Thamel in Kathmandu is a maze of tiny streets with hundreds of shop packed in next to one another, their goods spilling out onto the street.
But it is here in this travellers epicentre, where you can find all that you need to fill your bag with souvineer goodies. You can pick up the embroided ‘My friend was in Nepal and all I got was this bloody t-shirt’ shirts or even some ‘authentic’ pashmina and cashmere shawls and cardigans.
And, of course there is the endless supply of trekking stores all selling everything North Face. From jackets to sleeping bags, to torches and water filters-you can really get everything you need here for your trek ahead!
The supermarkets and mini marts are equally well equipped for the overseas traveller and backpacker. Packed to the brim with cheap alcohol, last minute beauty supplies and the all important packs of chocolate to take with you on your trek. Quite often Ant or I would run down to one of the many mini marts and pick up some chocolates to go with one of the cheap dvd’s we just purchased too (okay and maybe a small flask of gin to go with our lime and tonic water!)
This supermarket pictured above was my return point. I am absolutely no good with directions, so this was landmark to help me navigate my way back to our guest house everytime I got lost!
You could easily spend a day walking through the streets and enjoy the buzz of activities that happens around you. Shop owners constantly throwing water out onto the street in front of their to reduce dust dirtying their items, school children running up through the street in their lunch break-their laughs being heard in between the honking of motorbike and fruit vendors selling their fruit to any who would like to buy delicious mandarins or apples.
Because it is such a popular place for tourists, you can actually be quite spoilt for choice when it comes to food. After eating vegetarian meals for two months in India I reveled in getting my western fix here.
We were enjoyed the best coffee we had over the course of our travels from ‘Cafe Chops’. It was our regular morning spot with a coffee and fresh croissant!
It doesn’t take long before you have left the streets of Thamel and can begin to see the regular side of Kathmandu, without it’s WiFi signs at every corner or trekking stores & tours.
Just outside of Thamel we walked past a Barbers and really wondered how he cuts peoples hair so well in the space he has!
A little further along and streets that once were packed with overflowing shops are replaced by ramshackled houses and daily life amongst the Nepalese.
Of course, it only does take one left or right turn and you are then right back in the action of Kathmandu.
There always seems to be some order amongst the chaos with people, rickshaws, cars and motorbikes all knowing and dodging there way around one another.