Kathmandu's Street Markets Tour, Kathmandu

Kathmandu's Street Markets Tour (Self Guided), Kathmandu

Kathmandu is a true heaven for shoppers who are ready to explore street markets. In this city, street markets are the place where you can buy quality products at good price - monk's robes, soft silks, woolen garments, artifacts, etc. The list is truly endless. Unfortunately, in Kathmandu you are not allowed to buy authentic antiques, but you can purchase copies. Check out the most popular street markets in Kathmandu following this self-guided walking tour.
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Kathmandu's Street Markets Tour Map

Guide Name: Kathmandu's Street Markets Tour
Guide Location: Nepal » Kathmandu (See other walking tours in Kathmandu)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 Km or 1.4 Miles
Author: helenp
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • New Road
  • Durbar Square
  • Old Freak Street
  • Makhan Tole Street
  • Indra Chowk and Akash Bhairab Temple
  • Asan Bazar
  • Thamel Bazar
New Road

1) New Road

New Road is the financial hub and a busy high street in Kathmandu. It refers to a two lane street in the center of Kathmandu, as well as the surrounding neighborhood. Being near the midpoint of the ring road in Kathmandu, as well as the old center of Kathmandu (Kathmandu Durbar Square, also known as Basantapur, Kathmandu), it is one of the central locations in the city.

It is one of the busiest marketplaces in the city. Here you can purchase imported luxury items of high quality. A couple of small shops on New Road are dedicated to the traditional musical instruments of Nepal - fiddles, flutes, etc. Another traditional souvenir sold here is the khukri - a traditional knife.

The road was built during the period of prime ministership Juddha Shumsher Jung Bahadur Rana after the 1934 Nepal–India earthquake destroyed many buildings in the Kathmandu Valley. It was formally called Juddha Sadak in his honor. The road can also be referred as old Kings Way of Nepal, as the road leads to old royal palace of Royal Families, Kathmandu Durbar Square which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The headquarter of Nepal Airlines is located on the Eastern end of New Road, next to New Road Gate, which marks the start of New Road at the crossing with Kantipath. A statue of Juddha Shumsher Jung Bahadur Rana is located at the westernmost roundabout of the road Head offices of Gorkhapatra Sansthan and Nepal Bank Limited are also located at New Road. Bhughol Park is located on the southwestern corner of the street.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Durbar Square

2) Durbar Square (must see)

Durbar Square is a royal palace complex in Kathmandu. The square's full name is Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square, named after the statue of Hanuman, a Hindu god, situated at the entrance.

The first royal palaces were constructed during the third century. Due to repeat reconstruction, nothing is left of those first buildings. Several structures around Durbar Square collapsed in 2015 when a 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck the region. The oldest building destroyed was the 7th-century Kasthamandap, a three-storied temple enshrining the deity of Gorakhnath.

It is thought that the existing palaces were built in the 10th century by Gunakamadeva, the ruler who founded the city of Kathmandu. They were not declared royal palaces until sometime during the reign of King Ratna Malla in the late 15th or early 16th century. The Durbar Square was the center of power until 1896 but continues to be used for coronations.

Structures around the complex include the 16th-century temples of Jagannath, Kotilingeshwara, Mahadev, Mahendreshwara, and Taleju. Other temples are the 18th-century Bhagavati Temple and the 17th-century Degutale Temple.

The Gaddi Durbar Neoclassical Palace was built in Durbar Square in 1908. It was designed in European architectural style with Greek columns and white plaster. The palace was used for coronations and to welcome heads of state from other countries. The Kumari Chock, a red-colored royal palace at the southern end of Durbar Square, is an even more popular attraction. It consists of the Raj Kumari or the Living Goddess, a preadolescence girl in a gilded cage, thought to be the human incarnation of the goddess Durga.

The Hanuman Dhoka Palace is open to visitors. Tourists can see the staterooms and the museums. The two museums inside the Hanuman Dhoka Palace are the King Tribhuvan Memorial Museum and the Mahendra Museum.

