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Best time to trek in Nepal

Best time to trek in Nepal

For any long trek, weather is the biggest factor in deciding when to go but there are also a number of other issues you should consider when planning a trip to Nepal as there is so much else you can do while you are there. We cover all of the issues you should consider below.

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Weather for trekking in Nepal

Seasonal changes

The weather throughout the whole of Nepal is made by changes in the direction of the wind. In the summer months, the wind comes from the South and brings in the rainy monsoon. In the winter months, the winds come from the North bringing dry. cold weather.  As Nepal moves from Summer to Winter and back again these winds cancel each other out, bringing calmer, warmer weather that is generally dry and sunny. So, as a general rule the Spring and Autumn are  the best months for trekking in Nepal.

nepal rainfall temp

If you can't trek during these months though, it is still possible to trek in the Annapurna region. The graphs below compare the temperature and rainfall at Lukla, in the Everest region with different places around the Annapurna circuit. The Annapurna region is much cooler all year round and in the summer months has far less rainfall. 

So while trekking in Summer in the Everest region is awful it is still possible to trek the Annapurnas. That is not to say the conditions will be perfect. Summits can be cloud-covered some days, leeches can be a problem and particularly hard downfalls can cause paths to be slippy and in some cases can trigger landslides.  In general though, conditions are acceptable and you will have nice quiet trails as the reward for the hardships.

Changes with altitude

As well as the big changes in weather between seasons you also need to take into account how much the weather changes with altitude. The first graph here shows the difference in temperature  between Lukla and Everest base camp. The graph would be the same for the bottom and top of the Annapurna circuit.

The second graph shows how sharply the minimum temperature rises at altitude. During the winter months the minimum daily temperatures drop really fast and so even though it is likely to be clear most days it will be incredibly cold. You can trek in Nepal during the winter months but you will need to bring lots of warm clothes.

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Timing of Nepali festivals 

If you are travelling all the way to Nepal and have some flexibility in your dates then it is a great idea to make sure your itinerary allows you to be in Kathmandu for one of the many festivals that take place every year. These are  the festivals we particularly recommend.

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Holi or the Festival of Colours

The Holi festival is an explosion of colour held in Kathmandu each year in February or March. The festival is famous for huge crowds celebrating this Hindu festival by showering each other in water and coloured powder. It can get a little messy so don’t go out in your best clothes but is really spectacular to see.

Holi is primarily a Hindu festival but Nepalis of all faiths need no excuse for a party so everyone joins in. The timing of the festival is slightly complicated as it celebrates the end of winter and, a bit like our Easter the date is tied to the lunar calendar. So Holi is always the last day of winter's last lunar month.

Bisket Jatra or Nepali New Year

Nepali New Year falls in mid-April and is celebrated all around the country. The best place to be though is in Bhaktapur where the celebrations are immense.  A huge golden chariot is prepared carrying images of the God Bhairab which is pushed on a tour of the towb before becoming the focus of a giant tug of war between people from the East and West of Bhaktapur.  And if that is not enough fun, after the tug of war is settled a huge phallic symbol is installed on a stone platform.

Indra Jatra or Lord of the Rain

The Indra Jatra festival celebrates both the end of the monsoon and Indra, the annual appearance of Kathmandu's living goddess. Indra is one of the moist important Hindu Gods of the Hindu religion, and Kathmandu's living goddess represents Indra on earth.

The Living Goddess is a real, young girl from the Kathmandu region who is chosen  at the age of 4 and from then on lives in the Kumari Bahal temple in Durbar Square kept entirely away from all the world.

The selection process for this seemingly awful fate is bizarrely strict: the Living Goddess can never have had an injury that has caused bleeding and must pass, what they call  the '32 perfections test'. This covers everything from the shape of the eye to astrological outlook for the child.

And if you are Kathmandu you can visit the temple where she appears at the window for each of the eight days that the festival lasts.

You can read more about the festivals here.


Other activities in Nepal

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If you have the time and energy there are lots of other great things that you can do while you are in Nepal but, like trekking most are weather dependent. One of the most popular extensions to a trek is to visit Chitwan on safari  . This park is in the Southern region of Nepal and is hot and humid pretty much year round. You certainly would want to give this a miss in the monsoon but in the Winter months it is perfect.

All our trips to Chitwan are private, tailor-made trips and you can either drive down or catch a flight. Whichever you choose Chitwan is a fascination safari park and although the chances of you seeing the famous tigers are slim you are pretty much guaranteed to see rhino and the elelphant-back safari treks are great fun.

Another actiivty that is great fun in Nepal is white-waterrafting. Nepal has some of the most exciting white-water rapids in the world and trips can be arranged from just a day to as long as a week. The best time of year for rafting, if it appeals, is late Spring, before the monsoon sets in but late enough for melt-water from the Himalaya's massive glaciers to have swelled the rivers flow.  Be warned though, even if the air temperature is nearly 30°c the water will be incredibly cold. Wetsuits are definitely recommended.


Flight costs

And last, but by no means least, when you are planning your trip check out the prices of flights early.  The sooner you can book the better and there are  big seasonal variations in flight costs.

So if you are looking to save a little money, find your flight first and then find a trek that works with the dates you have.

 


 

  

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