Gently nestled between the two giant nations; China and India and situated in South Asian region,
Nepal occupies a tiny size in the world map.
However, Nepal is one of the best travel destinations for backpackers and travelers.
Recently, Tripadvisor ranked Kathmandu (the capital city of Nepal) at the 19th spot in it’s Top 25 Destinations of the World in 2019.
“When is the best time to travel to Nepal?” is one of the most asked questions by the travelers before boarding on a journey to Nepal.
And the answers to this question are misleading most of the times.
The months of October until December are the best time to visit is the most heard answer.
I believe, it is very limited because Nepal has diverse identities.
How can one of the most visited countries in the world only be favorable for three months?
On a positive note, Nepal is suitable for travelers and also the trekkers to travel the whole year around.
Nepal offers once in a lifetime experience to its travelers and visitors.
Traveling in Nepal is all about the preference of a traveler and the matter of time.
With this post, I am sharing the seasonal overview of Nepal alongside the important information.
Seasonal Guide to Traveling in Nepal
In Nepal, the winter season falls between December and February.
The winter days are normally pleasant.
However, the morning and the evening/night are cold.
The places in Nepal witness significant drop in temperature and some places even reach to the freezing point during that time.
Amongst these three months, January is the coldest of all and the high hills and mountains witness rough weather during this time of the year.
Trekking in Winter time
Since the weather is cold, foggy and cloudy during the winter, the trekking in higher passes is quite difficult.
Some of the passes including Cho La in Gokyo and Everest Base Camp trekking,
Renjo La in Gokyo Circuit Trek, Larke La in Manaslu Circuit Trek etc.
among others. Similarly, the recommended treks during winter time are lower Everest region,
Langtang valley and Gosainkunda trek, Annapurna Circuit Trek,
and some other camping treks including Panch Pokhari, Bhairav Kunda etc.
It is highly suggested to bring warm clothes while trekking to these places during cold.
Expeditions in not possible during the winter time. Main reasons are because of very cold temperature, too snowy and risky as well.
Where to travel during the Winter time?
One of the best things to do during the winter time is to explore wildlife in the Southern plains.
Chitwan and Bardiya National parks are two popular ones.
Chitwan National Park is enlisted in the UNESCO World Heritage Site as well.
The best thing about these places are they are relatively quieter and serene as compared to other times.
One can witness closer look of elephants, one horned rhinoceros, Bengal Tiger, Birds, Crocodiles and other protected animals.
Hiking around Kathmandu valley and Pokhara is another great option.
The weather is pleasant and the travelers can witness clear panoramic views and the trails are comparatively quieter.
Street festival in Pokhara can be amazing thing to do.
Festivals celebrated in Winter Season
Maghe Sankranti (falls in mid- January),
Lhosar (a new year celebration among Sherpa People and Tibetans, celebrated in February),
Yomari Punhi (festival of Newari people, falls in the month of December) are some of the important festivals that fall in Winter season.
The spring season falls in the months between March and May.
Slowly, the temperature starts to rise surpassing winter and the weather is more stable.
Average rainfall in Spring Season is 10-70 mm.
Spring Season is considered as the second most popular trekking season in Nepal.
This season is commonly called the season of rhododendron.
It’s because while trekking to the higher altitude, you can witness the blooming rhododendron forests.
Interesting thing is there are more than 30 species of rhododendron in Nepal which differ in color (from red to pink to white).
Where to travel during spring season?
The spring season is considered pleasant to trek through Larke pass in Manaslu circuit region.
Thorang La in Annapurna Circuit region, Renjo La in Everest region and many other high altitude passes in Dolpo, Kanchenjunga regions.
It is an ideal time for expeditions and high altitude trekking.
Similarly, Bardiya is the spot for tiger observation via jungle safari. Even though it’s hot during that time, it is likely to see tigers.
Festivals during March to May
Holi is a popular festival in Nepalese community which is widely celebrated by Hindus.
The festival of Holi falls in the month of March. It is called the festival of colors.
Religiously it is significant as it marks the victory over demons and who was later burnt into ashes.
People throw colors and splash water among friends and other people. It is widely celebrated by the foreigners as well.
Nepali New Year –
In Nepal, people celebrate many “New Years” and Nepali New Year is yet another important one.
It is marked in the month of April.
It is the beginning of a new year in the Nepali Calendar.
One interesting thing about Nepali calendar (Bikram Sambat i.e. BS): It is 56 years ahead of English Calendar (AD).
Different cultural events and parties are organized in almost all parts of the country but major ones in Pokhara, Kathmandu, Biratnagar, Dharan among others.
Important festival of the Nepalese people and specifically the Hindus.
It is celebrated in the 13th night (waning moon) and 14th day of the month Falgun (i.e. March in English Calendar).
The festival is significant in terms of self-observation, fasting and digging into the unknown to explore ourselves.
Pashupatinath temple receives hundreds of thousands of visitors during the festival and naked holy men are the center of attraction in the festivals.
