Thamel is a tourist destination located in Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal. The word Thamel is believed to have been derived from the Newari word tha-bahil. The night life here is very good. Thamel is considered as an area that never sleeps and never closes. The narrow alleys of Thamel are crowded by locals and tourists. For four decades the pubs, monuments, cozy cafes and restaurants, magnificent temples, and narrow alleys of the Thamel have been serving the tourist industry of Nepal. The entire area of Thamel is a Wi-Fi zone. This place is the number one choice of all people for shopping for good food, clothes, music albums, and trekking gear and equipment. Thamel has been declared as a vehicle free zone to avoid the high traffic and crowd.
Thamel was previously known as Tabitha Bahal. The maze streets of Thamel consist of several stalls lined up one after another. The tag of a touristy place has led to an increase in the price of goods and services offered in this area. However, the goods and services sold here are one of a kind. The plethora of travel agencies located in this area provides the convenient services for those internal and external tourists coming to explore Nepal. Along with pedestrians roaming around the streets, Thamel is also filled with taxis, bicycles, rickshaws, and two-wheelers. Thamel also houses the several cozy cafes and restaurants that serve delicious and mouth-watering dishes.
Thamel at a Glance
Average Weather: 15° C to 25° C
Opening Time: 24 Hours
Entry Fee: Free
Major Attraction: Nightlife & Shopping
Tips for Thamel Visit
- Stay safe from the hash dealers on the streets of Thamel
- Don’t forget to bargain while buying any items. You can haggle about 2/3rd of the price state by the seller
- ATMs are available on every street
- Drink the liquor like beer rather than other hard drinks as they are comparatively expensive
- Don’t pay attention to the people who offer a guided tour to Thamel as they charge a large sum of money at the end of the day
- Always keep your travel documents safe and secure while strolling around Thamel
Major Attraction in Thamel
Even though the thriving nightlife and the shopping streets are the major highlights of Thamel, one can’t estimate how blissful and reviving a heritage walk across Thamel can be. Only a few visitors know about the other side of Thamel, the side which is beyond the parties and noises. Thamel is believed to be 1000 years old, which consists of the Nepalese gems. At the centre of this area, you can find Vikramshila Mahavihara Monastery, which is centuries old. Likewise, it houses the manuscript of Swayambhu Purana, which explains the story of Kathmandu valley.
Some of the popular cultural monuments of Thamel are:
- Tri Devi
This temple is devoted to the Goddesses Dakshinkali, Jawala Mai, and Mankamana. It is one of the less popular temples in Thamel that carries a huge historical significance.
- Sunken Ganesh Shrine
This shrine is devoted to Lord Ganesha. It lies in the northern region of Thamel, below a pavement. It is a bland concrete monument where the god is decorated with carvings and ornaments.
- Ghairi Dhara
It is a natural water source in Thamel, which was damaged severely by the 2015 earthquake. However, it is still used by locals there to fulfill the daily needs of water.
- Shiva Shrine
This shrine is devoted to the Lord Shiva and is very close to Thamel Marg. This temple is crowded daily and many pilgrims around the area visit here to worship daily.
- Ashoka Stupa
This stupa is devoted to a renowned Indian Emperor Ashoka and holds a rich historical significance of Nepal. Even though there is no proof regarding the date of its establishment, it is believed that it has been in Thamel for over 1000 years.
Shopping in Thamel
There are many shops and tourist companies in Thamel. The shops and vendors here generally sold foods, fresh vegetables, trekking gear and equipment, music DVDs, woolen items, handicrafts, souvenirs, pastries, clothes and so on. While shopping in Thamel, you can get a good bargain especially on handicraft materials. However, if you are not a good bargainer, then you can also choose to hire a Nepalese shopper’s assistant. Moreover, if you are good at basic Nepalese language and know about the average price rate of the products, then you might save yourself from overspending.
The major items to buy in Thamel are:
- Walking Gear
- Trekking Gear
- Warm Woolens
- Music DVDs
- Traditional Dishes etc.
Nightlife in Thamel
Thamel is the major entertainment area in Kathmandu. Most of the people visit this place to get rid from their day-to-day problems and stresses. Thamel is a home to a plethora of casinos, bars, and clubs, which operate 24 hours. Besides these, Thamel is also the most visited place by movie lovers as there are a few movie halls, which show the latest Nepali and Hindi movies. This area has been successful in stealing the limelight from its other neighboring areas. Among all the entertainment sources, casinos are the most popular and happening nightlife in Thamel.
Some of the popular casinos, movie theatres and nightclubs alive in Thamel are:
- Yak & Yeti
- Everest Hotel
- Soaltee Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza
- Hotel de I’Annapurna
- The Big Cinema
- QFX Movie Halls
- Electric Pagoda
- Neon Pub
- Tamas Lounge
- Tantra bar
- Funky Buddha
- House of Music
Restaurant in Thamel
Every tourist wants to taste the dishes of the place they visit. In the same way, Thamel is also the favorite among the people who love to taste the new food items. Thamel is filled with cozy restaurants, bevvy of bakeries, and street food joints. From Nepalese to Indian, Italian to Chinese, Korean to French, the restaurants here serve all kinds of dishes. Among all these cuisines, the most loved one is traditional Nepali cuisine. The mouth-watering flavor and the smell of the food items sold here have won the hearts of many.
Some of the famed eateries of this area are:
- Black Olives
- La Dolce Vita Resto
- Flat Iron Grill
- Cafe Mitra
- Northfield Cafe
- Momo Star
- Fire and Icc
How to Reach Thamel?
Thamel is the popular tourist hub of Nepal, which is connected to the major routes of the city. From the Tribhuvan International Airport, it takes about 20 minutes to get there in a taxi. You can also take a public bus from the airport and get off at Ratnapark. From there, you can reach Thamel within 10 to 15 minutes by walking. Besides this, you can also take a local bus from the city bus station or Tridevi Marg and get to Thamel in around 30 minutes. However, the local buses in Kathmandu are too crowded, so it is always best to hire a cab.
Overall, Thamel is one of the destinations in Nepal, which draws the attention of the people again and again. Owing to the cheerful locals, delicious foods, and thrift stores, this area is crowded with tourists. Anyone who is planning a visit to Nepal must include Thamel in their bucket list.
-By: Kusum Kharel for Land Nepal