Thamel (Commercial Street)

Weather :

Tags : Commercial Street

Timings : 24 hours

Entry Fee : Free

Highlight : Shopping

Location : 20-minute taxi drive from Tribhuvan International Airport
15-minute drive from Kathmandu bus station

Tips :

  • Beware of hash dealers on the streets of Thamel
  • You can bargain for most of the items. Let the seller state the price and then haggle to about 2/3rd of that price
  • ATMs are easily found here
  • It is recommended to drink a beer here as the hard liquor is often more expensive
  • Avoid people offering a guided tour of the city as they often charge an exorbitant sum of money at the end
  • Keep your travel documents safe while roaming the streets of Thamel

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Thamel, Kathmandu Overview

Thamel, located in the heart of Kathmandu, is a vibrant and bustling neighborhood that serves as the tourist hub of the city. It is a bustling maze of narrow streets teeming with shops offering colorful textiles, traditional handicrafts, and trekking gear. It also has an extensive selection of restaurants, cafes, bars, and entertainment venues.

Formerly known as Tabitha Bahal, the maze of streets that make up Thamel is home to numerous stalls lined one after the other. Even though the 'touristy' tag has led to an increase in prices, the goods that are sold here are one of a kind. The numerous travel agencies that line the street are especially convenient for visitors who come to explore this district for the first time. Along with scores of pedestrians strolling down the road, one can find no dearth of vehicles, including cycle rickshaws, taxis, bicycles, and two-wheelers. Thamel is also home to several restaurants that serve delicious and varied cuisine, which is sure to draw in any food connoisseur.

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Shopping in Thamel Bazaar

Thamel Nepal
What to buy in Thamel
  • Handicrafts
  • Warm woollens
  • Books
  • Handicrafts
  • Trekking gear
  • Walking gear
  • Music DVDs
  • Clothes
You can almost always get a good bargain on the items that are sold here, especially on handcrafted materials. For the ones who are not good at bargaining and wish to stay safe from being duped, there is an option of hiring a Nepalese shopper's assistant. Their inherent knowledge of the local language and the price rates can prevent you from overspending. It is actually quite a good investment.

Nightlife in Thamel

Thamel is the prime entertainment district in the capital city of Kathmandu. With a plethora of bars, clubs and casinos, most of them operating for 24 hours, Thamel steals the limelight from its neighbouring regions. The casinos are undoubtedly the focal point of the happening nightlife in this area.

Casinos: Head out to one of the four licensed casinos located here:
  • Yak and Yeti
  • Soaltee Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza
  • Everest Hotel
  • Hotel de l'Annapurna 
Nightclubs: As the sun sets, the lounges and nightclubs come alive in Thamel
  • Electric Pagoda
  • Funky Buddha
  • Neon Pub
  • J-Bar
  • Tantra Bar
  • House of Music
  • Tamas Lounge
Movie Theatres
Thamel is also a favourite among the movie buffs with latest Nepali and Hindi movies being screened in most theatres, including the
  • QFX movie halls
  • The Big Cinema

Restaurants in Thamel

Fire and Ice Restaurant, Thamel
Thamel is a bevvy of bakeries, street food joints, and cosy restaurants. From Italian to French, from Israeli to Indian, the restaurants serve all kinds of food. However, for the best taste, you should always opt for the traditional Nepali cuisine. The aroma and the mouth-watering flavour along with the delicious flavour have won the hearts of many, and continue to do so until today. Among the famed eateries of this place are:
  • Flat Iron Grill
  • Momo Star
  • La Dolce Vita Resto
  • Northfield Cafe
  • Fire and Ice
  • Cafe Mitra
  • Black Olives

Attractions in Thamel

Thamel Kathmandu

Even though the thriving nightlife and the pumped-up shopping sprees are the high points during a visit to Thamel, one cannot fathom how rejuvenating and enlightening a heritage walk across Thamel can be. Very few people know the other side of Thamel, the side which goes beyond parties and impulsiveness. Thamel is over a thousand years old and has more concealed gems than meets the eye. At its centre, this district has the serene Vikramshila Mahavihara Monastery which dates back several decades and stands with dignity till today. The manuscript Swayambhu Purana, which narrates the story of Kathmandu Valley, is said to be housed within it. In addition to this historical treasure, Thamel houses several other cultural monuments.

Tri Devi: One of the lesser-known temples in Thamel, this place of worship houses temples devoted to the Goddesses Jawala Mai, Dakshinkali, and Manakamana.

Sunken Ganesh Shrine: Below a pavement in the northern region of Thamel stands a bland concrete monument with the most beautiful deity of Lord Ganesha inside it. Planted below street level, the deity is ornate with intricately detailed ornaments and carvings.

Ghairi Dhara: Head out to witness the colossal natural water source which is still in use in spite of being damaged by the massive earthquake that hit this region in 2015. For several centuries, this spot has been used by the locals to draw water for different purposes.

Shiva Shrine: Close to the Thamel Marg stands the picturesque Shiva Shrine. Being the centre of attraction amidst the park of shrines that are housed in this place, the place of worship is thronged by devotees on a daily basis.

Ashoka Stupa: The mesmerising Ashoka Stupa, dedicated to the renowned Indian Emperor Ashoka, is a newly renovated Stupa which holds a rich historical significance. Even though there are no written archives stating the age of the monument, it is said that this glorious piece of architecture is here for over a thousand years.

Thamel Kathmandu

Thamel is one of those places which draw people to it time and again. Owing to the jovial locals, superb food, and thrift stores, this place teems with tourists. For everyone who is planning a visit to Nepal, a quick getaway to Thamel is a must!

How To Reach Thamel

Thamel is a popular tourist district in Kathmandu which is well-connected to the major routes throughout the city. From the Tribhuvan International Airport, reaching Thamel takes about 20 minutes. One can take the local bus from the city bus station or the Tridevi Marg and reach the district within ten to fifteen minutes, or hire a cab from several points within the city. Commuting on private vehicles also does not cause any inconvenience.

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