What To Buy In Kathmandu, Nepal

what to buy in kathmandu

A quest to the Himalayas means a stopover in Kathmandu, Nepal. The capital city is an assault to the senses; the colorful and busy city is full of interesting sights, weird smells and confounding sounds. Apart from the memories, Kathmandu has a lot to offer to the treasure seeker. From exciting pieces of history like Khukuri knives and Thangka paintings to things of beauty like Pashmina shawls, there are a lot of unique Nepalese things and artifacts that you can pick up on your trip.

Wondering what to buy in Kathmandu, Nepal? We have handpicked our favorite souvenirs and the best places to buy them, so you don’t have to do the heavy lifting.

1. Khukuri knife

Polished kukri
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Anon5551212 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

The Khukuri knife is to a Gurkha what a Katana is to a Samurai! The Khukuri is the traditional choice of weapon for the Gurkhas or Nepali soldiers. Even today it is a part of the uniform of the Nepalese Army and the Gurkha contingents of India, Singapore, and Britain. The knife is curved and comes in various sizes, the average one used for the general purpose is between 40-45 cm (16-18 in) while the military ones are much bigger. The Khukuri knife is an ideal gift for men, and you don’t have to think twice about what to buy in Kathmandu for your male friends and relatives back home.

Gorkha Zone Khukuri House

Address: 369, Tridevi Sadak, Kathmandu 44600, Nepal

Opening Hours: 6 AM – 9 PM

Price: from USD 70

2. Thangka paintings

Thangka painting
Source: Photo by Flickr user shankar s. used under CC BY 2.0

Thangka paintings are a traditional Tibetan art form and were originally created by Llamas. The paintings often depict Buddha apart from a variety of Tibetan deities. The paintings are geometric and focused on symmetry and beautiful designs. The paintings are generally made on cotton and silk and rolled up like scrolls when not in use. They are also small in size, but you can see huge Thangka paintings in monasteries. These paintings have been made in Nepal since the 13th century and have been used for teaching, religious and meditation purposes. A small thangka painting is the best souvenir to take from Kathmandu.

Traditional Mandala Thangka Painting Art School and Co-operative

Address: Swachapu Marga, Kathmandu 44600, Nepal

Opening Hours: 8 AM – 8 PM

Price: from USD 100

3. Singing bowl

Nepalese singing bowl
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Trollderella used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The singing bowl has become synonymous with Tibet and is often referred to as Tibetan singing bowl. The bowl is an inverted bell also otherwise known as sitting bell and comes from ancient China. The vibrations from the bowl along with the unique strains of music make the singing bowl an essential instrument in Tibetan culture. It is often used in religious ceremonies, for healing and spiritual rituals, as well as music. If you are wondering what to buy in Kathmandu then pick up a singing bowl. These copper and tin bowls are beautifully decorated with inscriptions and designs.

Mata Laxmi Handicraft and Singing Bowl House

Address: J.P Road, Kathmandu 44600, Nepal

Opening Hours: 8 AM – 8 PM

Price: from USD 10

4. Prayer flags

Prayer flags in Boudhanath
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Bernard Gagnon used under CC BY-SA 4.0

If you want to get something inexpensive yet meaningful from your Nepal trip for friends back home, then stop thinking about what to buy in Kathmandu! The best thing you can get for them is prayer flags. The Buddhist prayer flags bring in more luck when they are gifted. These colorful flags can be seen across the Himalayas, and each of the colors has a meaning. Green is water; yellow is earth, red is fire, white is air and blue is wind. The fluttering of these flags is supposed to herald good luck, and it’s best to keep them afloat near lamp posts or doors where the wind can pass through them.

Yolmo Prayer Flags & Handicraft Exports

Address: Opposite To Police Station, Boudhanath Sadak, 44600, Nepal

Opening Hours: 9 AM – 7 PM

Price: from USD 3

5. Jewelry

Kathmandu-Colorful Nepalese souvenirs
Source: Photo by Flickr user Güldem Üstün used under CC BY 2.0

Nepalese Jewelry is striking and colorful, and it consists of relay and inlay work with beads, and semi-precious stones. Color is an essential element in Buddhist philosophy, and each stone has a meaning. If you are a jewelry collector and wondering what to buy in Kathmandu that’s a specialty, choose to buy Dzi beads. Dzi beads have a deep connection to well-being and health. Another significant jewelry is the Rudraksha, which is essentially a seed but crafted into beautiful prayer beads, bracelets and more. The Rudraksh is symbolic of Lord Shiva and can easily be found in Kathmandu.

