Upon landing in Nepal we were looking for a small city or quiet town to decompress after a hectic time in India. Kathmandu is crowded, sprawling, noisy, and polluted. Bhaktapur, a mere 10km from Kathmandu’s airport, fit the bill. As a bonus, it’s described as the best-preserved medieval city in all of Nepal.
Bhaktapur has a gorgeous main Durbar Square, temples, and other attractive squares and stone streets connecting them. But Bhaktapur is more than that. In an age of touristification and catering to foreigners, Bhaktapur has more or less maintained its integrity.
True, it gets a handful of daytrippers from Kathmandu, but most visitors don’t spend the night. You’re more likely to bump into elderly Newari men in traditional hats hanging out on the street corner than other tourists. You’ll also see chili peppers and grain drying in front of houses, old wells, goats in search of food, children playing cricket and football, and ancient monuments hidden off the main streets.
All it takes is a little walk around town.