Tuesday, 6 May 2014

kathmandu: thamel, green organic cafe, pumpernickel bakery, and other assorted things

A spice shop.

As we emerged from the airport and bundled ourselves into a taxi, I knew a nap would have to wait. Crazy traffic. Constant honking. Dust. Fumes. It was all there, all around us, as we sat, exhausted but enthralled, putting our trust in the driver navigating his way through Kathmandu.

Street snacks - nuts and other stuff.

We stayed in Thamel, the tourist district. The streets are narrow, spilling with various forms of transport. Cars, motorcycles, rickshaws, pedestrians. It's a tight squeeze. (And yes, that's a bong shop right there.)

A bong shop in the tourist district.

In the touristy area, we were frequently asked to look at teas, clothing, trinkets, and other souvenirs. One particular item that I found quite intriguing was the Sarangi, a Nepali string instrument which comes across as being similar to a mini version of a violin.

A sarangi man.

We did also venture out of Thamel, to catch more down-to-earth glimpses of the typical daily life in Kathmandu.

Deep-fried street food.

There are quite a few familiar sights - Nepal has some similarities to my home country, Malaysia.

Chickens to the slaughter.

We also visited a shopping centre called Civil Mall, and found this 12D cinema. We had to investigate, of course. Turned out it was one of those 3D interactive rides where you get a roller coaster experience in a theatre. It was fun - certainly not of the highest quality, compared to other similar rides I've had elsewhere, but that just made it more amusing, like a B-grade movie, haha!

12D cinema in Civil Mall in Sundhara, Kathmandu.

To quench our thirst, we purchased freshly squeezed juices from one of the many fruit shops around. We had a watermelon juice, which I think was 40 NPR (~$0.5 AUD), and a pomegranate juice, which was 150 NPR (~$1.75 AUD). I was a little nervous about drinking beverages that weren't boiled nor in a sealed bottle, but I am happy to report that on this occasion, the juices tasted great and we felt great afterwards, too.

A fruit juice shop.

Also, I can't wait to tell you about our most favourite place in Thamel, ever - Green Organic Cafe and Farmers Bar.

Our most favourite place in Thamel, Kathmandu - Green Organic Cafe and Farmers Bar.

We visited almost everyday while we were in Thamel, and we liked everything we ordered. With Kathmandu being both our first and last stop in Nepal, after weeks of travelling and at times having very repetitive meals, it was nice to find a place where we felt we could safely enjoy fresh salads as well as cold beverages for a change, without worrying about getting sick. The Nepali dishes here were great, but the Western ones were excellent as well, which is not something I can say for many places in Nepal - when in doubt, local food is usually the more delicious option. Here, however, it all pleased us.

The vegetarian lasagne, for example, was very scrumptious. So warm, comforting, cheesy...

Vegetarian lasagne at Green Organic Cafe.

We tried several salads and they were so good and wholesome. The Everest Victory Salad, lush with seasonal vegetables, sprouted mung beans, shiitake mushrooms, chicken, and homemade noodles, was one that we ordered often.

Everest Victory Salad at Green Organic Cafe.

The mutton curry was lovely, too - tender pieces of meat in a spicy yet gentle curry sauce - though I was slightly befuddled by the sweetness of the yoghurt served on the side.

Mutton curry at Green Organic Cafe.

The mixed fruit parfait was simple, but nice. Fruits, nuts, and homemade ice cream. Those coconut pieces, which also feature in some of their salads, were a big hit with us.

Fruits parfait at Green Organic Cafe.

We also had some really delicious drinks here, like their minty lemonade and hot rum punch. The prices at Green Organic Cafe are expensive by local standards, but still affordable for us, with mains ranging from 300 - 600 NPR (~$3.5 - $7 AUD).

Once in a while, we would also hang out at other places. Simon's mum recommended the Pumpernickel Bakery, and we went there a few times. It has a relaxing courtyard and an easygoing vibe.

Coffee at Pumpernickel Bakery.

I liked the vanilla roll (70 NPR / ~$0.80 AUD), a pastry with vanilla custard swirled inside. I made sure I got another one before we left for our flight back to Australia.

Vanilla roll at Pumpernickel Bakery.

Phew! That took a while to put together. In my next post I will take you to Pokhara, where we sample more of the local delights (and I do promise I will be showing you more proper Nepali food). Stay tuned!

Monkeys by the roadside in Kathmandu.


  1. All that food looks incredibly delicious. Super super good. Love the coconut pieces!

    1. The coconut pieces were great. I wonder if we can get something like that in Australia...

  2. Wow! Just the title of this post sounds fantastic. As for the photos! Ahhhhhhh.........

  3. i love the photo of the juice shop - the lovely orderly rows of produce (and juice bottles!) so colourful and neat. i t looks liek you ate well, leaf!

    1. Yeah, I love how vibrant those fruit juice shops are!

  4. These pictures are amazing. You've given me such an insight into Kathmandu - somewhere I have never been, but would love to get to one day. It sounds like a fantastic experience.

    1. It is pretty fantastic. And this is only one glimpse of it, more to come!

  5. Absolutely beautiful photos of such a fascinating place.

    The mama monkey and her baby! ♥

  6. Oh the chickens make me so sad :( Glad you found such an awesome organic café! Looks like my kind of hang out :)

  7. Beautiful post! Such an eye-opener. :)

    PS Have you seen the 4D cinema on Russell street? I think it's a similar concept to that 12D cinema :)

    1. Oh, I didn't know there was one on Russell St! I just checked out their website, definitely seems to be the same concept. I've been to one in Movie World in Gold Coast, as well. It's more expensive here in Australia, but they are much better quality as well. :)


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