Draped along the spine of the Himalaya, Nepal is a land of sublime scenery, time-worn temples, and some of the best hiking trails on earth. It's a poor country, but it is rich in scenic splendour and cultural treasures. The kingdom has long exerted a pull on the Western imagination.
Kathmandu is really two cities: a fabled capital of convivial pilgrims and carved rose-brick temples, and a frenetic sprawl of modern towers, mobbed by beggars and monkeys and smothered in diesel fumes. It simultaneously reeks of history and the encroaching wear and tear of the modern world.