Top Ten Treks in the Nepalese Himalaya

Kathmandu Valley

Not everyone has the time, drive, or stamina to make a trek into the Himalaya. This should not be a reason for feeling like you have missed out on some of the unique things that Nepal has to offer. In fact, many visitors to Nepal leave for the mountains a little too quickly and never enjoy the treasures closer at hand. Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal and major city in the Kathmandu Valley, is replete with unique buildings, temples, sites and smells. But there are also other cities and many area temples, all within easy walking distance of downtown Durbar Square at the center of Kathmandu. Patan, just to the south of Kathmandu and almost an extension of it, is considered the most "Buddhist" of the valley's three principal centers, and Bhaktapur to the east the most "medieval." Both have a feel similar to that of Kathmandu's, but without the population density and frenetic tourist pace. Of the temples in the valley, Swayambhunath (also called Monkey Temple for the hordes of monkeys living in its shadow) is the closest. A quick jaunt to the west of the capital, it is on a hill and enjoys generous views of the surroundings. The most famous temple in Nepal, Pashupatinath, cannot be visited by non-Hindus. That said, the setting, on the holy Bagmati River just to the east of Kathmandu, is very peaceful. Bodhnath, one of the biggest stupas in the world, is two kilometers through some fields further to the east, and can be visited in the same day. Changunarayan, a two-hour walk from Bhaktapur is visited by few foreigners, and Nagarkot, a town four hours from Bhaktapur, has some of the best Himalayan views in the area. There is so much more. Give the valley its due.


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