Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal has a population of approximately 1 million people and is situated at an elevation of approximately 1,400 metres in a valley in central Nepal. Tribhuvan International Airport is the gateway to the country where most of Nepal’s tourists arrive.
Kathmandu itself is a bustling city but has numerous tourist attractions and excellent shopping and dining so is worth a visit even if heading off trekking at higher altitudes. Highlights include Durbar Square, from where Nepal’s kings once ruled and Thamel for it’s excellent shopping and dining as well as Swayambhunath Buddhist (or monkey) Temple. Kathmandu suffered damage in the 2015 earthquake, but numerous ancient building escaped relatively unscathed.
Pashupatinath is the site of Nepal’s most important Hindu temple. The current temple was built in the 15th century but the site has been of religious significance for many hundreds of years before that. There are over 500 temples in the complex with the main temple built in Nepalese pagoda style.
Bodhnath Stupa is the largest stupa in Nepal and indeed in Asia and the holiest Buddhist temple outside of Tibet. It was built around the 14th century. Thousands of Buddhist worshipers and pilgrims gather daily to perform a kora or circumnavigation of the stupa.
Along with Kathmandu and Bakhtapur, Patan is one of Nepal’s three royal cities and is a centre for Buddhist and Hindu culture. The city has some amazing architecture and temples. The highlight of Patan are the buildings around Durbar Square.
Nagarkot, perched on a ridge, not far from Kathmandu has one of the best viewpoints of the Himalaya in the area. Many of the hotels have balconies that look out across the mountains.
An interesting Newari town, Dhulikhel like Nagarkot, offers fine views of the Himalaya and has some temples that are worth visiting and pleasant walks in the surrounding countryside.
The ancient town of Khirtipur, close to Kathmandu, has some interesting Buddhist and Hindu temples and buildings
Pharping is a small Newari village south-
Bhaktapur, an ancient Newari city close to Kathmandu, with a population of around 80,000 suffered badly in the 2015 earthquake with many buildings destroyed, however there are still a good number of temples that escaped.