The most popular tourist hub in Kanthmandu

and a home for backpackers

Thamel Kathmandu

Thamel is a commercial neighborhood located in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. Thamel Kathmandu has been the centre of the tourist industry in Kathmandu for over four decades, starting from the hippie days when many artists came to Nepal and spent weeks in Thamel. It is the hottest-spot for tourism inside the Kathmandu valley.

Thamel Kathmandu is known by its narrow alleys crowded with various shops and vendors. Commonly sold goods include food, fresh vegetables/fruits, pastries, trekking gear, walking gear, music, DVDs, handicrafts, souvenirs, woolen items and clothes. Travel agencies, small grocery stores, budget hotels, restaurants, pubs and clubs also line the streets. Cars, cycle rickshaws, two-wheelers and taxis ply these narrow streets alongside hundreds of pedestrians. Recently many roads in Thamel have been declared vehicle free zones to avoid crowd and traffic havoc.

There are many restaurants in Thamel Kathmandu that serve traditional and continental cuisine, although prices are significantly higher than in non-tourist areas. Thamel also acts as the pre-base camp for mountaineers. It boasts a wide range of mountaineering gear shops, foreign money exchange booths, mobile phone shops, along with the numerous travel agents and guest houses. Thamel probably is the best place to enjoy nightlife when you are in Kathmandu. Thamel Kathmandu is home to a wide range of the Nepalese population, and serves both entertainment and employment purposes for the locals around the area.

On Wednesday, 28 September 2011, Thamel was declared a full Wi-Fi zone. It is the first Wi-Fi zone of Nepal.


Market street in Thamel


Thamel is the center of Kathmandu's nightlife. There are many restaurants and cafes, live music and other attractions frequented by both tourists and locals on Fridays and Saturdays.

Thamel, Kathmandu’s designated tourist quarter, is a funny old thing. It started off as a medieval site of Buddhist learning, but by the turn of the millennium, it had mutated into a red-light sandpit for an unholy trinity of thugs, dirty cops, and ex-rebels. Since then, it’s cleaned up its image, cleared away the rubble (of the 2015 earthquake), and braced itself to welcome not just the usual backpacker crowd, but well-heeled visitors to new deluxe hotels as well as a wave of Chinese tourists.

Visitors to this square kilometer in north-central Kathmandu may consider it a one-stop shop to streamline the rest of their Nepal trip, from trekking to thangkas to two-for-one cocktails. Too often, they make a beeline for the world heritage sites scattered across the Kathmandu Valley before heading to the mountains. But skating over the surface of this neighborhood does it a great disservice: this is a chance to trace the history of Nepal’s capital - once the greatest urban hub in the Himalayas.

The places near Thamel are Kwabahal, JP Road, Paknajol, Sanchaya Kosh Road.

Shopping in Thamel Market

Thamel Market is known as one of the biggest shopping markets of Kathmandu city. You will find multiple branded and local outlets, providing stuff in western as well as antique Nepali style. Foreign tourists love to visit this market and enjoy some shopping. But this is not all, locals are also equally interested in shopping over here. The main reason of attraction for the Thamel Market is the availability of multiple shopping products, ranging from idols to woolen clothes and wooden artifacts, etc.

From Kashmiri carpets to trekking poles and yak-milk soap, Thamel offers the best collection of shops in the country. Bring an extra bag (or buy one here!) and stock up early on Christmas presents.

Plenty of shops and supermarkets in Thamel sell small packets of spices, from momo mixes to chai spices, or head to Asan Tole, where the locals buy their freshly ground masalas.

Sewing machines around Thamel whirr away late into the night adding logos and Tibetan symbols to jackets, hats and T-shirts. Trekkers can commission badges and T-shirts commemorating their successful trek or even get a business logo made.

Thamel Kathmandu is a great place for jewellery, particularly silver. Buy it ready-made, ask the jeweller to create a design for you or bring in something you would like copied. The price of silver is quoted per tola in the daily newspaper.


Souvenir Shop at Thamel


Puppets make good gifts for children and are made in Bhaktapur as well as other centres. They’re often of multi-armed deities clutching little wooden weapons in each hand. The puppet heads may be made of easily broken clay or more durable papier mâché.

Pashminas, a shawl or scarf made from fine pashmina (the underhair of a mountain goat) is a popular buy. The cost of a shawl depends on the percentage of pashmina in the mix and from which part of the goat’s body the hair originated, starting from the cheapest back wool and rising through the belly and chest to neck hair, which is about five times more expensive than back hair. The cheapest shawls are a 70/30% cotton/pashmina blend, silk-pashmina blends cost around 30% more and pure pashmina shawls range from around US$50 to US$275 for a top-end ring shawl (named because they are fine enough to be pulled through a finger ring; also known as a water shawl).

In addition to all this, you can find the best vegetable dishes in hotels adjacent to the market. The length of this market is extended up to 6 Km which makes the overall visit of this market of about 5-6 hrs. Many couples can be seen there enjoying their honeymoon trips. Anyone planning to go to Kathmandu should not forget paying a visit to the beautiful Thamel Market.


Puppets for saled at Thamel


Restaurants in Thamel

Most people don’t know what to expect of the food scene in Kathmandu. What does one eat in Nepal? Curries, lentil soups, and rice are pretty prominent, however, nothing is really out of reach. From Italian style pasta to Japanese ramen, you can pretty much have whatever your stomach desires. After spending some time in Thamel, these were the places we loved the most. A lot of them were recommended by locals, or we just stumbled upon them by accident. The ones listed are the restaurants that really stood out. In Nepal, most tourists are too afraid to eat anything uncooked because the water is not potable, but many of the restaurants in Thamel have filtered water in their kitchens.

