The experience of no destination is complete unless you spend some time exploring the local streets for the things that place has to offer. The souvenirs brought back from the trips are the ones that become the fondest memory. Shopping in Kathmandu is one such experience that would leave you happy and content. Here are the best places and some Kathmandu shopping tips for you to acquire the Tibetan Buddhist artifacts, prayer flags and traditional Nepalese clothes. Read on!
A Handy Guide To Shopping In Kathmandu
Here are the beautiful things that you can buy when in Kathmandu. From trekking gear, Buddhist paintings, and aromatic spices, the city has it all:
1. Paintings and Thangkas
Thangkas are aesthetic paintings done on fabrics like silk and cotton. These developed along with the Tibetan Buddhist wall paintings. Like a Chinese scroll, these Tibetan Buddhist motif paintings are usually kept rolled up with a silk cover on top. These delicate pieces of art portray Buddhist teachings and have amazing embodiments like the Bhavachakra (The Wheel of Life). You can buy these at the Sagarmatha Bazar which is one of the best shopping areas in Kathmandu.
Where to buy: Sagarmatha Bazar
2. Singing Bowls
If you are searching for sophisticated souvenirs to take back home, then the Singing Bowls make for one great item to shop. Once used for Buddhist religious practices, today these have become really popular as they come handy while relaxing and meditating. You can shop for singing bowls at any handicraft store in Kathmandu.
Where to buy: Thamel
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3. Bead, Bone, Silver, and Stone Jewelry
Kathmandu is a haven for all the gemstones connoisseurs out there. The local markets are flooded with exquisite beads and stone jewelry, making jewellery shopping in Kathmandu, Nepal, a must. It is a centre of semi precious stones and if you are a collector, who would know better? You can head to Thamel or the streets close to buy jewelry in Kathmandu. It is a hub for silver jewelry and you would not return disappointed. Have a design in mind? You can get it made there!
Where to buy: Thamel
4. Dolls and Puppets
Nepalese puppets and dolls are a perfect embodiment of the Nepali culture and tradition. They are a great way to represent the culture through the dresses and colours used. The puppets are handmade objects usually made of fabric, cotton, or wood. These string puppets look lovely and are the perfect souvenir items to take back home.
Where to buy: Durbar Square
5. Incense Sticks and Spices
If different aromas allure you, then you should definitely head to Asan Tole. You can find a variety of incense sticks to pick from. Other well known item here are the aromatic spices. The market that leads from Indra Chowk to Asan Tole is laden with spices to pick up from! Walk through these fragrant alleyways as you indulge in some street shopping in Kathmandu.
Where to buy: Asan Tole and Aroma Garden
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6. Pashmina Woolens
Pashmina weaving has always been a part of Nepali tradition, owing to which one might come across quite a lot of markets flaunting pashmina scarves and shawls. Pick up your favourite colours and designs at bargainable rates from the inexpensive markets of Kathmandu. If you are looking for some luxury shopping in Kathmandu, you can head to the shopping malls in Kathmandu like Civil Mall and Sherpa to buy some branded clothes too in Kathmandu.
Where to buy: Civil Mall and Sherpa Mall
7. Khukuri (Gurkha Knife)
Khukuri or the Gurkha knife is the traditional Nepalese knife which has an inward curved blade. Other than being a Nepalese weapon, it is also an important traditional item of the Gurkhas. It is often a part of the wedding ceremonies and other rituals. One can find it in any of the souvenir shops in Kathmandu.
Where to buy: Thamel
8. Traditional Nepalese Clothing
If you want some true Nepalese flavours then you can shop for the traditional clothing items too. Clothes shopping in Kathmandu could be really fun as there a lot of options to choose from. The male traditional clothing is known as the Daura Suruwal, and the woman clothing is Kurta Suruwal. Also do not miss out the Dhaka (Nepalese Topi) if you are shopping for clothes in Kathmandu.
Where to buy: Baber Mahal Revisited
9. Cultural Handicrafts
Travel to any place is incomplete unless you shop there. Shopping is a way to bring back a part of that place with you. And what could be a more beautiful way then bringing back some handicraft belonging to that land. In Kathmandu you would find stores full of the Nepalese ethnic items. The prayer flags, and the Buddha statues would cost you just a dime at the right places.
Where to buy: Lazimpat and One Tree Stop
10. Trekking Gear
Nepal is a land of hikes and treks. People visit the land to scale the daunting heights. The snow covered peaks are one reason that Nepal has been the top tourist destination. Due to the multitude of adventure activities available, Kathmandu has quite a number of amazing stores that sell trekking and climbing equipment. So head to the city a day earlier and shop for everything you might need to scale the towering heights!
Where to buy: Tridevi Sadak and Durbar Marg.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Shopping In Kathmandu
A. Yes, most of the shops in Kathmandu accept traveler’s cheques from tourists. Yet, few of the shops take this for high-value purchases only. It is advisable to inquire first and use them wisely to save liquid cash.
A. Yes, the tourists from developed countries will find shopping in Kathmandu much affordable. They can purchase things by cash, credit cards, and traveler’s cheques.
A. Yes, you must visit Civil Mall to buy hand-woven woolen fabrics. You will get original sheep’s wool here. They are necessary to beat the cold even during the summer season in Kathmandu.
A. Most of the Nepali local fabric stores and street vendors sell authentic Nepali attires. It is advisable to bargain and buy as you will not find a price tag on them.
A. No, only a few major shopping centers accept credit cards. It is advisable to enquire before buying any products from a shop.
A. Stone and bead jewelry items are the best things to buy and take home in memory of the Kathmandu trip. You must shop at Thamel to buy the original stone and bead jewelry.
A. Most of the shops in Kathmandu open at around 09:00 am and close by 10:00 pm. However, these timings might differ for some of the shops do check the opening and closing hours before heading to the place.
A. You must shop at Lazimpat and Thamel to buy authentic Nepali handicraft items. You can do bargaining and come down or price to buy these handmade items.
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