Nepal is a land with civilizations in different altitudes. All the way from the lowland region, Terai to the mid-altitude region where Kathmandu and Pokhara are located, Pahad and ultimately to the high mountain region, Himal. Wondering what’s the best time to visit Nepal? You’re in the right place.
Yes, Nepal does have four seasons, but not in every corner of the country. Nepal does have winter but does not snow in most parts of the country. Monsoon season is a guest in Nepal as well, but flooding doesn’t occur everywhere. Summer is hot, but it’s always cool in the Himal region.
Nepal is a country with various types of climates and weather. It is important to know what time you’re traveling in. What is the season, what are the risks and what are the benefits? Nobody wants their trip ruined right? So, having a deep understanding of the climates and weathers in Nepal can help you plan your trip a lot easier.
In this article we will look at the best time to visit Nepal, and what makes me said so.
As I said above, Nepal is made up of three levels of geographical regions. Look out for your destination and which region it belongs to, as the best time to visit Nepal differs among each region.
The lowland region, Terai ranges between sea level to around 700 meters above sea level. It runs from the southern border of India and Nepal. Altitude increases from south to north towards the Himalayan mountain ranges. Terai region has very productive soil, therefore providing a great amount of food supply to the people in Nepal.
Chitwan National Park and Lumbini are both located within the Terai region.
The Hill region, Pahad is home to the capital, Kathmandu, and Pokhara. It usually ranges from 700 meters to 3,000 meters. This region is mostly located in the middle part of the country, north to Terai and south to the Himal region. The pleasant weather convinces most people to settle down in the region.
The Mountain region, Himal is the icon of tourism in Nepal. Home to the world’s tallest mountain, Mt Everest, Himal region ranges between 3,000 meters to above the cloud. Most of the treks in Nepal are located in the Himal region.
Climates In Nepal
How are the climates like in Nepal for the best time to visit?
Are there four seasons across the country?
No. Four seasons do not exist in the Terai region, but are obvious in the Pahad region and much more obvious in the Himal region. The weather changes drastically in higher altitude grounds like Kathmandu when the season changes.
Read on and see what to prepare for!
Monsoon season in Nepal?
Yes, Nepal has monsoon seasons. Some said monsoon season is never the best time to visit Nepal, especially for trekkers. I would like to deny that statement by asking you to read the article on trekking Annapurna Circuit in Monsoon Season.
While monsoon season might bring a lot of rainfall that will disrupt your itinerary, some of the treks are located within the rain shadow region.
By rain shadow region, it means that the mountains have shielded the trail away from the dense clouds, and therefore not likely to rain.
If you read my Annapurna Circuit linked above, you’ll find out that only my first two days that I was drenched in rain. From Day 3 to Day 14, there is not a single drop of rainfall during the day. It might still rain at the night though, but that doesn’t affect your trekking.
That doesn’t only apply to Annapurna Circuit trek, Everest Base Camp trek, probably the most famous trek in Nepal, also experiences rain shadow effect. The dense clouds came in from the southern side of the Everest region and therefore does not affect the trail after your first few days. However, the effect is not as obvious as the Annapurna region.
The monsoon season is also a great choice for those who’re afraid of freezing coldness. However, you will not experience snow in the higher altitudes of the trek. There is no snow at the Thorong La Pass signboard in Annapurna Circuit during the monsoon season.
Since there are four seasons in the Pahad region, does it snow in Kathmandu and Pokhara?
No, it does not. According to my local friend, snowfall in Kathmandu Valley is extremely rare, occurring around once in 5 to 10 years. In Pokhara? Not even a chance, due to its much lower altitude at 600m above sea level.
For your information, Kathmandu is located 1,400m above sea level.
To the north, where the Pahad and Himal regions are located, weathers change quite quickly. Rain falls when you don’t expect it during the monsoon season. It could be sunny for the whole morning, and the rain starts falling without any dense clouds invading the sky.
You might want to bring an umbrella if you’re traveling in the monsoon season. And I would suggest wearing sandals if you’re exploring around Kathmandu. Muddy water accumulates in the street during the rain, and you’ll be depressed for accidentally soaking your shoes in the dirty water. The same goes for the summer season.
Oppositely, to the south, in the lowland regions (Lumbini and Chitwan National Park), the weather is much hotter and humid all year round. There are only two seasons in the south, wet and dry season. It can reach up to 40ºC (104ºF) at its peak.
We’ll talk more about the wet season in the Monsoon Season part below.
By the way, I’m sure you’ll love my comprehensive guide for Backpacking Nepal.
The Best Time to Visit Nepal
Now for the main point. What’s the best season for visiting Nepal?
Understanding the weather in Nepal is the first thing you want to do while planning your trip to this Himalayan country. It plays a huge role in determining what you can see and do. We will look according to the seasons. And you will decide which season is the best for your Nepal travel.
The best seasons to visit Nepal are Autumn (September to late November) and Spring (late February to April).
Summer might be the best weather in your home country but definitely not in Nepal. During the summer, the weather gets hot and humid, especially in the Terai region. It can reach up to 40ºC in the Terai region, and since the area is not developed, you probably do not have air-conditioning rooms to cool yourself down.
