In ornate Bhaktapur, known as the Temple City, admire unusual animal paintings in the National Art Gallery, located in the old Malla Palace. Other museums include the National Woodworking Museum, showing fine examples of renowned Newari woodcarving, and the Brass and Bronze Museum.
Hire a mountain bike and peddle your way around the quieter corners of the Kathmandu Valley. Be rewarded with stunning valley vistas, especially from Nagarot in the Bhaktapur District, which also boasts a view of Everest’s snow-topped peak.
Nepal’s calendar is packed with colourful festivals. Holi, in spring, sees people splattered with bright powdered paint, and a three-tier umbrella erected in Kathmandu’s Durbar Square, while autumn’s Indra Jatra includes an appearance by the Kumari Devi, Nepal’s living goddess.
Get close to Everest’s peak without the leg work by taking a scenic flight. Most domestic airlines arrange flights in light aircraft, and flights are also available from Pokhara and other locations west of the capital, flying over the spectacular Annapurna range.
Enjoy the magic of Nepal’s capital Kathmandu: the cultural, commercial and business hub. The bars of bustling Thamel are packed with travellers, while in Durbar Square, discover a wonderful collection of temples and shrines, the old Royal Palace, and the Statue of Hanuman the Monkey God.
Pashupatinath is the oldest Hindu temple in Kathmandu, and is found on the banks of the Bagmati river in the eastern part of the city. See the many sadhus – wandering Hindu holy men swathed in bright red and yellow robes – who make pilgrimages to the river’s holy waters.
Patan has long-standing artistic traditions. As well as an array of beautifully crafted goods, discover ancient historic and artistic landmarks, including Patan Durbar Square, Krishna Mandir, the Royal Bath, the Kumbheshwor Temple and the Golden Temple.
The tried and tested method of getting great views of Nepal’s wildlife is by elephant back. Plod your way through national parks, such as the Royal Bardia National Park or the Royal Chitwan National Park, for the best possible chance of spotting rhinos, wild elephant and, if you’re very lucky, the orange streak of a Bengal tiger.
With its mountainous terrain, Nepal’s array of crashing rivers offer world-class rafting conditions. From the swirling challenges of the Marsyangdi River, to the scenic Trisuli River, thrash it out on the country’s exhilarating waterways for an extra-special experience.
Relax after a mighty trek by taking a rowing boat out on Phewa Tal, the mesmerising lake in the Pokhara Valley. See the reflections of the Annapurna range glinting in the calm waters, and glide across to the Barahi mandir temple, situated on the island in the lake.
This, Nepal’s oldest national park, is home to endangered Royal Bengal tigers and the one-horned Indian rhino. Explore Royal Chitwan National Park by elephant-back, foot sarafi or even spend a night in a jungle watch tower listening to the weird and wonderful sounds of the jungle.
Scout for Tibetan handicrafts and artefacts at the hugely impressive Bodnath Stupa, a centre of Tibetan exile culture, just a short ride from central Kathmandu. Alternatively, visit the lively bazaar in the hill town of Gorkha – the ancestral home of the Shah Dynasty and residence of the original Gurkha soldiers.
Visit the Shrine of Ganesh the Elephant God, reputed to bring good luck. There are four Ganesh temples in the valley, each a masterpiece of Nepalese architecture: one in Kathmandu’s Durbar Square, one in Chabahil, one in Chobar and one near Bhaktapur.
Siddha Gufa, the largest cave in Nepal, features spectacular undulating limestone formations. It is found just outside the hilltop Newari village of Bandipur, a short trek (about one and a half hours) away.
Stop on the way up the steep steps to Kathmandu’s Swayambhunath Stupa (also known as the monkey temple) to watch the spritely community of monkeys, and have your fortune told by a Tibetan astrologer. From the temple itself, be treated to views over Kathmandu.
Nepal’s undulating landscape is particularly breathtaking from the air. Try ballooning, hang-gliding or even have a go at flying a micro-light plane, from Kathmandu, Pokhara or the Langtang region. Paragliding is also a popular activity in Pokhara.
Stretch your legs with the short but steep walk from Bandipur, south of Pokhara, to visit the Thani Mai Temple. The architecture around the preserved Newari village is stunning. Equally impressive are the Himalayan views, particularly spectacular at sunset.