A journey to Nepal without any souvenirs for friends and family back home wouldn’t make for a happy ending to your journey.
But what do you buy in Nepal? Fortunately like the country, you can easily find many beautiful and appealing souvenirs in Kathmandu easily at affordable prices that will surely wow folks back home.


By Anonymous (Nepal) (old.mnw.art.pl) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Anonymous (Nepal) (old.mnw.art.pl) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

A Thangka is a Tibetan Buddhist painting on silk, satin or cotton. Thangkas usually depict Buddhist deities, mandala or various scenes from Buddhism.

The Tibetan word ‘thang ka’ itself translates into ‘recorded message’, which sketches the whole meaning behind Thangka paintings: they are intended to pass on messages to Buddhists or anyone admiring it about the teachings of Lord Buddha and Buddhist philosophy.

Thangkas are available in different sizes and can be hung on walls to give your home or office an “Asian” feel to it.

Bagh-Chal board game

Image by La.blasco

Image by La.blasco

Bagh-Chal (Tiger Moving) is a traditional two player board game that originated in Nepal. This abstract but a strategic game, is rather asymmetrical, as one of the player controls four tiger and the other player controls twenty goats.

Each set usually comes with an instruction manual so learn how to play it and keep your memories of Nepal fresh!

Pashmina shawls

By Bettenburg at German Wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Bettenburg at German Wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Pashmina is a fine type of cashmere wool and comes from the wool of the Cashmere goats, commonly known as chyangra in Nepali. Pashmina is usually only made in Kashmir and in Nepal.

Available in a wide range of colours, these hand woven shawls can help you look elegant & stylish. Pashmina shawls also keep you warm while being very, very light!

Not one for shawls? You can also find scarves, wraps, throws, stoles, etc. and more.

It’s also a good idea to check the label or ask the shopkeeper about the percentage of pashmina being used since some products are a blend of cashmere and pashmina of varying amounts.

Singing Bowls

Singing bowls are another popular Tibetan souvenir that you can easily find in Nepal. Focusing on healing and meditation this item comprises of a brass bowl and a wooden stick. The wooden stick is rubbed along the walls of the bowl to create a distinct “singing” sound.

The sound from singing bowls is believed to heal stress, pain, anxiety and other diseases, and also promote creative thinking, meditation and intuition.

You can find bowls in various sizes depending on your preference. If you don’t want a plain bowl you can also find singing bowls engraved with different types of spiritual motifs and Buddhist symbols.

Just remember to ask the shopkeeper for a lesson!

Lokta Paper Products

Lokta paper is paper made out of the fibrous inner bark of high elevation evergreen shrubs known as lokta bushes. This type of paper and production process is only found in Nepal with the oldest sample being roughly 1,000 to 1,900 years old!

Lokta paper has an interesting texture and a “rough” feel to it that makes it unique. It is durable and much more resistant to tearing, humidity, insects and mildew than regular paper. It also

You will be pleased to know that you can buy various products made out of lokta paper such as notebooks, photo frames, lampshades, writing sheets, greeting cards, wrapping paper and more.

Another reason to buy lokta paper products is to support the industry which majorly employs poorer rural Nepalese women.

Special Teas

One of the best things to take back home is the taste of Nepal!

The climate and soil of eastern Nepal is perfect for tea farming and there are various kinds of tea available in market such as golden tips tea, silver tips tea, fruit flavored tea, green tea and more.

Buy a couple of packets of special Nepali tea and brew a cup or tea when back home to recollect the good times!

Wooden Handicrafts

By Kuber Sodari (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Kuber Sodari (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

As you walk around Kathmandu, you will see a lot of shops selling colorful and beautiful art and crafts. As with most local products, these elaborate wooden handicrafts of traditional puppets, gods,and more are all handmade and hand painted making for a valuable gift for anyone back home.

Pick items like a wooden prayer wheel or a cardholder to look on your table. Or go for a wooden mask depicting gods or other mystical creatures to adorn your wall. And if your friends are Buddhists then a handmade Buddha will serve as a gift from your journey to Nepal.

Where can I Find These Items?

If you’ve opted for a Kathmandu city sightseeing tour, your travel agents will take you around common tourist locations such as Thamel, Patan Durbar Square, Kathmandu Durbar Square (Basantapur), or Bhaktapur Durbar Square, where you can easily find souvenir shops.

If you want a very specific design, for e.g. a thangka of a very specific scene then you may need to find a shop that produces thangkas. For these it is best to speak to your hotel or travel agent and they will be able to connect you to the right person.

Tips On Shopping In Nepal

Ready to pick out a souvenir? Check out some short tips before you go shopping:

  • Bargaining is normal in Nepal, and you should do it too! Unfortunately most shopkeepers will price items higher for foreigners so if possible take a local friend or a trusted guide to help.
  • Look out for counterfeit products! There is an influx of Chinese products in the local market so avoid buying ‘branded’ items in Nepal unless it is a local brand.
  • Pay in Nepali currency to avoid getting fleeced. Most hotels will exchange currency for you at the front desk or you can find exchangers in popular tourist areas like Thamel.
  • Customs agents may ask you for receipts when you get back home so make sure to ask for a proper bill (as far as possible) to avoid unnecessary hassle. Street vendors most likely won’t be able to give you a bill but these will be smaller items.
  • It’s always smart to ask the seller about the significance of symbols or translate the wording on items so that you can explain it to anyone who asks back home.

Have you already shopped in Nepal? Have we missed any of your favorite items or shopping destinations? Share your experiences in the comments section below!


Header image by Kuber Sodari (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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