Southeast of Kathmandu (22 mi/35 km), Bhaktapur is definitely worth visiting (tourists must pay an entrance fee of about US$10, valid for a single visit or a weeklong multiple-entry pass on request, passport required). Bhaktapur can be reached by public bus or by taxi.

The town is a bit more relaxing than Kathmandu and has three interesting squares: Taumadhi Tole, Durbar and Potter's. There are several nice gompas (Buddhist temples) in Taumadhi Tole—our favorite is the five-story Nyatapola Temple, which has large stone animal figures flanking its staircase. You can get a view of the temple and the rest of the square from the multilevel cafe just across from the temple. It's a good place to relax and have a drink.

Other attractions include an art gallery at the Royal Palace, the famous Golden Gate that forms the entrance to the 55 Window Palace, and the stone sculptures and 12 temples of Durbar Square. Look for the carved peacock window in Pujahari Math, a monastery with excellent wood carvings.

Potter's Square is, of course, a center of pottery manufacture—even the chief priest of the Jeth Ganish Temple (in the square) is a potter. The town also has a wood-carving museum and a brass and bronze museum. You can shop in the side streets leading up to the squares (among the best items are Nepalese puppets and bone figurines).

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