They’re there – behind the smog. In the 1990s, peaks such as Ganesh I, Langtang Lirung and Dorje Lakpa could be seen most mornings from Kathmandu. Now they’re rarely visible from the metropolitan area except on clear mornings after a soaking rain, or on bandh (general strike) days when all traffic is banned.

Kathmandu is among the world’s most polluted cities, and the traffic and fumes are appalling. The ever-increasing number of cars, motorbikes, buses and lorries, fuel adulteration, lax emissions tests, poorly surfaced roads, rapid urbanization, rubbish dumping and high levels of general pollution, mean that air quality frequently reaches “unhealthy” levels, according to official measurements. This toxic brew irritates lungs and eyes, weakens immune systems and increases the long-term risk of various health problems. If you can help it, don’t stay more than a couple of days in Kathmandu at the start of your trip. If you do, you’re likely to come down with a chest or sinus infection that will dog you for days and may be hard to shake if you go trekking.

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Nepal features

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Stunning documentary on Nepal shows restoration of the country's sites

Stunning documentary on Nepal shows restoration of the country's sites

"The only thing you could focus on was the fact that the earth was moving from side to side by about eight to ten metres." These are the words of Kathmandu resi…

07 Jun 2016 • Lottie Gross videocam Video
Painting the town red, pink, green and yellow: Holi Festival 2016 in pictures

Painting the town red, pink, green and yellow: Holi Festival 2016 in pictures

Every year, Hindus around the world celebrate Holi Festival: the festival of colours. The event attracts many non-Hindus to take part, too, with hundreds of p…

24 Mar 2016 • Lottie Gross insert_drive_file Article
Going it alone on the Annapurna Base Camp trek

Going it alone on the Annapurna Base Camp trek

Rough Guides writer Helen Abramson discovers the ups and downs of the Annapurna Base Camp trek in Nepal – all without the help of a porter or guide.  Someth…

13 Mar 2015 • Helen Abramson insert_drive_file Article
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