Taking the road less travelled

Gone are the days when Kathmandu was the last stop of soul-searching hippies journeying overland from Europe through to Afghanistan, India and on to the Himalayas via The Hippie Trail. These days, you’re more likely to find travellers in bright quick-dry technical gear in Kathmandu.

Indeed, foreigners come to Kathmandu for perhaps one of two reasons: first, for the lure of adventure in the breathtaking Himalayan mountains beyond; second, to explore the rich cultural attractions readily found around town. Five UNESCO World Heritage Site monuments in Kathmandu — Durbar Square, the Pashupatinath and Changunarayan Hindu temples, and the Swayambhu and Boudhanath Buddhist temples — have long attracted pilgrims to behold more than their intricate architectural craftsmanship. Where other nations are transitioning to monoculture, Kathmandu is the only place where Buddhism is still practised in Sanskrit.

From Kathmandu, it’s easy to start your journey into the great wilderness. For the extreme outdoor enthusiast, a camping trek involves a team of guides, cooks, sherpas and porters tagging along to make your trip comfortable. For a lighter pack and less to worry about, opt to stay at one of the teahouses found along popular trails like the Annapurna Circuit or Everest Base Camp.