The Old Freak Street: 60's Hippie Heaven

30 Nov, 2018 Great Nepal Treks


The Old Freak Street: 60's Hippie Heaven

Freak street, a.k.a. Jhochhen Tole, is a street located in Basantapur, southern side of Kathmandu Durbar Square.
Today, Freak Street is popular location among tourists as the vibes the street carries are amazing.
From tattoo parlors, eateries, handicraft stores to the gorgeous culture it reflects, Freak Street has it all, making it an ideal location for tourists from all around the world to visit.

Also Read: NEPAL’S LIVING GODDESS: KUMARI
However, in the '60s visited Freak Street was popular among tourists for totally different reasons. Back in the days, the 'Old' Freak Street was a sanctuary for hippies from all over the world, looking forward to getting their hands on legal cannabis.
In the '60s, Hippie tourism was a big thing in Nepal, and Freak Street was the hub for them. Freak Street was jam-packed with government-licensed stores selling marijuana legally to almost everyone.

                          An old menu from a restaurant in Freak Street

                                                      An old menu from a restaurant in Freak Street

                                                                 Source: The Kathmandu Post
Numerous pictures can also be found on the internet today, where Nepalese stores can be seen promoting their cannabis business with big boards and food menus which featured cannabis in every dish they served.
The 'Old' Freak Street attracted young people from all over the world, and most of them wanted to distant themselves from frustrations and drenched into the unique and fascinating culture and tradition of Nepal. Freak Street was a paradise for hippies with the Nepalese government fully supported the Hippie Tourism.

                              Old photo of a board in Freak Street

                                                 An old image of Freak Street, Basantapur

                                                               Source: Busy.org
At the time, direct transportation to Freak Street was available from the Tribhuvan Internation Airport, which showed the government's positive attitude towards Hippie Tourism.
However, this form of tourism came to an end almost a decade later. In the early '70s, things took a drastic turn. Under the direction of the government of USA, Freak Street's hippies were rounded-up, and a majority of them were physically deported to India. The government even came up with strict rules regarding dress codes and appearances for tourists which made hippies feel vulnerable. By the late '70s, the Hippie Tourism and Hippie Movement ended in Nepal.

Want to visit Freak Street? Take a look at our Kathmandu with Bhaktapur Tour Package.
While marijuana and hashish are no longer sold legally in Nepal, Freak Street still has some old vibes which makes it so unique. Whether you get high or not, Freak Street is always a great place to visit and hang out at.