Hello kitty Restaurant

It is well known for its food especially Thai food. Best Thai food can be found at this restaurant as well as other Nepali and continental food.

Ace Cafe and Bar

Located in west Thamel, Ace Cafe and bar is well known for its combination of Indian Nepalese and western style food. It is close to Peoples’ college. It’s a friendly place to provide service at reliable cost. It has everything inside. You should not miss the environment and food inside here if you are in Kathmandu.


The new restaurant is famous for Italian food. It only serves Italian food. It's 100 meters from chetrapati cock. It is famous for its delicious pizzas, spaghetti, salads and soups. It has a full-service bar with a wide range of wines to choose from. It always provides something for everyone.

Al-Madina Halal Food

This restaurant is located north of temel and famous for its Tanduri cuisine. The food here is delicious and hygienic. Tanduri chicken and billiani chicken are popular because of their taste. If you're in Kathmandu, try the food.

Thamel House Resturant

This is a famous and popular restaurant with unique service. Especially the food in Newari and the local wine in Nepal. Be sure to try Nepalese wine here. It's really good.


Thamel House Resturant


Attractions in Thamel

Thamel is the most popular tourist destination in the capital of the country of the Himalayas, which is one of the oldest, classical, and fancy markets in Nepal. This is the place that never sleeps and the busiest spot for tourists as well as locals.

Thamel is more famous for the varieties of shops, pubs, clubs, shops, travel agencies, hotels, jewelry shops, trekking and hiking stores, coffee shops, bakeries, eateries, and many more. It’s a place where you can find mountaineering gear, branded materials, and a foreign currency exchange center as well.  In one sentence, Thamel is a narrow alley where you can do anything.

Kathmandu Durbar Square

KATHMANDU DURBAR SQUARE, A UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of three squares within Kathmandu Valley in Nepal. Durbar Square (durbar translates to “palace” or “a court held by a prince”) is an important site for Buddhist and Hindu rituals, holy ceremonies, royal events, and kingly coronations.

Surrounded by fountains, ancient statues, small ponds, and a series of courtyards such as Mohan Chok and Sundari Chok, Kathmandu Durbar Square is a meditative, religious site for spiritual seekers. Within the inner complex of Durbar Square is the site of the Old Royal Palaces (referred to as the Hanuman Dhoka Palace Complex). The Royal Palaces used to house the kings of the Shah and Malla Dynasty, who ruled over the city until the 19th-century. The palaces have since been turned into museums.


Durbar Square Kathmandu


Garden of Dreams

Located in Kaiser Mahal which is across the street from the former Royal Palace at the entrance to the Thamel tourist area, the Garden was made famous as the Garden of Six Seasons created for Field Marshal Kaiser Sumsher Rana (1892–1964), in early 1920. The Garden, which featured a design inspired by the Edwardian style, was considered one of the most sophisticated private gardens of that time. Landscape architect Kishore Narshingh, designer of Singha Durbar and architect to Shumsher's father, the Maharaja, designed and supervised the construction of the Garden of Dreams.

Within the Garden walls are pavilions, fountains, decorative garden furniture, and European-inspired features such as verandas, pergolas, balustrades, urns, and birdhouses. Each of the six pavilions, which provide the Garden's architectural framework, is dedicated to one of the six seasons in Nepal. After the death of Kaiser Sumsher, the garden was handed over to the government of Nepal, but it was not properly managed for decades. Today, only half of the original garden remains.

After decades of neglect resulting in crumbling pavilions, overgrown paths and loss of the subtropical flora, restorations were undertaken between 2000 and 2007 with the support of Austrian Development Aid (the Austrian Government) in collaboration with the Nepal Ministry of Education.


Garden of Dreams Kathmandu


Bikramashila Mahabihar (Bhagwan Bahal)

The Bikramashila Mahabihar is popularly known as Bhagwan Bahal, and the space offers a tranquility lost to modern Kathmandu. Renovations have been ongoing since the 2015 earthquake, so plot your movements accordingly!

If you see an opening in the metal grille in front of you, or to the left, step down into the tiny courtyard for a closer look at the Buddhist statues installed left and centre.

Bhagwati Mandir

It is probably one of the most famous temples in the center of Thamel, located in the middle of the junction of Bagwatimag and Tamermag. In order to worship the goddess Bagwati, there are also some Ganeshi temples around.

Hanuman, Ganesh and Shiva Shrines

Go straight down this street to your left and there are two small temples with roofs. The first one is dedicated to Hanuman, who looks like Vishnu, but the shabby face reveals his identity. Next to it is the shrine of Ganesh with a roof, and in the same courtyard there is the shrine of little Shiva.

Chhwasal Ajima Sthan

This new courtyard area is located on the border of Narshing Chowk, full of shrines and statues. Renovated in 2015, everything looks new.  If you want to see a lot of Hindu statues in one place, it's a good place to go.

Shiva Compound

Just on the border between North Talmeyer and Lakenas Marge, this perfect building is full of statues and shrines. The main shrine is dedicated to Shiva, with a huge Nandi kneeling in front of it. Unfortunately, the compound is locked up most of the time, but the fence is so large that you can see the inside very well.

Entertainment and nightlife in Thamel

Thamel is the main entertainment area in the capital of Kathmandu. With so many bars, clubs and casinos, most of which are open 24 hours a day, Thamel has taken the limelight from the neighborhood. Casinos are undoubtedly the focus of nightlife in this area.


Night in Thamel


Enjoy yourself in Thamel! You'll see a lot of fashionable bars, clubs and casinos on Thamel street. It's considered the most attractive part of Kathmandu, where you always have something to do. It is regarded as the main entertainment part of Kathmandu. You can enjoy a magical night in Thamel. There are some cinemas in Thamel where you can enjoy movies in Nepalese, Hindi and English.