Rain falls occasionally during the summer season, which could ruin your trip if you’re staying for a short time. You could say that it’s a precursor to the monsoon season, which it is. Rainfall starts increasing little by little throughout the summer season, so does the temperature.
However, if your trip involves only Kathmandu, summer is a season to consider unless there are some treks you want to try. It’s not advisable to travel outside of Kathmandu during summer. You can consider a trip to Pokhara as well but do expect hot but bearable temperatures.
Due to the high altitude of Kathmandu, the weather is mild and totally fine for exploring around the city on foot.
Let’s talk about the downside of the summer season. We all know the summer season is the busiest time for tourism, the same thing goes for Nepal. Tourists flood in during the season, but most of them only stay in Pokhara and Kathmandu.
The king of Nepal tourism is still trekking, so the larger crowds of tourists probably won’t affect your trip or hotel booking at all.
Following summer comes monsoon season in Nepal. It happens from June to late August. As I said, the monsoon is not the best time to visit Nepal.
Rainfalls are very frequent, occurring almost every day. And sometimes it can rain up to a whole day in some lowland regions.
Landslides are also happening all around Nepal. The highways connecting every city are collapsing due to landslides, therefore causing a terrible traffic jam. It could take more than 15 hours from Kathmandu to Pokhara when things get very bad. Imagine cramping inside the bus for that long.
The thing about intercity buses in Nepal is that they never tell you the condition of the highways unless you asked. They still depart their buses even though they know they will be stuck in there for many hours. So, before you book your bus trip during the monsoon season, make sure to ask beforehand!
The sky is covered by fog all the time, which means you have little to no chance to see the Himalaya mountains from your rooftop in Kathmandu city. If you want to do that, however, wake up very early in the morning, fog is usually more dispersed and less in the early morning.
The same thing when you’re in Nepal trekking. There are always clouds in the sky to block your mountain views. It’s way harder to get a clear shot of the mountain when you’re trekking. And it’s much harder to shoot the Milky Way at night because of the moisture.
Flooding occurs a lot in the lowland Terai region, causing serious damage to the residence and crops. There was a horrible flood which displaces hundreds of people from their home in 2017. It could reach up a nearly a meter tall at its peak.
If you somehow traveled to Chitwan National Park or Lumbini during this season, you might be stuck there and unable to travel to other cities. I definitely don’t recommend visiting these two places during this season.
Leeches are very common in this season too. Make sure to bring a small bag of salt with you if you’re trekking in this season!
Autumn Season – The Best Season to Visit Nepal
Autumn is the best time to visit Nepal. During this peak season, the sky is a lot clearer and drier. This makes the season perfect for trekking, traveling in the Terai region and walking around in Kathmandu and Pokhara.
If you’re trekking in the Autumn season, you will enjoy the crispy clear skies, as well as the amazing view of the mountains. No more fogs and clouds to obstruct your view. The rainfall during the monsoon season also led to the blooming of various flowers and lush green landscape. It’s probably the most delightful season for photographers.
However, during this season, the tea houses on multi-day treks might be booked up pretty quickly, so are the flights. Be sure to book your accommodation earlier before to secure your beds!
During this season, you’re also free to travel between Kathmandu, Pokhara, Lumbini, and Chitwan National Park, or just about any national parks in Nepal. The highways are running smoothly, and the weather is cooperating. There’ll be fewer unforeseen circumstances now that the intense rainfall is gone.
Every activity is literally possible during autumn. So if you’re planning a trip, consider traveling in autumn before anything else.
Winter runs from December to February in Nepal. Though the rainfall remains very low, the daylight is short and it freezes at night especially in Pahad and Himal regions.
Trekking in this season is not that wise unless you’re a cold-freak. Most of the higher altitude treks are freezing below 0°C and will be very uncomfortable to trek in. The views are of course, still as good as the autumn season.
Traveling in Kathmandu during the winter season is also not as comfortable. It gets really cold due to its high altitude, occasionally hitting 0°C. Pokhara and other lowland destinations are fine though since they’re not really affected by the winter season.
Short daylight hours in this season also mean that electric shortage is frequent in entire Nepal. Blackouts are happening very often, sometimes several times a day. If you’re traveling in this season, you might want to book a hotel with backup electricity.
Having a head torch will definitely help when traveling in this season.
Spring Season – The Second Best Season to Travel Nepal
Second best time to visit Nepal. In spring, the temperature starts to increase slightly along with little showers. Like any other country, flowers start to bloom in the spring, making it perfect for trekkers who love the view.
You could trek in a T-shirt during the spring season as the freezing temperature is gone now. Likewise, make sure you book your tea house accommodations on your trek so secure a bed, since the spring season is the second-best season for trekking in Nepal.
The sky turns clear in the spring season, though sometimes it might get cloudy and obstruct your views. But it’s really not that likely.
For wildlife and safari tour lovers, spring is the best time to Chitwan National Park for wildlife viewing.
For trekkers, autumn and spring are best for trekking in the Himalayas.
Now You Know When to Visit Nepal
So, in short, two of the best seasons to visit Nepal are autumn and spring, as they’re good for all kinds of activities. Check out these amazing places in Kathmandu if you’re interested!
I hope that you find the information above helpful enough to help you plan your trip. Feel free to comment below on what I missed out. Looking forward to your reply. Have a lovely day ahead and happy traveling!
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