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Kathmandu

With its ornate palaces, temples and squares surrounded by fluttering prayer flags and souring mountains, the capital of Nepal is an extraordinary, almost otherworldly, place just waiting to be discovered.

Kathmandu is ideal for exploring by foot, as the intoxicating and ancient city offers a startling array of market stalls and craft shops to wander around and be tempted by. Better still than the beautiful locally-produced goods found here are the lively people, who are considered to be amongst some of the friendliest in Asia.

Well-suited to those with an adventurous spirit, this colourful city is home to fascinating courtyards and chambers of the Royal Palace and Durbar Square with its highly-detailed wooden temples that date back to the 12th and 18th centuries. Celebrated as one of the eight Cultural World Heritage sites by UNESCO, this area remains the beating heart of the city, despite being affected by the earthquake in 2015. It has a charming feel about it that verges on magical, which can also be felt at the Red Towers with their cityscape views overlooking the surrounding mountain peaks. If you are after a particularly spiritual experience, make sure to visit Pashupatinath Temple set on the banks of the holy Bagmati river for it is arguably the most important Hindu temple in the country with a palpable atmosphere.

Other highlights of Kathmandu include various interesting sites in the outlying area around the city: from Swayambhunath temple, a 2,000-year-old Buddhist stupa supporting a lofty conical spire capped by a copper-gilded pinnacle, to Bhaktapur, an enchanting ancient city with a labyrinthine of winding alleyways and a stunning palatial complex brimming with architectural gems.

Set within the glorious snow-capped Himalayan terrain of Nepal, home to some of the highest mountains in the world, Kathmandu sits at an altitude of 1,370 metres.

>> Read our blog: Kathmandu: Insider's Guide

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