22 responses

  1. the candy trail … Michael Robert Powell
    January 7, 2013

    It seems that in the 21st century you can get the entire range of drugs & vice in every corner of the world – where mass tourism has arrived … Catering to Western tastes, I suppose.

    • Dave from The Longest Way Home
      January 9, 2013

      Places like Barrio Alto, Barcelona were pretty in your face about it at night. Ditto KTM. So yes, you’ve a valid point there Michael. I can’t say I don’t go out looking for drugs. In KTM they seem to come looking for you. I think in other touristy towns it’s who you hang with and where as well. The history of drugs in KTM is what I find interesting. Just imagine what Kabul was like back in the day. I imagine in about 20 years it might be what KTM was like 20 years ago.

  2. paul nunan
    January 7, 2013

    I have vivid memories of waking in kathmandu and walking to durbar square and drinking tea from a street vendor and feeling like i was truly in another world.That was 1979 and Freak street was famous for pumpkin pie as much as smoking hash,but the true memories of Nepal and Kathmandu that never go away was nearly straining my neck trying to see the peak of those majestic mountains and feeling completely surrounded by them.Hard drugs in those days were not that plentiful in kathmandu and the picture you paint now is very different to my days.But like you i would not hestitiate going back to kathmandu but not for the hash etc.but for the mountains and medival feeling that kathmandu hopefully still holds in places like Durbar square.

    • Dave from The Longest Way Home
      January 9, 2013

      I certainly got/get that “another world” feeling about KTM. All those old buildings that look so different to so many other places in the world. The streets, the mix of old and cultures. Yes, very off world like.

      Today there are more motorbikes around than ever. Mandala Street in KTM has been renovated to shiny brick level. Yes, Patan, Durbar Square and Baktaphur still have the another world feel to them at first glance. I haven’t heard many tourists explain it like that other than you or I. Perhaps the fact it now costs 750 rupees just to enter Durbar Square has something to do with it. We were/are lucky to have seen that other world when we did Paul.

  3. Jan
    January 7, 2013

    Stellar read. Incredible to see how one countries influence unseated a much more relaxed country into this. Not the first time either. And as you pointed out, ironic.

    • Dave from The Longest Way Home
      January 9, 2013

      I think that’s always been the way. One country influences another. In this case the irony is that what’s going on in the country contradicts what they wanted elsewhere.

  4. Emma
    January 7, 2013

    A well put together piece. Enjoyed reading it if not for the facts of today but that interesting history!

    • Dave from The Longest Way Home
      January 9, 2013

      Thank you!

  5. Harry
    January 9, 2013

    Times have changed for the worse. Nepal will wants to be Bhutan. Only they can’t do it as they are living off years of US aid. So they let the drugs flow through. Anyone thinking China doesn’t have a role is barmy. The US did more to screw things up than just latin America.

    • Dave from The Longest Way Home
      January 9, 2013

      To me, higher prices/fees, the never changing politics and the rise of pollution are some of the worst changes.

  6. Jason
    January 16, 2013

    I read this a while ago now Dave on the RSS. I remember my early times in Kathmandu where we stayed in a great little place in Freak Street. Thamel was starting to get a little expensive back then for the ultra budget and the glory days of Freak Street were well behind it but we still enjoyed the atmosphere.

    We were approached on a few occasions for drugs during this time, but from your account it appears that things have changed dramatically.

    Lets hope it doesn’t get as bad as Morocco where I was offered quite a large quantity of hash as I was walking towards the customs at the port of Tangiers!

    • Dave from The Longest Way Home
      January 25, 2013

      I don’t think causal smuggling will be an issue in Nepal like Morocco. They’ve already got a few paid off trucks from what I hear!

      I personally found the offers of prostitution along with drugs being offered on the streets have grown a lot. The street dealers haven’t really grown in number, but what’s on offer certainly has!

  7. Mark
    January 25, 2013

    Interesting story, but I have found a general tone of it a bit unnerving. Drugs are bad, just say no, shit is annoying. I like cannabis and I can’t wait to get my hands on Nepali hash when I get to Kathmandu. If I don’t buy it from a street dealer, then, who am I suppose to buy it from? We all know it’s possible to get arrested. How about some advice on how avoid undercover cops?

    • Dave from The Longest Way Home
      January 25, 2013

      I don’t think there’s any lecturing about the pro’s and con’s of “taking drugs” here. In regards to getting caught buying or selling then those are simply the facts.

      If one were to read the bit about it’s easy to spot “strung out tourists” then one could guess what/who the police would usually target.

      After that, you’re on your own!

  8. DCanna
    June 24, 2013

    great read, thanks alot for the info!
    im planning on a trip to nepal, in the next 6months to a year.
    im young, just turned 20…. i guess im one of those “desginer hippies” you mentioned above lol
    i’ve been fascinated by the cannabis culture in nepal, due to what ive read online. i wasn’t imagining it to be similar to the 60’s but i must admit its a real shame to imagine the picture you’ve painted in the article. i guess i’ve been fairly naive to think it had escaped the negatives that the western culture can bring.
    i wont lie, my main reason to visit is to sample the hash,charas and herb and to see the plants. though im very keen on taking in the culture, hindu culture and trekking and seeing the fabulous sites.
    i’d appreciate if there is any advice you feel you can give me?

    • Dave from The Longest Way Home
      June 25, 2013

      For what to do in Nepal I can certainly tell you that reading over my Nepal travel guides will help you a lot. In regards to drugs then all I say to you is to exercise caution as drugs such as the ones you mention are 100% illegal in Nepal and carry hefty prison sentences not to mention serious health issues.

  9. Drago
    December 5, 2013

    Those seeking sources should seek (link-removed)
    Quite easy to find, not only from seedy city dealers but also from every third uncle who sells a few tolas to supplement the family income.

    Before denigrating cannabis, one must recognise that it has been used as a sacred plant in India and Nepal for thousands of years. The drug war history illustrated here demonstrates clearly how prohibition led to the proliferation of harder drugs and drug crime, along with police and government corruption profiting directly from the drug war. The only solution is legalisation – not only would all drug war problems cease, along with industrial hemp it would empower the nepali economy like nothing else could.

    “Prison is for murderers, rapists, and thieves. If you put someone in prison for possessing a plant that helps them relax, you’re the fucking criminal.” -Joe Rogan

  10. Shannon
    March 24, 2014

    Awesome read, especially about the history! Very interesting stuff. On another note Ive got this idea in my head that there are opium dens in KTM and was wondering if anyone know if anyone knows how to find them?? Or am I wrong and I should get off the drugs? cheers!

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