Once a fiercely independent city-state, Patan (pronounced pah-tan) is now almost a suburb of Kathmandu, separated only by the murky Bagmati River. Many locals still call the city by its original Sanskrit name of Lalitpur (City of Beauty) or by its Newari name, Yala. Almost everyone who comes to Kathmandu also visits Patan’s spectacular Durbar Sq – arguably the finest collection of temples and palaces in the whole of Nepal.

Another good reason to come here is to take advantage of the shops and restaurants set up to cater to the aid workers and diplomats who live in the surrounding suburbs. Then there are Patan’s fair-trade shops, selling superior handicrafts at fair prices and channelling tourist dollars to some of the most needy people in Nepal.

Most people visit Patan on day trips from Kathmandu and, as a result, the accommodation offerings are rather limited. On the flip side, Patan becomes a different place once the crowds of day-trippers retreat across the Bagmati. If you stay here, you’ll be able to explore the myriad tole (squares) and bahal(courtyards) at your leisure.

(source: Lonely Planet)