Kathmandu’s tourist neighbourhood of Thamel has been a ghost town for most of 2020, but just like Pokhara and Chitwan it is now bustling with Nepalis who are going out with a vengeance.
Cooped up at home for the best part of the year, and despite a surge in coronavirus cases in Kathmandu Valley, young Nepalis are thronging to nightclubs and resto-bars in Thamel and Darbar Marg.
Public health experts have warned that the nightspots could become coronavirus hotspots, but that does not seem to deter Nepalis determined to have a good time.
After Pokhara, Thamel, Kathmandu’s prime nightlife destination and popular pre-base camp for trekkers and mountaineers is now opening up to local visitors as they await international tourists to return.
Streets in Thamel, Pokhara’s lakeside and Sauraha that for months were deserted had started filling up again with rowdy revellers since Dasain, and the footfalls have been increasing ever since.
Taxis and rickshaws are once more waiting for passengers, souvenir shops are crowded with Nepalis, and bars are thrumming with live rock music.