Discover the mysterious land of Nepal, a country nested in the middle of the majestic Himalayas covered in snow all year round with gentle, simple people, rich in history along with a long-standing traditional culture which associated with Buddhism, and of course buying gifts after the trip is also indispensable and thing you must-do. However, if you still do not know what to buy meaningfully, please refer to some remarkable souvenirs in Nepal as we suggested below. So, what to buy in Nepal, what products is Nepal known for, what is famous in Nepal for shopping, what souvenirs to buy in Nepal and what to buy in Nepal Kathmandu? Let’s check out our Nepal shopping guide with the suggested top +18 best things to buy in Nepal, Nepal gifts which including best gifts from Nepal, best Nepal souvenirs, best souvenir from Nepal ,cheap things to buy in Nepal, things to buy in Kathmandu as well as where to buy in the capital of Kathmandu to help you choose the right, meaningful gifts for yourself and your loved ones!
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The capital city of Kathmandu is one of the best places to shopping in Nepal. There are no shiny, luxurious shopping centers, but the shopping experience here is much more enjoyable. Along streets of the shopping district of Thamel, countless eye-catching shops present everywhere.
From jewelry, handicrafts, shawls embroidered with flowers, textiles, silk, cashmere fabric, wool… to singing bowls for healing, Kukri knives, Buddha figurines, pictures, masks are all made very sophisticatedly and skillfully. If you don’t like decorative items, you can also consider Nepalese teas, Himalayan pink salt, handmade soaps, lanterns, handmade paper cards…
Although bargaining is must, the quality of items is good and the final price is usually very soft and pleasant. Nepalese people are gentle and pleasant, so even if you don’t buy any goods, they will still be happy as usual.
What to buy in Nepal Kathmandu: Bagh Chal
Traditional, typical gifts are the best suggestions, and the Bagh Chal (Tigers and Goats) is one of the perfect choices. This is the ancient and traditional Nepalese board game, a native game of Nepal, also known as the ‘Moving Tigers’ or simple ‘Tiger game’, a strategic, two-player board game. This hunt board game includes 4 tigers and 20 goats, the aim of the game is to control the board. The rules of the game are quite simple, the goats want to win must surround the tigers. If the tigers want to win, they have to catch all the goats on the board. To better understand the rules of the game, you can ask the owner shop for advice or everyone in Nepal knows how to play this game.
The sets of Bagh Chal board game often made of metal such as copper, brass or wood, plastic, even paper… in a wide variety of designs, sizes, shapes and decorative patterns.
Where to buy
You can buy these game sets across Nepal and one of the good places to buy them in Kathmandu is Mahaguthi Craft (Address: Road, Kathmandu 44600, Nepal / Hours: 10AM–6:30PM; Saturday: Closed / Phone: +977 1-4438760).
What to buy in Nepal Kathmandu: Nepali Tea
It is not only a Nepali specialty, but tea is also a favorite drink of the people here. Going to Nepal, if you are lucky enough to be invited home by a local, you will see them always welcoming and treating guests with fragrant, tasty hot cups of tea. There are many types of Nepali teas, with diverse and different flavors, but the most popular ones are: Oolong tea, Earl Gray tea, Masala tea (Nepali Masala Chai), mint tea, etc. All available in beautiful packages and one of the most interesting things to do is sipping tea right on the street with Nepali Chiya – The most favorite tea in Nepal. Depending on your preferences, you can choose to buy your own favorite flavor.
Nepalese people just love to drink tea. When visiting restaurants, a cup of milk tea is worth trying, and if you are addicted to Nepali Chiya (Daily Spiced Nepali Milk Tea) – The most popular tea in Nepal, grab some to take home. Here we suggest some best and top best tea brands and suppliers in Nepal you can refer to such as: Mechi Tea, Taj Mahal Tea, Tata Tea, Taaza Tea, Muna Tea, Aroma Specialty Tea, Kanyam Tea Producers Co-Operative Ltd., Yeti Tea, Loksam Tea Industry, Sarada Tea, Everest Tea, Rong Tea Industries…
Where to buy
Due to the nationwide popularity of tea, you can find them across the country from local markets, tea shops, grocery stores to supermarkets, convenience stores, modern shopping malls. You can also drop by Teafresho where offers all kinds of aromatic, delectable teas (Address: Chhusya Galli, Kathmandu 44600, Nepal / Phone: +977 984-9799760).
