Kathmandu, Nepal

Kathmandu city (pop. 980k) is the capital of Nepal. The Kathmandu Valley was settled as early as 900 BC, and was made a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1979. Kathmandu combines the old and new like few places in the world, with ancient temples, streets, and women in saris, existing with chocking traffic and air pollution, modern high-rises, and mobile phones.

Nepali is the official language in Nepal and the most widely spoken. However there are over 100 other languages registered in Nepal as mother tongues including Maithili, Bhojpuri, Tharu, and Newari. English is taught as a second language in primary and secondary schools and colleges and is widely understood in business, government, and tourism circles.

Kathmandu is very safe in terms of personal safety as well as health. The biggest problem faced by volunteers is usually an occasional upset stomach as their bodies adjust to the food and water. You cannot drink tap water;only drink bottled/boiled water. There are large hospitals and medical clinics throughout Kathmandu, including ones with English-speaking doctors and nurses.

Kathmandu has distinct seasons, with night/day temperatures ranging from 2-18 C (35-65 F) in January to 20-29 C (68-84 F) in July. The monsoon season brings rains in July and August. The best weather months are October and November, with moderate temperatures and dry and clear skies which attract international travelers to trekking in the Himalayas.

In Kathmandu the most popular sites are Durbar Square, the ancient city of Bhaktapur, Swayambhunath “Monkey” Temple, Boudhanath Buddhist Stupa, the Hindu temple complex Pashupatinath, and Patan city.

Travelers fly into Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu (KTM).