#KathmanduDiaries: Experiencing commercialism in the streets of Thamel

Narrow streets with prayer flags above and lines of shops on both sides selling almost the same things – yak pashminas, cashmere scarves, tourist souvenirs and fake trekking gears is what I see the first time I entered Thamel. The neighbourhood that I called my home for 5 days.

CaptureSunshine: Thamel
Night life in Thamel

My hotel was situated just alongside this amazing place called Thamel which has been the go-to market for tourists for decades. It was my first impression of Kathmandu and soon became my favourite part of the city.

The market is designed to be a tourist-hub, a place where people can spend their dollars. The people here knows what the foreigners want and they give it to them.

You can have a fine dining candle light dinner or have a coffee at the wifi-enabled coffee shops and bakeries or try the local nepalese cuisine.

You can shop for everyday items, buy the local made cashmere products, fake trekking gears to trek the Annapurna circuit.

You can buy the fridge magnets, the herbal milk soaps, singing bowls for sound therapy.

You can get a tattoo, get your money exchanged, get a massage or dance the night away (The nightlife in Kathmandu is only in Thamel with its night and dance clubs). 

You name it and Thamel has it.

It leaves absolutely no stone unturned to leave tourists happy.

CaptureSunshine: Thamel
Small dainty shop selling tea and accessories

The shops are small and most of the restaurants/hotels feels like they have converted from houses. Sometimes it feels crowded and dainty but this place is always bustling with life and that is what I love about it.

CaptureSunshine: Thamel
Fresh fruit juice, anyone?

The shopkeepers- the locals, nepalese people are one of the most calm and kindest people that I have witnessed. They are always so warm and welcoming and it’s their zeal which gives this place its energy. But it’s also the tourists from different countries and ambitions that meet here and share experiences together despite their cultural background that adds on.

For most of the them, Thamel is the first glimpse of Kathmandu because of it’s cheaper accommodation and accessibility to the rest of the city and also it’s love at first sight.

On the other hand, some people absolutely loathe this place. It’s dusty, crowded, pretentious with selling you off things you never knew you needed, with an english hip hop song playing at one end and an Irish song playing at another.

Whatever anyone might think, it’s best to come here without any pre-notions to form your own opinions. For me it was clear that…

Thamel isn’t just a place, it’s a state of mind.

Come experience it for yourself.

Things to note:

  • Bargaining/haggling is recommended as shopkeepers would price it higher initially
  • Almost all restaurants and cafes do have free wifi
  • There are many restaurants like ‘Or2k’ or ‘Places’ that serve vegetarian/vegan food
  • It’s a vehicle free zone so be prepared to leave your taxis outside the market for a stroll
  • Make sure you have cash since most of the vendors won’t accept card. Don’t worry there are a lot of ATMs and money exchanges in the vicinity

 

How to reach?

 

Do you have a question?

Do you have any more questions about visiting this place? Ask me and let me make your trip a little easier 🙂

Comments

  1. Claire

    Fake trekking gear? Are they marketing it as real? Seems dangerous if someone buys it thinking they can use the gear while hiking! What style of tattoos do they do there? Is it like stick and poke, or tattoo guns? I’d love to get a new tattoo in one of my travel destinations, I’ve only gotten them in the states.

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