Panchakanya Jewellers

Address: Ghattekulo, Maitidevi, Kathmandu 44600, Nepal

Opening Hours: 10 AM – 7 PM

Price: from USD 47

6. Local tea and coffee

Milk tea and a glass of water
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Gaurav Dhwaj Khadka used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Nepal is a mountain country so it seems incongruous that it would be a tea and coffee producing nation. The eastern region of Nepal, close to Darjeeling in India produces some of the finest teas in the world. The orthodox teas include a selection of green, oolong, and white tea while it also produces the standard curl, tear curl (CTC) tea. Coffee is also usually grown in the tropics, but Nepal manages to produce excellent arabica green coffee at one of the highest altitudes in the world. Grab a pack of tea and coffee from the Kathmandu markets, if you are confused about what to buy in Kathmandu, and you have yourself a winner!


Address: Chhusya Galli, Kathmandu 44600, Nepal

Opening Hours: 8:30 AM – 8 PM

Price: from USD 16

7. Trekking gear

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Eight of the top ten world’s highest mountains are located in Nepal including the Everest and Annapurna. The world travels to Nepal to trek and attempts a scale these fantastic mountains, so it’s no wonder that you can buy all the trekking gear you want in Nepal. Make a list of what you want to buy in Kathmandu and shop when you reach there; you don’t have to carry everything from home when you are in the city. The city has some of the best brands at great prices. You will find everything from trekking poles to rucksacks here!

Shona's Alpine

Address: Amrit Marg, Kathmandu 44600, Nepal

Opening Hours: 9 AM – 6:30 PM

Price: from USD 10

8. Lokta paper products

Lokta nepali paper menu
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user KathmanduFoodies used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Lokta paper is a Nepali indigenous paper made out of a shrub known as lokta. The shrub is Daphne and is similar to the Laurel plants. The lokta plants are abundant in Nepal and are produced in almost 25 districts. The papermaking process is eco-friendly, and the paper has been used for centuries for writing religious texts and official documents. Today, the lokta paper is used to create paper stationery and other products like notebooks, photo frames, lampshades, paper bags, etc. If sustainable and eco-friendly products are a priority then spend on these Lokta paper products.

Raja Paper Crafts

Address: Amrit Marg, Kathmandu 44600, Nepal

Opening Hours: 9 AM – 8 PM

Price: from USD 2

9. Pashmina shawls

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Pashminu used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Pashmina or cashmere is often associated with Kashmir in India, but Nepal is a hub of pashmina as well. The pashmina wool is gathered from Chyangara or Nepalese pashmina Goat and is used to make exquisite pashmina shawls. The wool is of the finest quality, and the products are generally exported abroad. You can find yourself a good pashmina shawl at a decent price right at the source so that you can be assured of the quality. It makes for a wonderful birthday gift for female relatives and is the ideal mix of comfort, style, and warmth.

S.K Handicrafts Export

Address: Amrit Marg, 44600, Nepal

Opening Hours: 9 AM – 8 PM

Price: from USD 100

10. Bagh chal

Bagh chal
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Outlookxp used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Bagh-Chal or ‘Tiger game’ is a Nepalese board game. Two players can play this game but unlike other games with one or two pawns, here one team has a tiger and the opposing team has 20 goats. It’s a strategy game where it’s the survival of the smartest! It will be a fun addition to your game nights back home and is a good way to bring home memories of your Kathmandu trip. Although it might be difficult to find a good set as most people in Nepal have like the rest of the world moved on to mobile games!

Mahaguthi Craft With Conscience

Address: Lazimpat Road, 44600, Kathmandu

Opening Hours: 10 AM – 6:30 PM

Price: from USD 5

Authentic Nepalese souvenirs for your loved ones

what to buy in kathmandu | authentic nepalese souvenirs for your loved ones

That’s a lot of choices you have got there for shopping in Kathmandu! Just make sure you pack the Khukri in your check-in luggage, while taking special care of the Thangka paintings and lotka paper, wrap them up carefully and ideally carry them with you. Happy shopping!

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Travel and Writing are my two passions and thanks to Trip101 I am able to realize them together. I love curating articles about travel as it gives me the inspiration to travel myself.

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