https://theparadoxstudio.com – The gateway to the Himalayas has been a backpackers’ haven since the 1950s. Now recovering from the 2015 earthquake, it offers a magical mix of chaos and beauty. There really isn’t an adequate way to describe Kathmandu. We lived in Kathmandu for over 2 months during our stay in Nepal. In Kathmandu, almost everything revolves around the thriving backpacker district of Thamel. Here, winding alleyways lead to Unesco-listed sites, thriving markets, bustling bazaars, and restaurants with just about every cuisine imaginable. We found it incredible, intoxicating and just a little exhausting. To see the ‘real’ Kathmandu, we recommend stepping outside of Thamel. The rest of the city is jam-packed with cultural and artistic history to rival any European city, endless streets worth exploring, and you’ll find some of the friendliest locals all around. It’s also a little slower paced than Thamel, which you’ll appreciate after a while. Check out our guide to the best things to do in Kathmandu if you need some inspiration. Originally known as Kantipur, it was once the main trading route between Tibet and India and gradually grew into the metropolis known today. With a population of around 1.7million, the city will, at times, frustrate you; the constant nagging of street vendors, the beeps of passing cars, exhaust fumes, rubbish and the ever present crush of humans can be hard to manage. Yet push through these and you’ll soon realise that this city is actually a welcoming, achingly beautiful melting pot of Buddhist and Hindu religion, ethnicity and history. Crazy, chaotic, historic, spiritual, haphazard, enticing and vibrant come to mind yet they don’t do this city justice; Kathmandu is just Kathmandu. Totally unique and different to anywhere you’ll visit anywhere in the world.