Kathmandu stores a number of jewels within the folds of its Himalayan foothills. One of the brightest among them is Bhaktapur, a royal city deemed a UNESCO World Heritage site for its well-preserved authentic city centre. Bhaktapur offers the traveller to Nepal a good understanding of what Nepal towns looked like before they got overrun with vehicular traffic.

Dubbed the “City of Culture,” Bhaktapur has a  bunch of tantric art on display in its museum as well as sculpted into the wooden temples, pagodas and other buildings scattered throughout its pedestrian-only town squares. The city is also home to a number of craftspeople who efficiently churn out clay pots by the hundreds and painstakingly paint elaborate thangkas, and they are happy to have tourists look at them in action. At 1500 Nepali rupees, it’s not cheap to get in, but if it’s culture, art and history you’re after, Bhaktapur is definitely worth the day trip from Kathmandu. It’s easy for the slow pace of town life to bring you back a few centuries, so you may want to stay over a couple of nights (or more) and relax.

Looking for more travel ideas in Nepal? Read TRANSCENDENT BEAUTY: From Pokhara to Sarangkot, Nepal>> and PILGRIMAGE OF PEACE: Lumbini, Nepal—the site of the Buddha’s birth>>