Best things to buy in Nepal: Pashmina Shawl
This will be a very meaningful souvenir from Nepal. Because these shawls are made from an extremely quality, smooth, soft and silky fabric from hair of Kashmir goats called Cashmere wool (sometimes referred to as Pashmina) dubbed the “golden fleece” or the “king’s fibre”, is one of the world’s softest and most luxurious of wool. Of course they are quite expensive but worth to bring back. Napalese use high quality silk Cashmere to make many different handmade woven products, but the most prominent and popular are beautiful and elegant cashmere shawls which come in a wide range of designs, colors, shapes and sizes.
This fabric is internationally known as Cashmere, Pashmina is considered the most luxurious natural fabric in the world. Soft and warm, these handmade shawls and scarves are the perfect gifts for friends and family, particularly for your lover. These items are fashionable, they never go out of style and are perfect for any occasion. Besides the scarves, you can also buy cardigans (wool jackets) also made from this fabric.
Where to buy
You can take a walk along Thamel shopping streets for window shopping and then stop by some of best shops selling Pashmina shawls here. And one of the exclusive Nepali cashmere outlets is Nyano Pashmina. They offer a range of cashmere/pashmina apparel in a variety of colors in high-end quality. (Address: Nyano Pashmina, Thamel, Kathmandu, Phone: +977 01 4268713).
Tibetan Buddhist Prayer Flags (Dar Cho)
Visiting Nepal you may notice colorful flags flying in important places around the country. These colorful flags are the Tibetan Buddhist prayer flags also known as Dar Cho in Tibetan: “Dar” means to promote life, fortune, health and wealth while “Cho” means all sentient beings. With religious symbols, prayers, sacred texts and scripts, and mantras written and printed on them, they are said to create spiritual vibrations that are released when blown through the air by the wind as silent prayers. You can hang them in your garden to remind you of your trip. These prayer flags are available at tourist souvenir shops around Kathmandu.
Lokta Paper Products
If you want to choose to buy gifts with typical Nepalese colors, consider products made from Lokta paper. This is a rather special paper, made from rice husks, Lokta paper is used to create many products such as lampshades, photo albums, bags, calendars, notebooks, gift boxes, drawing paper, etc. With these gifts, they are not only meaningful, but also quite practical.
Lokta paper is made from rice husks, and is an interesting souvenir from Nepal. In recent years, the industry has seen many innovations in making. You can find lampshades, scrapbooking, wallpapers and even bags made of Lokta paper. However, the most popular lokta products are cultural calendars, notebooks, diaries, gift boxes, and loose leaf papers sheets…
Where to buy
You can find them at almost gift shops and one of them is Baber Mahal Revisited (Address: Tanka Prasad Sadak, Kathmandu 44600, Nepal / Hours: 11AM–7PM) a beautifully restored building complex and is a wonderful sophisticated shopping spot.
What souvenirs to buy in Nepal: Nepalese Pottery
One of the most popular items bought by tourists is Nepali pottery in Bhaktapur, Nepal. There are two main types of pottery, namely earthenware and glazed earthenware. You can buy these handmade pottery from vases, plates, cups, mugs to bowls, pots, teapots… in variety of sizes, designs, and patterns as well.
Best souvenir from Nepal: Jewelry, Gemstones & Accessories
Many people believe that the way to a woman’s heart is through jewelry, and such exotic and colorful jewelry and accessories found in Nepal can make many any women happy. Whether it’s silver or gold, beads or semi-precious stones, green lapis lazuli or yak bones, Nepal has it all. You can ask the shop owner engrave your name on these jewelry such as on necklaces, bracelets, or you can choose to purchase single beads to make your own necklace.
What can help women become more beautiful, not only clothes, but also jewelry and accessories. Therefore, these are also very meaningful gifts to buy for relatives and friends, especially for women. In Nepal, shops selling accessories and jewelry such as necklaces, bracelets, rings, etc. are made from many different materials, from precious materials such as gold, silver, gems,… to copper, brass, semi-gemstones. However, one thing in common is that all the jewelry products here are designed very delicately, ensuring that whoever is given the gift will love it.
