Trekking equipment, natural fabrics, Himalayan hand-made paper, Tibetan bric-a-brac....
First things first... 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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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
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)
Medium sized engraved singing bells : Rs. 800
Tiniest brass and yak bone box : Rs. 200
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.