With the possible exceptions of Timbuktu, Marrakesh, or Kashmir, there isn’t a more exotic named city than Kathmandu. Nepal is the country where Buddha was born, where the hippies established Freak Street, and everyone from Cat Stevens to Bob Seger have sung it’s praises.
But everyone who grew in the 80’s remembers Nepal for a different reason, thanks to Eddie Murphy N-E-P-A-L Viva Nepal!
There’s no mistaking Kathmandu for Shangril-La any longer, as travelers did when the forbidden kingdom first opened up. It’s a landlocked country, the first I have visited. Nepal is definitely on the RTW circuit, but a lot of people blow through Kathmandu. If you have the time, you can spend a week easily roaming around this city. It is one of the only countries where you can see monkeys in the airport. There are temples everywhere. The people are very nice, even (especially) when they are trying to rip you off. And the food is amazing.
Nepal is half the size of New Zealand, but, it has the second most rivers in the world. (6,500; second only to Brazil). There are 30 million people here who speak over 300 languages, including Gurung, which has several dialects but no written script at all. In addition to Nepal, the residents of Sikkim, Bhutan,and Myanmar speak Nepali as well. [This information was provided to me by my seatmate on the flight here, and might not be 100 percent correct.]