Durbar Square is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Old Freak Street

3) Old Freak Street

Old Freak Street is a small street located near Durbar Square. It was given the name Freak Street, as it was the center of the hippie trail of Kathmandu during the 1960s and 1970s.

The primary attraction to Freak Street during the 1960s was the government-run hashish shops. With few places offering legal hashish, the hippie trail brought visitors from all over the world. The area became filled with artists who added their flavor to the art and architecture of Kathmandu.

The Government of Nepal began to impose dress codes and regulations on tourists in the 1970s. They also banned the production and sale of hashish, which caused the hippie movement to disappear.

Today, Old Freak Street serves as a reminder of the Hippie Trail. Visitors will find shops and restaurants where the hashish stores used to be. They also have access to Kumari Ghar, the palace of the living goddess Kumari.
Makhan Tole Street

4) Makhan Tole Street

Makhan Tole, also known as Makhan Tol, is situated north of the famous Durbar Square. This area is popular among shoppers because here thangka, paubha and other fine arts are sold by numerous dealers. A thangka is a form of art, widespread in Tibet. It is a piece of silk on which Buddhist deities or mandalas are embroidered. A paubha represents the Nepali version of thangka - a scroll upon which the painting is done.
Indra Chowk and Akash Bhairab Temple

5) Indra Chowk and Akash Bhairab Temple

Indra Chowk is a lively market square in Kathmandu. It houses colorful shops and stalls that sell a variety of wares. Visitors will see spices, textiles, beads, jewelry, ornaments, and produce. Street food stands serve traditional Nepali foods. The square is named after Indra, lord of heaven in Hindu mythology.

There are two primary temples in Indra Chowk square. These are the Seto Machindranath Temple and the Akash Bhairab Temple. The Akash Bhairab Temple is guarded by gilded statues that sit atop the entrance on a balcony.

Akash Bhairab Temple is thought to have been the palace of King Yalambar, the first king of Nepal. The head of Akash Bhairab is said to hold the spirit of the king. He is known as the God of the Sky.

The large head of Akash Bhairab is removed during the Yenya Festival each September and blessed by the living goddess Kumari. During the ceremony, a large number of worshippers come to visit the temple. They bring gifts of flowers, money, and food.
Asan Bazar

6) Asan Bazar

Asan Bazar is a traditional market and residential square located in the historical center of Kathmandu. Numerous shops stand, and street vendors line the square where five busy streets converge. Shoppers come from throughout the city, making it a lively place for tourism, people-watching, and circulating with locals.

The history of the Asan Market dates to ancient times. Because Kathmandu is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, the Market has been a mainstay in the region before most of the architecture was in place.

Asan Market offers a large variety of goods. Shoppers will find food, spices, textiles, electronics, candles, religious items, cosmetics, incense, and souvenirs.

Tourists will see many attractive places near Asan Market. The Temple of Annapurna Ajima and the Temple of Ganesh are the most beautiful structures. The Temple of Annapurna Ajima honors the goddess of food and grain, apt for an area riffed with food and grain products for sale.
Thamel Bazar

7) Thamel Bazar

Thamel Bazar is a shopping area in the Thamel neighborhood of Kathmandu. It is a popular tourist area due to the prevalence of artists who have spent many years occupying the area.

The center of the tourist industry, the Thamel occupies several narrow streets and alleys. Vendors and shops line the streets selling their wares to tourists and locals. Some products available at Thamel Bazar are fresh fruits and vegetables, pastries, handicrafts, souvenirs, and textiles.

Those who wish to stop and eat will find stands that sell freshly made food. Numerous restaurants and cafes selling traditional Nepali cuisine are also nearby.

Along with the local vendors, there are also a variety of pubs, clubs, and small grocery stores scattered throughout the neighborhood. Most shops are open from 9 AM to 10 PM, but the activity does not stop when the shops close. Thamel is known for its nightlife; the clubs often stay open well past midnight.

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