Thamel, Kathmandu

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Travel Features >> Thamel, Kathmandu

Thamel, Kathmandu

April 01, 2011

In Thamel, a sprawling locality of pubs and pool parlours, bookstores and budget hotels, t-shirt stalls and teahouses, it’s impossible not to see why Kathmandu is hot. The life of the city, this is where the young and the youthful are headed, where cars and cows share not only an anatomical organ but also the road, where the hobos have settled down and where you can spend hours and hours just finding the alley that your hotel is on. The thing about Thamel isn’t that it sells anything special, but that it is special in spite of not doing so!

Thamel lies at the very heart of Kathmandu. The neatest way to approach it is from Tridevi Marg that comes down the front of the Hanuman Dhoka Palace.
Coming due west down the road, you’ll find Thamel on your left. The street side shops here offer only a sample of what waits inside. Take the alley going in to find tattoo parlours and video shops, restaurants and trinket sellers, souvenir stalls and traces of incense smoke. The rest we will leave you to explore!

You’ll find information centres and the Department of Immigration office, which issues trekking permits is right at the Tridevi Marg entrance to Thamel. The entry fee collection centre for the national parks (like Sagarmatha and Annapurna) is just across the street from the Immigration Office. Thamel also has a good amount of currency exchange bureaux.

Recommendations: The Rum Doodle Restaurant and it’s 40,000 ½-Foot Bar, which is named after a book and serves a cool cocktail; the Typical Nepali Restaurant 'cos how gutsy is it to call a spade a spade; Pilgrim’s Book House – the earliest travellers were pilgrims; Pumpernickel Bakery for the best croissants in town.

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