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Introducing Kathmandu to Pokhara

Most travellers rush the journey between Kathmandu and Pokhara, missing some of Nepal's hidden gems. The hills that flank the 206km Prithvi Hwy contain some of the most important religious sites in Nepal, but most visitors whistle through on tourist buses and see little of what the area has to offer. We strongly recommend taking at least two days for the journey between Kathmandu and Pokhara to see more of this interesting and unspoiled region.

Heading west from Kathmandu, the first of several possible places to break the journey is the Manakamana Mandir near Mugling, one of the oldest temples in central Nepal and an important destination for Hindu pilgrimages. Further west, Gorkha is the former capital of the Shah dynasty, while the nearby hill town of Bandipur is a living museum of Newari architecture and culture.

As well as these historic points of interest, the highway is lined with modern townships that have sprung up around important road junctions and river crossings. Most are fairly unappealing but there's always the chance you could end up staying overnight while changing buses. Dotted between these settlements are numerous roadhouses where buses stop for snacks and toilet breaks. Where you end up will depend on the bus company but the food is normally hygienic and cheap.

Even if you don't stop between Kathmandu and Pokhara, the scenery along the road is dramatic. The highway follows a series of deep river valleys, passing ancient stone villages, cascading rice terraces, rocky gorges and roaring rapids crossed by precarious suspension bridges. On clear days, most of the way to Pokhara there are views of Machhapuchhare and the Annapurna massif.