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By Margaret Hampford
Thamel is the thriving tourist centre of Kathmandu, hosting wonderful shops, great bars and many charming cafes. We know it is the top spot for travelers but the Tourism Times wanted to find out what went on behind the scenes, so we spoke to people working in the shops and cafes to explore the magic behind Thamel and find out more about their experiences.
Bishwu – Café Mandap
I have worked at the Mandap café for ten years and have seen many changes to the area in my time. One of the key factors has been the earthquake of 2015 that killed nearly 9,000 people. Since the disaster I have seen a decline in tourists coming to my café, which before was always very busy. The Indian blockade to Nepal also had an effect on the amount of tourists coming to Thamel, and I can still see the effects of it now.
Amit – Music n’ expression DVD and CD shop
I have worked in my CD and DVD shop since 2003. I have noticed a significant decrease in tourism; I would probably say that it is down almost 50% than what it was before the earthquake. Before the earthquake I didn’t manage to have lunch because we were so busy. But now we are seeing many shops having to close and we are surviving in a hard time. However, I accept that it takes time to recover and that hopefully I will soon see a time when the shop is full again!
Krishna – Café Bretzel
I am a waiter at the Bretzel café and have worked here for five years. I have enjoyed my time here very
much and really like working in Thamel. The weather really affects the amount of tourists that come and during the monsoon the number of tourists decreases. Our busiest season is between September to December. I love being in Thamel, it feels like you are at the heart of Kathmandu.
Som – Champawati Tours & Travels LTD.
I am the managing director of a tour and travel company that has been based in Thamel for the last nine year
s. It is a seasonable business so at the moment we are seeing a quite patch, although I know that it will get busy again come October. I think Thamel there could be many ways to improve Thamel, have you seen the roads! The roads can often make it very difficult for people to make their way around Thamel and to get to our shop but hopefully they will be mended in time.
Ramesh – Gutam Buddha Pashmina Industries
I started my business ten years ago and have enjoyed my time working. Today I am working in here with my wife and my sister in law. Since the time I opened the shop here I have seen the number of tourists go up and down. I believe that this is due to the earthquake as it put many tourists off of coming here. He also points out the uneven and muddy roads and sees this as a contributing factor to the lack of tourists coming to his shops. The roads here are also very bad and I believe that this may also affect the amount of people who come into my shop. My shop is in the ‘heart of Thamel’ and the roads being bad may put many off coming past my shop. I believe that the business could be improved with further effort to mend the roads.
Mira – Asian Kathmandu Handicraft
I have worked in my jewelry shop for five years and have enjoyed my time here. We are seeing a slowdown in the amount of customers to the shop due to the season, however, this lull is expected and I understand that business is usually up and down. My favorite thing about working in Thamel is all of the tourists that come into my shop!
Hampford is an intern at the Tourism Times