Like many cities on the Indian Subcontinent, Kathmandu can be an assault on the senses. It has constant traffic, complete with beeping horns and diesel fumes, and streets filled with bicycles, taxis, rickshaws, and more. Blackouts occur regularly. It can be a bit much at first. But once you discover the colors and otherworldly architecture of the magnificent Durbar Square it will all be worthwhile. There are modern concrete blocks and Western cafés selling bagels and cappuccinos, but duck into the side alleys check out the tiny shops filled with spices and fabrics; things look as if they haven't changed since the Middle Ages and you could well have stepped back in time. It’s this fascinating melting pot of ancient and modern that makes Kathmandu so unique.

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