Welcome to Kathmandu

Kathmandu is the gateway to the Himalayas, and the centre of everything in Nepal. One of the most colourful cities in the world, it is a welcome assault on your senses, full of both sweet and unpleasant smells, incessant noise, pollution and superb sights which become etched into memory. Narrow alleys are bustling with temples, shops, restaurants, Kathmandu hotels and overflowing with vegetables and spices. Throngs of people walk along the cobblestone streets lined with buildings of ancient architecture, leading to open squares surrounded by magnificent temples.

Wherever you look in Kathmandu there's always something interesting: ancient temples, statues, sadhu's in bright saffron robes or Tibetan monks chanting or spinning prayer wheels.

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Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal is also the most developed and largest city in the country. It is located in the Kathmandu Valley which spreads out over 218 square miles of land and is 4400ft (1400m) above sea level and consists of the three historical and culturally artistic towns of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur.

Kathmandu is the core of Nepali traditional culture and arts and there is a lot to see and do. This is the place where you can relax or take an interesting Kathmandu tour to see some of the historic and artistic temples and monuments.

Home to the royal palace, most of the government offices, embassies and corporate houses, Kathmandu is famous for its architecture and the numerous Hindu and Buddhist temples and palaces from the seventeenth century. Durbar Square, which is the old palace of the kings of Newar, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is located in Basantapur near Freak Street, which was a famous place for hippies in the seventies.

Next to Thamel, the heart of tourism in the country stands the Shah King's Palace. West of the Palace are two parallel streets which have a multitude of Kathmandu hotels of all categories. The Palace is at the beginning of Durbar Marg, a street full of rows of shops. Due to the rich Newari culture and heritage in Kathmandu, most of the street names originate from "Nepal Bhasa".

Being the tourist hub of the country, Kathmandu offers a range of services including international flights, fascinating Kathmandu tours, and authentic places to stay. It has a range of Kathmandu hotels for all budgets, and plenty of restaurants in Thamel, and therefore able to cater for all sorts of modern travellers. By using our Kathmandu map you can even choose your hotel in Kathmandu based on its location. You can also enjoy the unique shopping and night-life complete with an incredible view of the mountains.

Overlooked by the snow-capped mountains of the Himalayas, Kathmandu Valley is surrounded by a fertile agricultural hillside which is dotted with conventional villages and brick houses. A huge treasure of culture and tradition is reflected in the ancient holy temples and shrines frequented by both Hindus and Buddhists.

Taking a tour in Kathmandu is the perfect way to learn more about the history and culture of the country. You will find representatives of most of the ethnic groups in the Valley itself, particularly in Kathmandu. However, the Newars, who are the original inhabitants of Nepal, are responsible for the fabulous art and architecture in the cities as well as the development all around

Due to the recent military conflict between the government and the Maoist rebels, it is advisable for tourists to register with their consulates on arrival and avoid public demonstrations. Although tourists have not been the target of politically motivated violence, it is advisable to steer clear of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Frequent strikes and protests are a major inconvenience for tourists since it results in the closure of all shops, restaurants, and modes of transport.

While violent crime is rare in Kathmandu, always keep an eye on your belongings since pickpockets are very common in crowded areas. If the room in your Kathmandu hotel does not have a good lock or secure windows, please store all valuables in a safety deposit box of the hotel or on yourself. Avoid walking after dark as in any large city.

One of the most fascinating cities in the world, Kathmandu is a wonderful place to visit. The largest city in Nepal, and its historical centre, it is a blend of the country's diverse population and its distinctive ancient religious influence is reflected in the daily lives of the people. On first arrival, Kathmandu can be a bit of a culture shock due to its massive diversity from the west, but a place that seeps into your soul and encourages repeat visits.