very story has a beginning and Thamel also has one. In the early days, the town was nothing much but thick forests, few horses,and uneven pathways. located at the edge of the capital Katmandu, the inhabitats rarely saw foreign visitors and the area remained inconspicuous for over twenty years.
It was only when tourists began to arrive in Nepal in the 1970s, did the area experience a gradual change. Forest were cut down, new houses were built on farmlands,and roads were constructed. Slowly, local people started to open up various enterprises that catered to the needs of tourist. One by one, shops selling trekking gear, souvenirs, and fashionable clothing opened up and in no time at all, the once "sleepy" town turned into a comercial center packed with people, shops, and hotels. Bob Seger's populur song on Katmandu publicised Thamel further. The area has now become unrecognizable to the old residents of Thamel.
Today as you browse through the shops of Thamel, you will marvel at the different assortment of goods being sold. Whenever you look, you see on display different kinds of wood and metalworks, attractive masks, antiques, "rice papers" calendars, etc. A wide selection of garments, from stylish coats to light summer dresses are also exihibited for the shopper and items variety doesn't stop here. Many tailoring shops sell T-shirts with embroideried dragon motifs, the Third eye, Tin Tin in Tibet, the Yeti and other interesting characters as well as outlandish slogans. If you have your own logo or design then you can make special order. Numerous curios sell strange trinklets and beautifully painted boxes and antiques and jewelry shops have precious gems for sale. Handwoven carpets are eye-catchers and you can purchase delicately painted thangkas as wall hangings to adorn your living room back home.
The Ilam tea is famous around the world and so is the Khukuri - the knoves used by the brave Gurkha soldiers. Writing pads and envelopes made of lokta paper are found as well. The bronze and copper vessels are quite popular among buyers. Since there are so many kinds of items being sold in Thamel you will find no difficulty in selecting gifts for others.
Colorful sign boards attached tp electric poles invite the thirsty or hungry traveler to pubs and restaurants and hotel sign boards invite weary individuals to in comfortable rooms. If you are in the mood for continental dishes you need not worry. Thamel's restaurants serve German, Italian, Austrian, and French dishes including fast food like hot dogs, burgers and fries, pizzas, and sandwiches. At dessert time, you will not be able to resist the mouth-watering chocolate and carrot cake or lemon meringue and apple pie.
Travel agencies in Thamel will look after your travel plans and offer you tour packages that are interesting and relaxing. Besides, the Katmandu Durbar Square and Swayambhunath Stupa within walking distance from Thamel. The durbar square is filled with buildings and images like the house of the Living Goddess, the ferocious Kal Bhairab, the red monkey god. Trekking and rafting agencies abound in Thamel and the adventurer in search of excitement and thrills will not need to look elsewhere for information.
If you are a book lover and are in Thamel you will not be disappointed. Book shops sell a wide range of publications covering topics from mountaineering to Buddhism and they are priced reasonably too. You can purchase maps and trekking and travel guide books and send pretty postcards of the Himalayas and scenic lakes to your families and friends. If you also wish to trade or sell old books then you may find a book seller who will buy them for you.
During night time, Thamel is ablaze with lights. At the pubs, people enjoy exotic as well as familiar drinks as they listen to the music being played in the background. They dance, watch a movie, or sit around talking with old and new friends. In the evenings, many take a stroll around the area and simply enjoy the various colorful jewelery, handicraft, curio, and book shops. Visitors will not feel the time passing by because in Thamel the excitement never ends.
Copyright 1996 by Thamel Tourism Development Committee
Webmeister: Anita Shrestha, AMAA, INC