There are many kinds of gems, jewelry in Kathmandu such as: Ruby, Aquamarine, black and green tourmaline and and iridescent quartzs quarried at gem mines in Himalayas, so the quality is very good. Moreover, the price of gem products here is also quite inexpensive, much more reasonable than in other countries. However, in order to avoid buying fake gems, I recommend you to hire a gem artisan or go with a local who have experience in gems to be able to buy real products at the best price.
Where to buy
One of the best places to buy Nepali jewelry is Patan city. In Kathmandu, you can come to Yak & Yeti Enterprises Pvt. Ltd., (Address: Kumari Mai Marg, Kathmandu 44600, Nepal / Hours: 9:30AM–5:30AM; Saturday: Closed / Phone: +977 1-4413552).
The Khukuri Knife showcases the finesse of Nepalese craftsmanship. This well-known knife used by the Gurkha soldiers of Nepal is also commonly used in every village in Nepal with length of 40–45 cm (16–18 inch) in overall and weighs approximately 450–900 gram. Many of these knives found in Kathmandu today are hand forged specifically for tourists as a keepsake, making them a must-buy souvenir for male visitors before leaving the country. As the national knife of Nepal, it is also considered a sign of love on special occasions.
The Khukuri Knife is an exquisitely handcrafted gift. These famous knives were used by Gurkha, Nepalese soldiers. Therefore, Khukuri is a symbol of victory, for courage. Note that if you choose to buy a Khukuri knife to take home, you should remember to checked-in your luggage.
Where to buy
The Khukuri House (KHHI nepal) (Address: Address: Patan Industrial Estate, Lalitpur 00977, Nepal / Hours: 9:30AM–5:30AM; Saturday: Closed / Phone: +977 984-1929055)
Wood carvings, stone and Buddha statues
You can buy a number of wood carving items such as picture frames, jewelry boxes, bowls, plates, spoons, masks, Buddha figurines, etc., at wooden workshops in Patan and Bhaktapur, where they sell a lot.
Best Nepal souvenirs: Thangka Paintings
The next worth to buy souvenirs in Nepal is Thangka paintings (a Thangka is also known as a paubhas which means “message from the temple”. This is a type of traditional painting of the people of Nepal, is an extremely intricate, sophisticated and very detailed painting, they are painted on cotton, silk brocade fabric and usually depicting a Buddhist deity, scene, or mandala. With all the lines, motifs, patterns are entirely created by hand, there are Thangkas that take 6 – 20 months to complete, depending on the size. Therefore, the price of a Thangka painting is quite expensive which can costs hundreds of dollars. However, each painting has a profound meaning, so if possible you should buy them to hang on the wall, decorate, especially for followers of Buddhism.
Thangka is a traditional hand-painted canvas on cotton or silk, and is a symbol of Nepalese culture. These religious scroll paintings can take six to eighteen months to make, depending on the size and details added. Perfect to hang on your wall. However, to own these paintings, you have to spend a large amount of money because they are meticulously crafted according to strict rules of layout, content, color as well as size, so they are high valuable, especially in terms of spirit.
Where to buy
There are many shops selling Thangkas around Nepal. In Kathmandu, you can visit Surendra’s Tibetan Thanka Treasure Pvt. Ltd. (Address: Paryatan Marg, Kathmandu 44600, Nepal / Hours: 9:45AM–7:45PM /Phone: +977 1-4700177).
Most visitors are interested in Nepalese handicrafts because of their diverse, useful and uniqueness, you can choose to buy small statues such as: Hindu gods, Buddhist statues, wooden masks, terra-cotta puppets and figurines, woven bags and baskets… by skillful artisans. However, do not be foolish to buy antiques. Because it is illegal to bring antiques out of Nepal.
These unique crafts are meticulously designed and detailed, creating valuable and meaningful souvenirs. You absolutely do not buy antiques, as it is illegal to take them out of Nepal.
Where to buy
You can buy these handicrafts across the country in any city, at any local markets with affordable prices. In Kathmandu you can visit Mahaguthi Craft With Conscience as mentioned above which is is a Fair Trade Organization which produces, markets and exports Nepalese crafts. (Address: Road, Kathmandu 44600, Nepal / Hours: 10AM–6:30PM; Saturday: Closed / Phone: +977 1-4438760).