Marijuana is unofficially legal on the particular day of Maha Shivaratri.
The festival of Buddha Jayanti marks the auspicious occasion of the birthday of Lord Buddha.
It is celebrated in the month of May.
Monsoon season is the time between June to August.
During this season, the climate is generally warm, wet and humid.
And the southern part of Nepal (Terai) is very hot in monsoon season.
However, one can witness breathtaking views after the downpour.
Where to travel during Monsoon Season?
One can do a city tour around Kathmandu and Pokhara during this time of the year.
Also, short hiking around Kathmandu valley is a great option to go for.
Trekking is doable during the Monsoon season but it is surely going to be an adventurous one.
The reasons are mainly because of heavy rain and unpredictability because of poor visibility and cloudy weather.
But how about going for the daring travels in the off-beaten trails? The beauty is serene trails with less or no travelers.
If the trekkers don’t like trekking in the rains with countless leeches attacking them, the best option can be trekking around the rain shadow regions.
Dolpo, Manang, and Mustang regions are popularly known as the rain shadow areas of Nepal which witness negligible amount of rainfall.
Expedition is not doable during the monsoon time.
Festivals Celebrated in Monsoon Season
Yarthung Horse Festival- Yarthung Horse festival is a cultural festival celebrated in Manang district and falls in the month of June.
This festival is celebrated in the month of August.
Janai Purnima is the full moon day which marks the bond of purity and security.
Gai Jatra is mainly celebrated by Newari people in Kathmandu valley.
The festival commemorates the deceased persons of the family during the calendar year.
It falls in the month of August. People are disguised as figures of cows in this festival and are seen with distinct color paintings as well.
Teej- Teej is one of the major festivals of women and it is celebrated in the month of August/September.
Lord Shiva is worshipped in the day of Teej.
The women take fasting, gather, sing, dance and pray for the longevity of their husbands if they are married.
If not, they pray wishing to get the ideal husband in the near future.
Thousands of women gather in Pashupatinath temple and other Shiva Temples around the nation.
Lord Krishna is widely considered as the 8th incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
And the day of Krishna Janmashtami marks the birthday of Lord Krishna.
Dancing, self-observation, fasting, praying, worshipping are some of the things done in this festival.
There are plenty of Krishna Temples around the country but the major ones are located in Kathmandu and Patan.
The month starting from September until November is considered as the season of autumn in Nepal.
It is also called the post-monsoon season as the atmosphere is clean and the skies are blue with very less or no clouds.
Where to Travel during Autumn Season?
Since the weather is pleasant and the skies are clear, it is considered to be the best time of the year for trekking.
Clearer skies mean certainty of seeing the mountain vistas and beautiful landscapes from a far distance.
Also the temperature is moderate; neither hot nor cold.
Trekking can be done in any parts of the country.
Be it Thorang La in Annapurna Region, Gokyo Ri in Everest Region
or Larke La in Manaslu Region or be it any other trekking route, each one of them welcomes with pleasant surprise.
Also, expeditions can be done in this season.
It is a great option choosing to go for bird watching and also jungle safari mainly in the southern part of Nepal.
One can choose to travel Lumbini; the birthplace of Buddha as well.
Generally the weather is hot and humid in that part of the country but during this time of the year, the temperature is moderate.
Festivals Celebrated in Autumn Season
Along with the blue skies and pleasant weather, autumn season invites some of the major festivals as well.
Dashain is the most important and significant festival of Nepalese people following Hinduism.
The festival of Dashain falls in late September or early October.
People worship the warrior goddess Durga (who is believed to protect good people for fighting the demons.)
and offerings of animals (sheep, chicken, buffalo, goats, fish) are made to please Gods.
This festival lasts for nine days.
People receive blessings from elders and is a moment of togetherness among family members who have been far away the whole year.
It is another important festival of Hindus.
celebrated after two weeks of celebration of Dashain during late October or early November.
In this festival, the goddess of wealth Laxmi is worshipped along with dogs, cows and crows.
It is also called the festival of lights as the beautiful light works are done along with decoration of houses with flowers.
Similarly another aspect of this festival is to mark the bond between siblings.
The sisters put tika (a mark worn in forehead) on brothers’ forehead praying for their longevity and progress.
Chhath- Chhath is an interesting festival which celebrates the presence of Sun.
It falls after Tihar in the month of late October or early November.
The markings of this festival include intense fasting, bathing in the ponds/rivers, prayer offerings, prayers to the setting and rising Sun.
When to visit Nepal certainly depends on what kind of travel the traveler wants to make.
It is not just limited in one or two seasons but the whole year around.
Plus Nepal is celebrating Visit Nepal year 2020 and the infrastructures are getting better for the travelers.
Which season do you want to visit Nepal? Happy traveling ?
Manoj Bohara- I’d like to call myself an avid traveler/blogger traveler/blogger/photographer. A student of social science with professional experience in Radio & Digital Media, I spend most of the days traveling to places for photography and experience of life. You can find more about me at www.manojbohara.com.