Imagine walking through a dark alley smelling of algae and alcohol, which then opens up to a square which houses an old temple, surrounded by equally old houses, with tiled roof, brick walls, and wooden windows. There are few old people, basking the sun on the floor of the temple, talking, smiling the moment they catch you looking. Time seems to stand still and you don’t know which year it is but a quick scan and you will find wires in front of the houses, you will hear a horn from somewhere far, an advertisement is running in a tv somewhere else. And you are brought back to the present. This is what Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal provides to its visitors, shock, and surprise. The older part of the city is filled with small alleys that join each other like capillaries and semi-private courtyards with shops. The large squares housing the ancient Malla palaces or the big Buddhist stupas are not only popular with tourists but also listed as the monument sites of UNESCO World Heritage. Newars, the locals are known for their year-long festivities, spicy food, and the craftsmanship. On the other hand, Kathmandu’s outskirts provide an excellent view of the city, fresher air and a more intimate peek into the life of locals. The hilltops are definitely worth a hike, through lush green jungles (half of which is a national park) and provides the panoramic view of the valley below and if you’re in luck, then the snow covered mountains. Kathmandu is the perfect amalgamation of modern technology meets ancient tradition, and is a perfect place to chill, party, hike or just immerse in its extensive culture.

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