Winter brings cold weather at higher elevations but is a great time to visit Nepal for crystal clear skies. Treks in the lower Himalayan foothills are perfect in winter, and so are the jungles of Chitwan and Bardia in the south of Nepal.
Spring is a popular time to go trekking in Nepal, as temperatures climb steadily and the weather tends to be more stable. Trails are more crowded, however, and the skies can be a bit hazy at times. Spring features great festivals, including Holi in March and Nepalese New Year in April.
Summer is the monsoon season and brings hot, humid weather, with most trekking areas seeing cloudy skies and rain. Choose a trek in the “rain shadow” of the Himalaya at this time of year, such as Upper Mustang or Nar Phu. The Yarthung Horse Festival takes place in June in Manang.
Fall is the most popular trekking season because the weather is usually stable, temperatures are moderate, and skies tend to be clear. Since the weather conditions are at their best, the crowds are at their peak as well! Autumn has the big festivals like Dashain (October) and Tihar (November).
Before diving into the seasonal weather in Nepal, it’s worth noting that Nepal, despite being a small country (800 km / 500 miles east to west and 150 km / 100 miles north to south, which is approximately the same surface area as England and half that of Oregon), has a wide variety of elevations and climates, ranging from the world’s highest peaks in the north to subtropical jungle in the south.
This means that it’s often not accurate to make generic statements about the weather in Nepal during a certain season, as the regional differences can make temperatures and weather vary tremendously between different regions. For instance, on a given day the temperature in the South of Nepal can be over 30 Celsius / 90 Fahrenheit, while on the same day Everest Base Camp and its surrounding passes are well below freezing.
With that in mind, we’ll dive into the details of Nepal’s seasons with the goal to help you decide when to visit, where to go and how to prepare for each season.
Where to go in winter
The high mountain areas in Nepal and the classic treks that include high pass crossings are usually too cold in winter. The foothills of Nepal, below 4,000 meters / 13,000ft, are great in winter. It gets cold at night, but during the day the temperatures tend to get quite comfortable, especially when you warm up while hiking. Many of the short treks in Nepal are great choices for the winter season, and some local experts believe that winter is, in fact, the best time of the year to hike the treks in the lower Solu area south of Everest and the shorter treks near Pokhara. The lowlands, including Chitwan and Bardia National Parks, have moderate temperatures and are absolutely gorgeous in winter.
Tips for visiting Nepal during winter
- Bring warm layers and a down jacket. A down sleeping bag is also recommended if you go trekking.
- Enjoy amazingly clear views and lesser crowds at Nepal’s best viewpoints like Poon Hill and Nagarkot.
- Activities like mountain biking and touring the country on a motorbike are at their best in winter.
- Visit Chitwan and Bardia as the temperatures in these otherwise warm places is at their most moderate in winter.
- Attend the Street Festival in Pokhara at the end of the year which takes place around December 27.