This charming country presents a very rich culture preserved and maintained intact for centuries by its beautiful people, who are known all over the world to have "as many gods as the people, & as many temples as houses" in their land. And nowhere else is this fact more evident then in the Kathmandu Valley itself.Visitors to Nepal spend their few early days exploring the temple palaces of the three ancient cities of Kathmandu Valley, Kathmandu, Patan& Bhaktapur, which were once three independent states. The temples and stupas are rich repositories of wood carving, metal work, terra-cotta & stone sculpture.
At once a time machine and a magic carpet, Nepal sweeps you along crooked, timeworn streets flanked by irregular, multi-roofed pagodas, stupas and stone sculptures, and into rooms cluttered with horror-eyed masks, spinning prayer wheels, trippy thangka scrolls and Tibetan carpets. Muttered chants, esoteric tantric hymns and Nepalese music, whether it be the twang of a four-stringed saringhi or the plaintive notes of a flute, hang in the air. Traditional folk musicians or gaines gather for an evening of singing and socialising, classical dancing and trance-like masked dances enliven the Kathmandu Valley and Bhaktapur regions, while no wedding would be complete without the raucous damais - Nepal's modern ensembles.

Religion is the lifeblood of the Nepalese. Officially it is a Hindu country, but in practice the religion is a syncretism of Hindu and Buddhist beliefs with a pantheon of Tantric deities tagged on. The remainder of the population that isn't Buddhist or Hindu are either Muslim, Christian or shamans.

Nepalese meals most of the time consist of a dish called dhal bhat tarkari which is a combination of lentil soup, rice and curried vegetables - hardly the makings of a dynamic national cuisine. On the other hand, Nepal has adapted famously to Western tastes, markedly evident in Kathmandu's smorgasbord of menus: Mexican tacos; Japanese sukiyaki; Thai chocolate; Chinese marshmallows; onion and minestrone soup; borscht, quiche and soyburgers; and some of the best desserts - apple and lemon pies, almond layer cakes, fruit cakes - found anywhere in the world. To wash any (or all) of these offerings down, try a lassi (a refreshing mixture of curd and water), the locally produced beer or chang, a Himalayan home brew made from barley.