You can not leave Kathmandu without buying one of the locally produced Cashmere/Pashmina.

You would be surprised to know that Nepal is one of the important producers of Cashmere. A lot of the products are sold locally through shops targeting tourists, but most of the produce is exported to various parts of the world including Europe, USA, Japan and India.

In case you are wondering what the difference between Cashmere and Pashmina is, there is none. Pashmina is a word used in this region (specially India and Nepal) to describe Cashmere. However some shop keepers will try and sell it as the best form of Cashmere, some will explain it as a blend of Cashmere and Silk and some will even attempt to make you believe it is totally different and superior to Cashmere. Fact of the matter is Pashmina and Cashmere are simply different words used to describe products made from cashmere wool derived from the cashmere goats (Capra Hircus). For more information on Cashmere you can visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cashmere...

You can buy any of the many products available through hundreds of shops scattered across Kathmandu. A woven scarf, a knitted pullover, a warm cashmere blanket, soft and luxurious hats and gloves. There is something for everyone. It is recommended to visit a Factory Outlet to be sure of the quality. Some of them are known to offer lifetime purity guarantee which makes a lot of sense as you are buying something which is supposed to last a life time. Most of the authentic Factory Outlets will have fixed prices and seldom negotiate. However there is no harm is asking for a tourist discount.

Also ask for a VAT bill. This will authenticate your purchase in case any guarantee is offered and you can also claim the VAT back at the airport making your purchase cheaper by around 10%.

A word of caution tough. There are many shops, specially in tourist areas, selling Cashmere at crazy cheap prices. These are merely tourist traps selling fake and substandard Cashmere. You have to use your judgement to stay away from such establishments. If its too cheap to be Cashmere, it surely is NOT Cashmere. Another way to judge a shop would be by way they negotiate. A 5-15% reduction is considered normal, anything more suggests trouble, one way or another.

Cashmere is not cheap, its not meant to be. A good Cashmere should last you for years, so don't let price guide your buying decision. Happy Shopping and Good Luck. Wishing you a pleasant and enjoyable stay in Nepal.