While we're in Kathmandu we stay at the 4 star Hotel Shanker. It was the royal residence of the rulers of Nepal from 1894 until 1964, when it was converted into a luxury hotel. Many of it's original features - the guilt mirrors, chandeliers and marble were imported from Europe, creating a wonderfully exotic interior when combined with the local design.
The gardens provide an oasis from the noise and bussle of Kathmandu outside the walls and there will be time to enjoy the swimming pool when you arrive. Dinners and breakfasts are a feast of Nepali and western foods, eaten in the splendidly opulent Kailash restaurant.
Rooms are shared with one other person and they all have a private bathroom.
We can walk from the hotel to Thamel, a maze of narrow streets with shops selling everything you could want in the way of clothes, carpets, jewelry and small gifts.
Hotel Shanker, Lazimpat, Kathmandu 44600, Nepal www.SHANKERHOTEL.COM.NP
UNESCO World Heritage Sights of Kathmandu
Included in the price of the package is a visit to two of the most colourful and memorable religious sites in the city.
The day after returning to Kathmandu, we’ll have transport arranged for 10.30. You’ll have a guided visit of Pashupatinath Temple and Boudhanath Stupa, with lunch in between.
Pashupatinath is one of the very few living cultural heritage sites in the world; a cremation site where the last rites of Hindus are performed.
For devotees of Shiva, it is one of the four most important religious sites in Asia. Built in the 5th century and later renovated by Malla kings, the site itself is said to have existed from the beginning of the millennium when a Shiva lingam was discovered here.
The largest temple complex in Nepal, it stretches on both sides of the Bagmati River which is considered holy by Hindus. The main pagoda style temple has a gilded roof, four sides covered in silver, and wood carvings of the finest quality. Temples dedicated to several other Hindu and Buddhist deities surround the temple of Pashupatinath.
For hundreds of years, the Boudhanath Stupa has stood as a beacon of Buddhist belief, towering over the surrounding town as a giant mandala of peace and beauty with giant eyes.
Built sometime around the 14th century, the huge meditative monument is said to have been created just after the passing of the Buddha. It became the centre of Tibetan Buddhism in the 1950s as refugees from China immigrated to Katmandu.
The stupa sits along a historic trade route that stretches across Lhasa, Tibet, Nepal and India. Today, people still come to Boudhanath to pray before undertaking a daunting journey.