Buying a Camera in Kathmandu

For some reason, this is questions I get a lot: “Can I buy a camera when I come to Kathmandu? Where? How much?”

And the answer: Yes, Kathmandu has loads of camera shops and you can get all the new Canons, Nikons, Sony’s etc. You can get the glass-ware (lenses) as well, but more sophisticated accessories can be tricky to get a hold of. I have given up on getting a simple spare part for my Sigma flash here in Kathmandu.

I had one guy, or was it a girl?, ask me if he/she could buy rolls of black-and-white film here? Also tricky, it’s far from normal. But I’m sure it must be possible if you’re still on that old technology. Ask around in the printing labs, they’ll know.

Where to go?
- I don’t want to recommend any shop over the other, but that said, it’s basically “Snapper Photo” and “all the rest”. At Snapper, you’ll get a receipt and pay 10% more or so. The rest are selling “grey market” import from Singapore, smuggled to Nepal without paying custom fees. Sure some custom officer must be getting really fat somewhere… Head to New Road, the one stretching out East from Kathmandu’s Durbar Square or walk around on the outskirts of Thamel, the tourist ghetto. See map below for details.

Prices
Ok now, prices are generally quite reasonable here, cheaper than most of Europe, not as cheap as New York. It also depends a bit on your negotiation skills. You can usually get a little discount, but don’t expect much.

Camera Repair
One more thing, if you have Canon equipment in need of cleaning or repair, there is an authorized repair center here in Kathmandu! Called PRIMAX, I believe. Located, again, on New Rd, on the south side. Keep your eyes open and it should be possible to discover their sign. I am a regular customer there, they are quite nice and do a good job. Might take some time though…

Map of Kathmandu. Click to see big size (despite the embedded copyright notice, it is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.1, downloaded from lirung.com)

Map of Kathmandu. Click to see big size! (despite the embedded copyright notice, it is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.1, downloaded from lirung.com)

You can pick up your own Kathmandu Map here, and if you are going trekking in Himalaya, don’t miss this blog. Loads of tips and recommendations to make you trekking trip a success. Happy travels!

13 Responses to “Buying a Camera in Kathmandu”

  1. [...] the Patan / Lalitpur map below or see the Kathmandu map at the end of the previous [...]

  2. Morten, you’re a gem - what a good idea to answer my tired question online! Thanks. I will be in touch…

  3. Just a little update here, I mentioned the ‘Snapper’-shop. But must say, I’ve now become quite fed up with them! They promise a delivery date and then don’t even place the order by the time they should have delivered. That’s just to mention one incident. There are a couple more, won’t give guarantees now either.

    But a lot of camera shops these days are facing hard times. Global recession, no tourists, photo business slow, cash flow issues and hence less camera gear in stock…

    Come to the conclusion that Snapper is neither better nor worse than any of the other hawker shops…

  4. As a westerner living in Nepal, most of my Canon equipment was purchased in Kathmandu, New Road. Back in the 90s, this was the place to get your hands on gear at the right price, sadly those good days appear to have long gone. True to say you shall find better prices than those in Europe, yet about same as USA. A word of warning, buying Canon equipments in Nepal, canon digital carries no warranty.

    As for having anything repaired, forget it. True to say, a dealer will undoubtly promise to have your much loved equipment back and working in just a few day,hand it over at your peril, months pass-by and nothing comes back, a big let down. It is a pity that Canon and Nikon cannot cultivate their distributors into providing a better service.

    Depending on which location you are coming from, consider buying a duty free and make sure you get some sort of guarantee, one that covers you back in your home country.

    The good news is that nepal is a photographer’s heaven, come well prepared.

    Enjoy

  5. Hi Nigel,

    thanks for your input. Yes, the good old days are gone and prices aren\’t what they used to be around here. Still a bit better than Denmark, where I\’m from… As for repair, you are right on the money. Be very careful with dealers and their promises! I\’ll still say that the PRIMAX folks are doing an ok job for Canon stuff though.

    best,
    Morten

  6. I would part second Nigel. Somethngs coe without a warranty, some things with. They won’t tell you! Literally check the box for that green and white piece of paper.
    I bought a 50mm canon f1.4 lens here - turns out the build is not very robus - and discovered it had no warranty after the first breakdown.
    Later I bough a Speedlite Transmitter / ST-E2 and a warranty is there.

    There was a rumour that as gear gets heavy use on the trail in Nepal compared to say the streets of Singapore, Canon are reluctant to issue warranties as the chances of them being used are much higher.

    If you ask for a warranty on a lens, you can expect to pay an extra 15%.

    And I second Morten - Primax are not too bad for Canon repairs.

  7. Hi Morten,

    Can one buy a camera sensor cleaning kit from the Canon dealer or elsewhere in Kathmandu? Heading over there later today from my litltle town in the US.

    Many thanks,
    Kevin

  8. Hi Kevin - not to my knowledge, but ask around on new road. Probably easier to order online if anyone wants to ship to Nepal…

    have a good trip!

  9. Hi, my Canon EOS 5D was stolen in Kathmandu, and I ended up replacing it with the 5D Mark II here. I checked out all the stores on New Road, and I also came to the conclusion, that New Snapper is the best choice to buy the camera.
    They were the only ones honest about the fact that this camera came without warranty and no VAT back at the border. They said one with warranty would be around $300 (10%) more, and I would have to wait for the camera.

  10. Hi, You have done a very great job, I am a student of BHM( Bachlor\’s of Hotel Management) from Kathmandu, i have applied for the visa to Denmark for Internship programme in Marriot Hotel, but i am unknown about that place can you please help me out to know the what may be the average cost of living( Fooding and lodging) in Copenhegan? I also like photography very very much but i am not a professional photographer. looking further for your reply.
    Regards- Naveen.

  11. hi Naveen, average cost of living in copenhagen, perhaps 1 to 2.000 euros per month for the basics. — Also don’t forget we pay tax here, so you need to earn more than that. To save money, you really need to find some fellow expats or such, and share a place with them.

  12. Hello! Namaste!
    I am here on assignment in Nepal. Upon arrival we discovered our JVCHD110 video camera was damaged during transport. We have contacts searching now for a technician in Kathmandu and New Delhi, however if anyone on your boards has any ideas recommendations or even a service manual in pdf format it would help. I think I can repair it I have the manual…

  13. Anyone suggest me from where can i buy Think Tank Airport International V2.0 camera bag in Nepal ????