Quiet and remote though Pokhara may be, the shopping here is as good as anywhere in Kathmandu - some would say even better. With markets being outdoors, shopping takes on a whole different meaning. It is an opportunity to mingle with the locals, breath the clean fresh air of the countryside and gaze upon nature's most majestic creation - the Himalayas - while picking up souvenirs to remind you of your holiday in paradise.
There are shops in Pokhara that have all the supplies you could need for your trip, from food, cameras, photographic film and detergent to alcohol and sweets.
It's fun shopping in Pokhara and our Pokhara shopping guide below will tell you how to get the best deals and the best places to pick up a bargain. And after a day of shopping, relax in one of the tasty Pokhara restaurants by the lake or near the markets. For more general Nepal shopping information, check out our Nepal shopping guide.
Pokhara Shopping Guide
Keep an eye on quality as you fill up your bags with gifts - you wouldn't want to buy clothes for your friends only to have them fall apart at the seams in one wear. With a little care while selecting, you can land some really great bargains. Also try and explore the shops beyond the touristy lakeside area. You are likely to get good quality goods at better prices if you explore the area close to the Kantipur Hotel and the Fishtail Lodge gate.
The Pokhara Cottage Emporium in this location has luxurious pashmina shawls at affordable prices, handmade jewellery and wall hangings. They even custom-make anything you like, so if you have a few days to spare, why not pick up a one of a kind souvenir or a gift for someone special? The store opens early and does business until later than other shops, making it ideal for tourists.
There are department stores in Pokhara but they have limited merchandise on offer - accessories, bags, cosmetics and women's clothing are usually available.
The main markets in Pokhara are in the areas close to the Dam and Lake, where most tourists spend their time. The shops selling souvenirs and little curios are fun to shop at and the stall holders are friendly but not pushy, unlike those one encounters in Kathmandu.
Prices, though, are not as cheap as in Kathmandu and the variety is limited. Things you must take away from any trip here are wooden flasks, dolls wearing the traditional Nepali costume, Shaligram stones with fossils embedded in them from Kali Gandaki, as well as Batik work products.
The Tibetan market offers some unusual items, including hand-made wall hangings emblazoned with unique designs of spiritual and iconic importance. Some of the wall hangings look like the real thing and are usually well made too, but are created locally and not in Tibet.
Some hawkers also sell their wares at the lakeside eateries. Carpets made by the Tibetan settlers are popular as are woollens made by hand. Sweaters and socks may not be of very high quality, but they will keep you warm on treks.
Also available at the market are T-shirts with embroidered motifs, masks, bags and clothes. The shops across the road from the palace have the best rates. The Dam and Lakeside shops are smaller but have a good collection of products overall. Book lovers may find some good books at throwaway prices at the second hand books market.
There are also a lot of Kashmiris who have relocated to Pokhara and their shops selling Asian artwork are now part of the landscape in the Lake area. The Kashmiri shops have some beautifully crafted papier-mâché and some exquisite but extremely expensive carpets as well as soapstone knick knacks.
The famous Thanka Paintings (also pronounced "Thaangka") that you will see quite often on your trip to Pokhara are made from craft paper or cloth and are easy to pack and carry home. These paintings are a typical Tibetan art form and many have actually been made by refugees and shipped to Nepal. Making a Thanka artwork can take hours, but you could sit and watch an artist at work as he creates one before your very eyes.
You can definitely bargain on prices, sometimes getting as much as a 50% discount on quoted rates. Your dollars, pounds or euro are sure to get you a great exchange rate against the Nepalese currency, so a lot of the shopping you do here will seem like it is discounted already, but don't hesitate to bargain anyway! Be fair when you do this, though, since Pokhara isn't an economically strong area and many people depend on tourists' dollars for survival.