Shopping in Kathmandu
There are many ATM machines in Thamel, however, not all accept foreign cards. Those that do implement a charge of NPR400 per transaction. Nabil Bank ATMs have the highest withdrawal limit of NPR35,000 per transaction. All shops will accept Nepali rupees and many will also accept US dollars.
If you are staying in Thamel, the Shop Right Supermarket, near Kathmandu Guest House, offers the cheapest prices for basic necessities and snacks, including NPR15 for a 1 litre bottle of water.
- Thanka Buddhist Paintings - Thanka are traditional Buddhist paintings available all over Nepal. Prices and quality can vary a great deal. Good sellers will be able to describe the provenance, meaning and history of your chosen thanka. You may also be able to watch thanka being created at some galleries. For example, one gallery near the Boudnath Stupa often has thanka trainees at work so you can see the kind of detail that goes into each painting.
- Statues - Hand crafted statues from Nepal are famous all over the world, especially metal statues of god and goddess such as Buddha and Tara. You can easily find various statue shops in Thamel, although the statues are mainly manufactured in the Patan area. If you want to get closer to the source, Patan is a good place to buy such items. Be aware of items that might be antiques. The Nepalese government does not permit real antiques older than 100 years to leave the country, so if you are unsure of the age of the item you're interested in it is advisable to get it checked and certified by the Department of Archaeology to avoid problems on your departure.
- Silver - Jewellers from Bangkok come to Kathmandu to buy wholesale silver with Indian-processed semiprecious gemstones. The wholesale price of silver is published on the front page of the "Himalayan" newspaper (1 tola= 11.6 gm) so buyers can get an idea of the metal cost of the piece, apart from the labour cost. Silver is almost invariably near the stamped "92.5%" sterling, as claimed.
- Clothing - Kathmandu is a great place to shop for clothes or have existing clothes repaired or tailored. Flowing hippie gauzes, Monk's robes in saffrons and maroons, funky neon trance-wear, hemp clothing, dozens of elegant silks and 'suiting and shirting' are available in all qualities and prices. Tailors can be hired at reasonable fees and the quality of work is high. Handwoven Nepali fabrics cost NPR100-300/m and are available in endless patterns and colours. Anything, from bags to mountaineering equipment to cocktail dresses can be made to order and tailored to perfection. The alleys around Indra Chowk, between Thamel and Durbar Square, have dozens of fabric shops and tailors, much more dedicated to customer satisfaction than the hurried and expensive shops in Thamel. Bishal Bazaar near the corner of New Road and Durbar Square is a mall-like experience which also boasts several fabric shops and tailors. It is acceptable to buy fabric from one place and get it stitched in another. Expect to pay around NPR250 to stitch a Western-style men's/ladies' shirt. Feel free to take an existing item of clothing with you for the tailor to copy. Warning: if having clothes made to wear later at home, get measured before trekking if you want them to fit when you return to your normal size after your privations on the trekking trail!
- Carpets and Rugs - Thamel has many carpet shops that have quality silk and wool carpets. Royal Collection (Shop 13, L.P. Jyoti Line) has a nice selection and good prices, after some aggressive price negotiations. Some places will charge a service fee on a purchase with a credit card, so make sure to clarify this during price negotiations.
- Cultural Artifacts - Beware that there are lots of counterfeits, sly salesmen, and plastics presented as wood. Most real antiques are illegal to export. Genuine antiquities may have been looted from temples. Patan is known for the quality of bronzes. Read the book "Shopping for Buddhas" by Jeff Greenwald for more information.
- Pashmina - Scarves and shawls can be purchased for a fraction of the price of those in Europe or North America. Look for those produced by charitable organisations ushc as the Tibetan refugee camp just outside Patan.
- Electronics - Many people find Kathmandu a good place to buy a camera or other electronic device due to the lack of sales tax and import duty on electronics. There are shops in Thamel and around New Road.
- Bank of Asia, Saket Complex, Tripura Marg, (Tripureshwor Bus Stop).
- Century Commercial Bank, Hattisar Rd (Putali Sadak Bus Stop).
- Himalayan Bank, Karmachari Sanchaya Kosh Bldg, Tridevi Sadak.
- Nepal Bank Limited Central Office, Dharma Path, , e-mail: [email protected].
- Nepal Rastra Bank, Central Office, Baluwatar, , , , , , , fax: . Banking Office (address:Thapathali)
Kathmandu is a great place to stock up or trade in reading material. Used bookshops have stock including backpacker favourites, classics, local history and culture.
- Vajra Books, Amrit Marg (Jyatha, Thamel - close to Chikusa Café). Has huge selection of books on Buddhism, Nepal and Tibet studies.
- Pilgrims (in Thamel, next to the Kathmandu Guest house). is the largest and most well established English language bookshop in Kathmandu. They have great sections on Buddhism, including a whole room devoted to vajrayana, as well as an encyclopedic selection on books devoted to subjects on Nepal.
- Tibet Book Store, Thamel, on the road leading in from the palace has a good selection of books on vajrayana and Tibet studies.
- Second Hand - The alleys of Thamel are full of second hand book shops. Check around for a good price, as they do vary immensely. Return read books for 50% buyback or store credit.
- Ekta Books - Huge collection of almost all types of books is found in Ekta Books which is in Thapathali near Norvic Hospital.
- Mandala Book Point, 4227711. Kantipath. Probably the best for all types of reference, academic texts, tourist books and maps. Mandala also publishes books on sociology, anthropology, culture, politics and history of Nepal. It also a centre for most scholars visiting Nepal and patrons are encouraged to take part in the lively and informative discussions that frequently occur in the shop in the evening. The most reliable shop for The Economist and International Herald Tribune. Located on the east side of Kantipath just south of the Mountain Hotel and Nabil Bank building
- Quixote's Cove: the bookshop, 553-6974. Jawalakhel. Located next to New Orleans Cafe in Jawalakhel, this bookshop is housed in an old 1930s building and combines a great collection of fiction with a marvelously cosy environment.
- Bhat Bhateni Shopping Mall. A big Supermarket
- City Center Mall (Nepal Life City Centre), Pashupati Road, Kamal Pokhari,(Near Kamal Pokhari Police Station), , e-mail: , [email protected]. Daily 10:00-20:00. also email [email protected] A five-storey shopping mall is centrally Air-conditioned. - International Branded Show Rooms - Electronic, Mobile, Camera. - Readymade section - Wedding Floor (Sarees, Ornaments, Boutique, Beauty corner, Palour), - Food Court (Chinese, Korean, Italian, Thai, Japanese, Vietnamese dishes), Gaming zone.
- Kathmandu Mall, Sundhara Marg.
- Pashupati Plaza, Khechapukhu Sadak.
- People's Plaza, Kichhapokhari,Newroad1 (Pukhudha Marg), , fax: , e-mail: [email protected]. On Working Days: 10AM - 5PM, On Holidays: 10AM - 10PM. Electronic Accessories (one shop), Gents Ladies and kids (two shop), Gents Wear (six shops), Ladies Wear (nine shops), Shoe's shop (seven units), Food Court
- Star Mall, Dhobidhara Marg (Bus to stop Putali Sadak).
- Swiss International, Jamal Rd.
- Jame Market, Durbar Marg (Next to Jame Mosque).
- Kuleshor Fruit Market, Kuleshwor Marg (West 200m of Kuleshor Mahadev Temple).
- Durga General Store, Gusingal.