As the largest (and pretty much the only) city in the country, Kathmandu also feels like another developing-world city rushing into a modern era of concrete and traffic pollution. Take a walk in the backstreets as the capital's amazing cultural and artistic heritage reveals itself in hidden temples overflowing with marigolds, courtyards full of drying chillies and rice, and tiny hobbit-sized workshops largely unchanged since the Middle Ages.
Bhaktapur, also known as Bhadgaon (pronounced bud-gown and meaning 'City of Rice') in Nepali, or Khwopa (City of Devotees) in Newari, is the third major town of the valley. Traffic free, the traditionally intact town is also in many ways the most timeless. The cobblestone streets link a string of temples, courtyards and monumental squares, and the side streets are peppered with shrines, wells and water tanks.
Chitwan National Park has long been regarded as Nepal's third biggest attraction. This huge and beautiful nature reserve protects 932 sq km of sal forest, water marshes and rippling grassland. The park is one of the last refuges of the endangered one-horned Indian rhino and there are sizeable populations of tigers, leopards and rare Gangetic dolphins.
Before the Maoist insurgency, Chitwan was visited by an impressive 92% of all visitors to Nepal. But the number of tourists has plummeted since 2001. The upmarket lodges inside the park still attract decent numbers of visitors, but several budget resorts in Sauraha have closed and others have dropped their rates significantly.