There's no lack of music around Kathmandu to keep your Walkman humming. Several shops in Thamel sell cheap rock/pop reissues and new agey East-West mood music on tape and CD, as well as some traditional Nepali folk and classical compilations on tape. Countless cassette stalls throughout the city sell Nepali folk and pop, and Indian pop and movie soundtracks at these stalls will be less than half what the tourist places charge, but finding what you're looking for will be harder if you don't speak (or read) Nepali.

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