Things to buy in Nepal: Tibetan Singing Bowl
One of the most meaningful souvenir to buy in Nepal is Singing Bowls also known as dabaka or bata in Nepali – the Nepali gift is the most interested which have been widely used since ancient times by Buddhist monks. They often engraved with holy Buddhist mantras and the sacred third eye symbol. Their relaxing sounds promote reflection, meditation and prayer and healing. It not only shows the typical culture of the people of Nepal, but these singing bowls are also very useful when meditating, healing, improving health in curing diseases. Singing bowls come in a variety of sizes, they are shaped like a bowl, and creating sound by turning around a mallet. And to feel better about the sound, don’t hesitate to go to the stores to test it.
A singing bowl can make up for a spiritual souvenir, with countless uses when back home from decorative to healing. This handcrafted metal musical instrument emits a harmonious sound and vibrates continuously from the rim when turning a wooden mallet around the mouth of the bowl. The vibrations created by the bowl are said to have a perfect healing effect, and are ideal during meditation. The bowls come in a variety of sizes, and the antique singing bowls are usually forged by hand and crafted by at least three skilled artisans. You should buy one if you love meditation, or simply as a souvenir of this trip.
Where to buy
All street vendors in Durbar Square in Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan have stalls with these singing bowls on display and for sale to visitors. You will find this musical instrument in almost souvenir shops in Nepal. In Patan you can stop by Golden Temple Singing Bowls and Healing Center (Address: Lalitpur 44600, Nepal / Hours: 10AM–5PM / Phone: +977 984-3095682).
Nepal gifts: Clothes & Traditional Nepalese Costumes
You can go to Thamel shopping district in Kathmandu, this is a cheap, quality shopping place in Nepal with a lot of handmade clothes for you to choose such as: Scarves, coats, sweaters, jackets, hats… especially traditional Nepali costumes, these are items you can bring home easily.
In addition to the souvenirs as we mentioned above, you can also buy paintings, wooden masks, t-shirts, refrigerator magnets, ceramics, spices, rugs… as gifts for relatives and friends.
Nepal shopping guide: Where to shop and some tips?
Thamel neighborhood in the capital of Nepal is one of the best places to shopping, where gathering busiest shopping streets in the country as well as a Nepalese tourist destination for over 40 years, and it has been considered the capital of Nepal’s tourism industry. Therefore, Thamel is one of the destinations that you can not miss when coming to this mysterious country, especially to finding almost all Nepalese souvenir items.
- Nepalese Rupee (NPR) is the official currency of Nepal. USD 1 = 122 NPR.
- ATMs are quite common in Kathmandu, Pokhara and Terai. You should exchange money at the Visa application counter. The exchange rate at this counter is the best of all the money exchangers in Nepal. Do not exchange money at the counters outside because the exchange rate is extremely low with high fees.
- All money exchanger shops in Pokhara have the same exchange rate. In Kathmandu, the exchange rates of the exchange counters are only slightly different. Don’t change money on the black market, on the streets.
- Payment: You should pay attention to use your right hand to pay, receive cash or bills. It’s a way to show your respect and it’s easy to start a conversation with the locals once they see you understand Nepalese culture.
- If you see the North Face jackets or pants are sold here for so cheap, it’s definitely a copycat sewn from this famous outdoor fashion house. Nepal has excellent tailors and they are very good at fake making North Face outfits. As an Asia’s trekking hub, you will find countless shops in Thamel and Pokhara offering items from this brand and the quality is only marginally inferior to the original.
Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in, from and to Kathmandu you can refer to
- Kathmandu Heritage Tour
- Plane Ticket (One Way) for Kathmandu to Pokhara
- Plane Ticket (One Way) for Pokhara to Kathmandu
- Kathmandu Bazaar Walking Tour
- Kathmandu Morning Rickshaw Tour
- Kathmandu Evening Rickshaw Tour
- Patan and Bhaktapur Tour
- 12D11N Annapurna Circuit Trek
- 10D9N Mardi Himal Trek from Kathmandu
- 7D6N Langtang Valley Trek from Kathmandu
- 12D11N Everest Base Camp Trek
- 15D14N Everest Base Camp Trek
Read more Nepal guid here.