Located just across the Bagmati River from Kathmandu sits Patan, one of Nepal’s largest cities, and with a rich tradition of local art and handicrafts, it’s a must-see for shoppers. Like Kathmandu, Patan has its own Durbar Square, a central plaza surrounded by an array of temples and palace buildings. While you’re wandering the square, don’t miss the excellent collection at the museum housed within one of the ancient palace buildings, as well as the stone temple dedicated to the god Krishna that dates back to 1647.

While the dozens of other temples scattered throughout Patan are well worth visiting, the main draw here is the shopping. Many notable local artists hail from Patan, and the city’s shops are known for their metal and carved wood handicrafts in particular. You can also buy traditional Tibetan paintings, called Thanka and books from a couple shops that carry an English language selection.

If you find yourself turned off by the chaos and crowds of Thamel in nearby Kathmandu, consider basing yourself in Patan instead. You’ll find a handful of budget to mid-range lodging options as well as dozens of cafes and restaurants to choose from.

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