A Travellerspoint blog

Shopping in Pokhara

Trekking equipment, natural fabrics, Himalayan hand-made paper, Tibetan bric-a-brac....

First things first... Money!

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Money:
Pokhara's lakeside is lined with innumerable ATMs and money changers. But be aware
that most Nepali banks charge a fee on international cards (Himalayan Bank: Rs. 400)
but some like Standard Chartered near Hallon Chowk did not charge my Indian
HDFC card any fee.

Indian currency is accepted everywhere at the fixed rate of 1 INR = 1.6 NPR.

Note: All prices below are in Nepali Rupee.

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Trekking Gear:
Being a trekking hub, Pokhara is heaven for buying trekking equipment. Mostly imitation merchandise from China. "North Face" backpacks, jackets, trousers
or "Sigg" canteens and other gear at a fraction of the original branded price but still very good quality.

Sample prices:
35L "North Face" backpack : Rs. 2200
1L "Sigg" water bottle : Rs. 250
"North Face"trekking trousers : Rs. 500-800

I bought all my equipment from Mount Annapurna Trekking Equipment Shop at very reasonable prices. The owner
Mrs. Savitri was most delightful and friendly. Her shop sits close to Hallon Chowk (walk towards Damside).
.

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Books and Maps:
Book shops are many and good for buying maps before your trek but the books are expensive
compared to India as mostly these are imported from India itself.

Sample prices:
On the Road by Jack Kerouac : Rs. 650
Maps small : Rs.200
Maps large : Rs. 450

They offer 10% discount on books.

Atlas Bookstore was my favourite bookshop. The prices are reasonable and the owner
is amicable and a great conversationalist.

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Himalayan Hand-made Paper:
Cards, postcards, diaries, showpieces, lampshades etc. made of Himalayan hand-made paper
are a great buy. So are postal stamps. Nepali postal stamps are bee-utiful. There are many
"Fair Price shops" that line the lakeside.

Sample prices:
Postcards :Rs. 10/20
Greeting cards :Rs. 35/60
Small Diary :Rs. 180
Postage to India :Rs. 25/35

My favourite shop was Western Women Paper Crafts
.

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Tibetan handicrafts:
You will see old Tibetan women everywhere on the street sides sitting patiently for making a sale of their unchanging collection of singing bowls, singing bells, brass and yak bone boxes, beads, masks and other bric-a-brac. The best place to buy these is not the lake side or Devi's falls but at the shops that line the outside of the Jangchub Choeling Gompa at Tashi Palkhel village a few kilometers from lakeside. Haggle shamelessly! (but politely please)

Sample prices:
Medium sized engraved singing bells : Rs. 800
Tiniest brass and yak bone box : Rs. 200

Natural Fabrics:
Another great buy is the custom made hemp and linen garments. My perfect fit pure hemp fashionably cut trousers cost me only Rs.1500 and were made within 1 hour. Designer kurtas, jackets and skirts also available in hemp, linen, cotton and blends.

Posted by sidtim 03:33 Archived in Nepal Tagged travel shopping guide pokhara Comments (0)

Same-same but different, in Nepal

I first saw the slogan "Same-Same but Different" on tourist t-shirts in Cambodia and it has stuck. In all travels, I inevitably compare the new country to home and undoubtedly find its "SSBD"

"Same-Same but Different", in Nepal

SSBD #1 Truck slogans
"Nepal pyaro chha"
"Mero babu ko aashirwaad"
" Zindagi darshan"
etc. are commonly seen behind Nepali trucks.

SSBD #2 Landscape
As I swype (Galaxy S2) out this post while riding the tourist bus from Kathmandu to Pokhara, I am stymied by the deep valley between the towering green mountains. The fertile slopes are terraced to asymmetrical precision. On this canvas are painted huge fields of pastel green cabbages or entire slopes of flooded paddy, reflecting the green and blue colours above. This terraced slope of monumental proportions rises majestically like the fabled Stairway to Heaven from a tumbling blue-water-river deep down to the clouds-snow concoction high above.
I have seen great scenery in Ladakh and Kashmir in India but this is just "SSBD".

SSBD #3 Ambitions
I saw a huge hoarding in a busy Kathmandu road with pictures of Taj Mahal and Gateway of India and well dressed professionals, with the "Same-Same but Different" slogan, "Study in India. Call us to make your dreams come true".
People here love Indian people and songs and movies and are eager to talk to me.
Apparently I would be classified as a "fish mara", pure vegetarian marwaris being the "pure maras" in the Nepali gastro-casto system!

SSBD #4 The Nepali language
Nepali seems to be a sweeter, almost childish version of Hindi and yet it is incomprehensible at the speed people here speak it!

SSBD #5 The Youth
I had the opportunity to be invited to a local bar with a bunch of Nepali students and got to observe them closely. Although I felt our struggles and joys are the same, the guys here don't seem to be burdened so much with modern ideas of development and are so much more relaxed and chilled out. Although this may be fast changing!

SSBD #6 Money
Now this is special. Nepal also uses the Rupee but
1 INR = 1.6 NPR
For the first time I am in a country with a currency devalued to mine and I can finally experience a luxury I grudged the white traveler. My room/dorm costs NPR 250, 3 big meals a day for NPR 400, 2 bus journeys around town costs 25 each. Attractions are NPR 100 for SAARC nationalities. Add the luxuries of once in 2 days extravagant meals/drinks (NPR 300) and once in 10 days inter city "tourist bus" journey (NPR 500). Do the math and its average NPR 1000/day.

And... Wait for it...
NPR 1000/day = INR 625/day
Return flight DEL-KTM is INR 9000.

Do I see a sparkle of wanderlust to your eye!

Posted by sidtim 10:43 Archived in Nepal Tagged nepal kathmandu pokhara musings Comments (0)

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