The Best Markets in Kathmandu, Nepal

Asan Market is a blur of activity and stimulation in Kathmandu
Asan Market is a blur of activity and stimulation in Kathmandu | © Thomas Dutour / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Elen Turner
Contributor8 November 2021

From ancient bazaars to contemporary art markets, Kathmandu – the capital of Nepal – is a hive of commercial activity, and visiting its eclectic markets is one of the best ways to soak up the atmosphere. Whether you’re browsing for handcrafted souvenirs or buying Himalayan rock salt, gourmet cheese, fresh fruit and vegetables, there’s little you won’t find. Here, we’ve selected the best markets to visit in Kathmandu.

Interested in visiting? Kathmandu is just one of several fantastic destinations, along with Pokhara and Chitwan National Park, featured on Culture Trip’s specially curated 11-day Nepal adventure – led by our Local Insider.

Asan Market

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Daytime in Asan Market, busy with workers, locals and tourists in Kathmandu
© Crystal Image / Alamy Stock Photo

More than just a market, Asan (also spelled Ason) is a lively neighbourhood with several temples and stupas, old Newari buildings, its own festivals and a distinguished history. Asan was on the India-Tibet trade route and has had a bustling marketplace for centuries, on a square at which six streets meet. Along the congested lanes around it, vendors sell traditional Nepali items including dried spices, textiles, wedding paraphernalia and more. It’s open daily from 5am until 9pm, except Tuesdays, when it closes at 9am.

New Road Gate

Market, Street Food
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Less of a clearly defined market and more of a general shopping area, New Road – one of the busiest streets in Kathmandu – is among the best places in the city for bargain-hunting. You can find almost anything here, from jewellery and clothing to electronics and street food. Don’t be afraid to negotiate for a lower price, and be prepared for it to get extremely crowded during the day – embracing the chaos is all part of the fun. It’s open daily from 8am until 8pm.

Kalimati Fruit and Vegetable Market

Bazaar, Market
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A vendor assembles oranges at Kalimati Fruit and Vegetable Market, Kathmandu
© "ZUMA Press, Inc. / Alamy Stock Photo"

The Kalimati market (open daily from 2am until 8.30pm) is generally overlooked by visitors, and therefore has more of a low-key atmosphere. At this wholesale market, you can find everything from marigold garlands to dried chillies. If you’re particularly interested in food and fresh produce, it’s definitely worth taking a stroll to check out the raw ingredients that go into many meals served in the city’s restaurants.

1905 Farmer's Market

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The 1905 Restaurant and boutique hotel in Naxal (previously on Kantipath) holds an organic farmer’s market on Saturday mornings. It’s a popular weekend hangout for residents of Kathmandu’s north side. As well as basic ingredients that can be bought to prepare at home, there’s also a range of ready-to-eat items for sale, such as pastries and cakes. Prices are higher than at most markets in Kathmandu, but the quality is excellent.

Organic Agro Market

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Another weekend farmer’s market, also held on Saturday mornings, this one is convenient for those staying in the Boudha area, known as the Tibetan enclave of Kathmandu. It’s held on the grounds of the red-brick, modernist Taragaon Museum, beside the upmarket Hyatt Regency hotel. The quality of the produce is particularly good, as it’s the only market in Kathmandu certified by the District Agriculture Development Office.

The Art Market

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Three black-and-white photographic prints, framed and hung on a yellow wall at the Art Market, Kathmandu
Courtesy of The Yellow House / Expedia

The Art Market, established by the Yellow House bed and breakfast in Sanepa, focuses on the contemporary arts and crafts of Nepali designers. Here, you can expect to find one-off paintings, screen-printed T-shirts, contemporary photography, handcrafted jewellery and more. There’s usually live music and the Yellow House is a popular choice for brunch. The market is especially lively in the last few months of the year as more vendors appear on the grounds. It has no regular schedule, however, and the location varies – so if you want to go, check the Facebook page for the latest updates ahead of your visit.

NexUs Night Market

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Kathmandu isn’t known for its nightlife, but the NexUs Night Market – which launched in early 2018 – has taken small steps to change that. On the last Friday of every month, live music, food and stalls selling handcrafted items pop up in the garden of NexUs, a community arts and activism space. It’s connected to the Village Cafe, a Newari restaurant run by local women, which is a great place to head for some post-browsing dinner. The usual schedule has been halted by the Covid-19 pandemic, however, so check the Facebook page for the latest updates.

These recommendations were updated on November 8, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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