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The end point of the hippy trail and the starting point for Edmund Hilary's pioneering ascent of Everest, Kathmandu is like nowhere else on earth. Buddhist monks and sadhus (Hindu ascetics) wander the streets in search of enlightenment and travelers marvel at towering medieval temples and courtyards dripping with carvings and prayer flags. The best preserved part of the city is the maze-like old town, squeezed between Thamel, the main tourist area, and Durbar Square, a temple-filled courtyard backing onto the old royal palace. Peace has returned to Kathmandu with the signing of a truce between Maoists and the government in 2006 and travelers ...

The end point of the hippy trail and the starting point for Edmund Hilary's pioneering ascent of Everest, Kathmandu is like nowhere else on earth. Buddhist monks and sadhus (Hindu ascetics) wander the streets in search of enlightenment and travelers marvel at towering medieval temples and courtyards dripping with carvings and prayer flags. The best preserved part of the city is the maze-like old town, squeezed between Thamel, the main tourist area, and Durbar Square, a temple-filled courtyard backing onto the old royal palace. Peace has returned to Kathmandu with the signing of a truce between Maoists and the government in 2006 and travelers are once again filling the guest-houses in Thamel and the upmarket hotels around Lazimpat. Don't restrict yourself to the center - the surrounding hills are dotted with gilded stupas, medieval towns, ancient wooden temples and viewpoints offering giddying views over the Himalaya. Make time for Bhaktapur, Patan and the stupas at Bodhnath and Swayambhunath.

Joe Bindloss
About the Expert

Joe Bindloss has written more than 30 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, Time Out and other publishers, with a focus on Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent and island nations.

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Joe Bindloss for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Kathmandu is the capital and the largest city of Nepal. The city is situated in Kathmandu Valley that also contains two other cities - Patan and Bhaktapur.
  • Language: Nepali
  • Currency: Rupee
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    October to November, February to April, before and after the monsoon.