Basics of buying a camera in Kathmandu

Broken your old camera or suddenly decided Nepal is so beautiful you want to buy a better camera? What ever the reason you need a new camera you'll be pleased to know that Kathmandu has plenty of camera stores. However, you must be careful before buying.

Typical Camera Store in Thamel
Typical Camera Store in Thamel

Indoor and outdoor wall climbing has been available in Kathmandu city for years. It's a fun activity for nearly all the family, adding in some adrenaline and adventure to your travels.

There have been plenty of indoor rock and wall climbing businesses over the years.

When going, make sure to check out all the equipment before using it. Ask if there's an instructor.

Some of the wall climbing centers have strange pricing structures, so do confirm everything before signing up, e.g., equipment included, etc.

Did you know ...

Not sure what sort of camera you need in Nepal? Read this article on camera equipment for trekking in Nepal.

Where to find camera shops in Kathmandu

There are two main areas to find most of the camera stores in Kathmandu: Thamel and New Road (near Kathmandu Durbar Square). Both have their advantages and disadvantages.

Camera Stores in Thamel:

Thamel is the main tourist hub in Kathmandu and probably the first place that you'll see camera stores. Most sell everything from compact cameras to high-end DSLRs. Nearly all the stores sell at the same price. The only difference will be how well you can bargain or like the salesperson.

Camera Mart and Thamel Photo Zone are located just down from Narshing Chowk in Thamel. They are practically identical in what they sell: DSLRs, tripods, and compacts.

There are another three camera stores located on the street parallel to Thamel chowk. One opposite Kathmandu Guest House and the other two down the road past Hot Breads Bakery. Again, most are identical to what they sell.

Pro's of buying a camera in Thamel:

  • Nearby tourist hub
  • Several stores in one central location

Con's of buying in Thamel

  • Prices start high
  • Choices sometimes low

Camera Stores along New Road:

Most "insiders" will tell you New Road is the best place to buy a camera. In some ways, they are correct as that's where most locals buy cameras. There's also a good choice of shops there too.

The Canon Store is not an official outlet of Canon, no matter what people say. It's a reseller called New Camera Home that's one of the oldest there. Prices are about the same as Thamel, but they have a good range of DSLRs in stock.

Nikon, Sony, and Olympus camera buyers will have equal choices on all the stores either side of the Canon store on New Road.

Pro's of buying a camera in New Road:

  • Single row of 5-7 camera stores
  • Good range of cameras

Con's of buying in New Road:

  • Prices start high
  • Customer service can be low


Fake camera equipment in Kathmandu?

There were rumors many years ago that there were fake cameras and camera equipment in Kathmandu. The truth is less worrying but you do need to watch out for somethings.

DSLRs are all real. Copying a Canon, Nikon, Sony, or Olympus is not cheap, so it's extremely rare to find a fake DSLR. You might find a new camera that's not so new or a strange Chinese-named camera, but that's about it.

Branded compact cameras are generally real. However, do be very careful about buying a too good to be true priced camera from an unknown brand. Cheap Chinese and Indian cameras are often pushed for sales.

Memory cards are often either fake or not good quality. This applies to all the stores in Kathmandu. There's not much you can do here other than take many photos (in fast succession) with the card in store and if you get any errors, don't buy it.

Batteries are also a huge problem in Kathmandu. Nearly all AA batteries are fake. Generally speaking, compact and DSLR camera batteries are okay. But do check packaging and look out for cheap quality.

Tripods, camera bags, and equipment. Most camera equipment is unbranded and comes from either China or India. Do test out all the equipment personally. Tripods might have loose fittings, and bags may have bad stitching.

Where to get your camera repaired in Kathmandu

If you've run into camera problems in Nepal then you'll probably want to get it repaired as soon as possible so you won't miss out on those precious memories.

There's a very simple answer here. All the above camera stores and locations will repair your camera. All can also expedite your repair. Do keep in mind these are local repairs and non-official repairs so any warranties you may have could be void.

The catch in all this is that most of these camera stores all use the same repair facility. It's run by one man, Kiran Shrestha, for the past 20 years and his small team. The store has no name, but it's know as the Camera Repair Shop (01-4417771/985-1093993). It's located on Leknath Marg in North Thamel. Follow Thamel Marg all the way to the top until you get to the main road, then take a right. It's about three stores down (beside Makalu Tailors) on the right at the back of a small indoor parking garage. You can read more here about where to get your camera repaired in Kathmandu.

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