The Essential Shopping Guide to Kathmandu
Having visited Kathmandu, Nepal over a dozen times, we're fairly knowledgeable about the shopping scene. I get asked all the time where to go shopping in Nepal. First off, I need to let you know this is not going to be a guide to Thamel (the largest commercial district in Kathmandu). Thamel is a backpacker's haven and fun to walk through for a few hours. Rather, this list includes many fair-trade, quality, and upscale boutiques with handmade items.
Baber Mahal Revisited
By far one of the most interesting (and calm) shopping experiences in Nepal is found at Baber Mahal Revisited. It's a former stable of one of the Rana residences that has been repurposed into shops and restaurants.
Inside Babar Mahal, there are stores for handmade paper products, watches, antiques, felt animals and wall hangings, clothes, and linens. Make sure to stop by Chez Caroline for lunch!
Some of our favorite shopping is actually across the river in Lalitpur (Patan). It's a little calmer than central Kathmandu and has plenty of great restaurants and shops.
Dhukuti sells some of the most modern, well-designed handicrafts in Nepal. Their multi-story shop sells pottery, linens, children's toys, holiday decor, and brass items for reasonable prices. They care about their artisans and their commitment to fair trade makes you feel good about shopping with them. Plan to spend at least half an hour exploring the whole shop.
Lokta Paper Craft
Lokta Paper Craft is a sprawling store with lots of fun handmade paper items, brass, pottery, and textiles. The star of the show is the multitude of paper items - bags, gift boxes, wrapping paper, notebooks, cards, lampshades, and stationary. It's cheap and cheerful and a great place to load up on lightweight gifts for friends and family.
If you like handmade carpets, you will love Master Weaver. Some of our favorite carpets have come from this store with Tibetan-Nepali designs. Master Weaver exports the majority of its carpets to designers around the world - so you're getting a great price when you shop at their store in Nepal.
If you have recommendations for other places to shop in Kathmandu - let us know in the comments.