In many ways the Kathmandu Valley is Nepal. Created from the bed of a sacred lake by the deity Manjushri, according to Buddhist legend, the basin is a patchwork of terraced fields and sacred temple towns that showcase the glory of the architects and artisans of Nepal. Sadly, the area also bore the brunt of the 2015 earthquake. This has taken its toll on the valley's medieval villages, but there is still much to see, from centuries-old temples to Himalayan viewpoints and an adventurous road to Tibet.
Aside from the exceptional Unesco World Heritage Sites of Patan and Bhaktapur, there are numerous Newari villages that are off the tourist circuit. Many attractions can be explored by minibus, taxi, mountain bike, motorcycle and even on foot, following a web of ancient trails. You’ll likely see fewer tourists just 10km outside Kathmandu than you will if you trek for days through the Himalaya.