Last year my summary of the Christmas bazaars around town was so popular I thought to do it again this year. So here you go. The best places, many of them featuring fair-trade and ethical producers, to do your shopping. As more and more of these markets and bazaars are popping up so please excuse me if your event is not here.
Ecole Française International de Katmandou (the French School)
This is the second year the French School has run a Christmas market. Apart from the obvious wonderful stalls, last year children were having a ball playing on the playground items in the school. So it’s a great market to shop in peace while your children are fully occupied. And of course, it is French themed with a host of French vendors.
What to expect: French and local produce, including gifts, children’s toys, jewelry, leather craft, etc. Face painting, bouncy castle, and other activities and games for the children. Food and drink will have a French theme with Chez Caroline, among others, being there.
The details: Saturday 30 November, 10am to 4pm at the school premises, Lazimpat. Free entrance.
Awon Christmas Bazaar
Awon, or Active Women of Nepal, is a non-profit organization that aims to make a difference in the lives of disadvantaged women and children.
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 30 December, 10am till dusk at the Soaltee Crown Plaza. Rs 100 for adults, Rs 50 for children was charged last year, so expect the same.
GIZ Fair Trade Christmas Bazaar
At the GTZ Christmas Bazaar you can purchase goods from fair trade vendors, so you know your money is well spent. On sale are lots of goodies for the home and family.
What to Expect: Again artisans will be on hand with live demonstrations for the whole family. Food and drink is available, including Gluhwein (hot, spiced wine) and other German delicacies.
The details: Saturday 7 December, 11am to 6pm, at Hotel Yellow Durbar (previously known as the International Club), Sanepa. Entrance free.
Summit Hotel Christmas Bazaar
This is the one I look forward to every year for its fabulous Christmas ambiance. Most of the items on sale are from non-profit vendors but there is a wide range of other goods such as silver jewelry, face and body products. Homemade cakes and pastries will also be available.
What to expect: Come in daylight hours when it’s warmer or 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 would want to make Christmas special if staying in Kathmandu, or take a few gift items back to your own country. Plenty of food and drink is available in the garden or in the hotel’s warm bar and restaurant.
The details: Sunday 8 December, 10am to 6pm seems to be the new time, at the Summit Hotel, Sanepa. Free entrance.
Once again Le Sherpa will add additional Christmas themed gift stalls to their usual Saturday market so we can enjoy doing our organic veggie shopping, eating at our favorite stalls and thinking ahead about Christmas gifts.
What to expect: Christmas inspired gift stalls, and some of their food stalls should be producing Christmas inspired foods. Plenty for the kids to do there also while parents might sip on a glass of wine over lunch at Le Sherpa.
The details: Saturdays, 1, 8 and 15 December, 8.30am till 12.30pm, Le Sherpa premises, Panipokhari. Free entrance.
New This Year
Timro and the Hub Christmas Market at the Hub
Timro Concept Store and the Hub are joining hands to bring you handmade gift items from local artisans, bakes and mulled wine, in a warm setting in the heart of Thamel. As it runs into the evening, maybe this is our more adult choice of Christmas market!
When and where: Saturday 30 November, 1-8pm, at the Hub. Free entrance.
The Local Project and Astrek Park Thamel
This year The Local Project will be in collaboration with the Astrek Park Bazaar where they will be displaying Nepal made, classy and unique products that we know and love.
When and where: Sunday 8 December, Astrek Park, Thamel.
Solis Performing Arts
For the first time Solis Performing Arts is hosting a Christmas market.
When and where: Saturday 14 December, 12- 4pm, Ullens School.
Christmas Mart at the Chhaya Centre
This year sees the Chhaya Centre getting in on the act, with stalls, food stalls, games live music, Santa Claus and a kids zone up and running over three days. Christmas lights and decorations and a fun time to be had, particularly by the children.
When and where: Friday 13 December till Sunday 15th. At the Chhaya Centre in Thamel. Free entrance.
Shop for Christmas Food Too
What’s a festival without some sweet treats? Once again it’s time to check out what the big hotels and local bakeries have in store for us. Try the Annapurna Hotel, Shangri-la Hotel and the Radisson Hotel cake shops for Christmas inspired cookies and cakes. We expect that the Kathmandu Marriott’s Kathmandu Bakery Co. will have something sweet for us too! Lakuri Bakery (Soma Café, Baluwatar) will be making their Christmas cupcakes, chocolate Yule logs and iced Christmas cookies. Check out Hermans Bakery in Sanepa. There are many more outlets so go take a walk round your neighborhood! On the savory side, check out Flat Iron Grill (Ambassador Hotel) for a range of pre-ordered Christmas hams and other meats.