Most travelers want to connect personally and deeply with the destination they’re visiting in Asia. The term street-level is often used to describe such experiences and there’s truly no better way to explore new areas than by foot. Sure air-conditioned taxis are comfortable and rickshaws novel at times, but striking out by foot is truly the best way to see a city. Indeed, when you visit an older and not centrally planned city like Kathmandu, taking a hike becomes even more appealing, practical and fun.
Nepal’s capital Kathmandu is a treasure trove waiting to be discovered, but navigating its labyrinthine streets and passageways efficiently and not sitting in traffic is the key to having the best possible time. With roughly 2.5 million people calling the greater Kathmandu Valley home, this is a sprawling, yet accessible metropolis. People have been living here for about 2,000 years, and it’s been a well-established trader’s meeting point for centuries. Indians from the lower subcontinent didn’t want to go higher than the city’s 1,400m elevation and traders from the Tibetan Plateau found any lower point too hot, so this is where they met. Areas grew into towns, towns into cities and along the way they all became connected by a series of roads, paths, and passageways, making foot the best way to commute. After all, cars didn’t even come to Nepal until the late 1940s when the first one was literally carried in over the mountains.