Nepal has an abundance of fabulous festivals and here is one more for the celebration calendar. And even if you are not celebrating Christmas, Christmas markets act as a one-stop-shop for gift-hunters! Not only a big shopping opportunity, these markets are great social events to mingle with people from all walks of life. The markets mentioned here are not the only ones in town so check out venues near you!
The GIZ Christmas Bazaar offers an opportunity to purchase goods from fair trade vendors
The Kathmandu Chorale host their annual Holiday Concert on Dec 8, Saturday
Awon Christmas Bazaar
This is among the pioneers of Christmas markets in Kathmandu. AWON, or Active Women of Nepal, is a non-profit organisation that aims to make a difference in the lives of disadvantaged women and children. This year sees the Awon Christmas Bazaar head to a new venue. Over the years, as new markets joined the Christmas calendar, the AWON Bazaar lost some of its sparkle. So let’s see whether the new location can bring life back into this long-established event.
What to expect: Goods on display include a range of items mainly from not-for-profit vendors. Food stalls have been a feature in the past.
The details: Saturday Dec 1, 10am to 5pm, Soaltee Crown Plaza. Rs100 for adults, Rs50 for children.
GIZ Fair Trade Christmas Bazaar
GIZ is a German INGO which has been working in Nepal since 1974 in more than 60 districts. The GIZ Fair Trade Christmas Bazaar offers an opportunity to purchase goods from fair trade vendors—from Christmas decorations to items for children and the home.
What to expect: Artisans will be on hand with live demonstrations to inform and entertain the whole family. Children will have the opportunity to block print their own Christmas cards. The International Club offers room for children to run around and food, including Gluhwein (hot, spiced wine) and German delicacies, will be available.
The details: Saturday Dec 1, 11am to 5pm, at the International Club, Sanepa. Entrance free.
Summit Hotel Christmas Bazaar
This is another pioneer of the Christmas market scene in Kathmandu. And perhaps it offers the most in terms of Christmas ambiance. Again, the vast majority of goods on sale are from non-profit vendors but there is a wide range of other goods such as silver jewellery, face and body products, pashminas etc as well.
What to expect: Come in daylight hours when it’s warmer or come after dark when the twinkling lights and the sound of the Kathmandu Choral singing fills the air. There are dozens of stalls selling everything one could want to make Christmas special, including authentic Christmas cake. Plenty of food and drink is available in the garden, or take advantage of the hotel’s warm bar and restaurant.
The details: Sunday Dec 9, noon to 8pm at the Summit Hotel, Sanepa. Free entrance.
Ecole Française International de Katmandou (the French School)
This is the first time the French School will be hosting a Christmas market, so here is an opportunity for those of us who have not been there to take a look around their green environment! As the school is focused on French education in Nepal, they have brought a French theme to Christmas with a host of French vendors, shops, artists, and restaurants.
What to expect: French and local produce, including gifts, children’s toys, jewellery, leather craft, etc. To keep the children occupied there will be face painting, bouncy castle, and other activities and games. Food and drink will have a French theme and includes a barbeque and French Himalayan cheeses, including Raclette (hot melted cheese).
The details: Saturday Dec 1, 10am to 4pm at the school premises, Lazimpat. Free entrance.
While not a Christmas market as such, Le Sherpa will add additional Christmas themed gift stalls to their usual Saturday market.
What to expect: In addition to fresh produce, there will be Christmas themed stalls and goodies. Plenty of space for children to run around in and if it all becomes too much, parents can always escape to Le Sherpa restaurant for brunch.
The details: Saturday Dec 1, 8 and 15, 8.30am till 12.30pm, Le Sherpa premises, Panipokhari. Free entrance.
The Local Project
Bringing together local artisans The Local Project is hosting three Christmas Markets at different locations.
What to expect: Beautifully crafted and unique gifts all made in Nepal.
The details: Friday Nov 30, 6 to 10pm, at Evoke; Saturday Dec 8, 2 to 6pm at Moksh; Saturday Dec 15, 4 to 8pm at Basecamp. Free entrance.
Festivals also Need Music!
Where and When: The Kathmandu Chorale will be hosting their annual Holiday Concert on Saturday Dec 8, at the British School at 3pm and 6pm. Free admission, charity donations welcome.
What’s a festival without some yummy treats? Check out the Annapurna Hotel, Shangri-la Hotel and the Radisson Hotel cake shops for Christmas inspired cookies and cakes. Lakuri Bakery (Soma Café, Baluwatar) will once again be making their Christmas cupcakes, chocolate Yule logs and iced Christmas cookies. Meanwhile, Hermans Bakery (Sanepa) will be baking Christmas inspired goodies; as will bakeries in your neighbourhood!