Best Time to Visit the Indian Subcontinent

Unlike Europe and North America, the climate in the Indian subcontinent revolves entirely around rainfall. Rather than the four distinct seasons many of us are used to, this part of the world generally experiences just two climates: wet and dry. And, of course, by wet we don’t just mean a light April shower. In the Indian Subcontinent, when it rains, it pours, as the monsoon sweeps across nations, bringing the land back to life as it goes. With this in mind, it is important to plan your journey wisely so your holiday isn't a complete washout.

Jaffna sunset - Sri Lanka - On The Go Tours

Monsoon Season (May – September)

Each country within the Indian subcontinent is affected by its own weather patterns but generally the monsoon season will fall at some point between May and September. Sri Lanka is the exception as only the west coast will be hit by monsoons during this period with the east coast getting drenched from December to March. This means that the months between May and September are the best for visiting the east coast of Sri Lanka.

In India, the monsoon tends to hit Kerala around June and then makes its way across the country, usually finishing in September. However, monsoon season shouldn’t necessarily stop you from travelling as rain tends just to fall in bursts for a couple of hours every day, time you could use for doing something indoors. In between showers, the sun will shine through in full force and the country will get very hot with intense humidity. This usually means that big cities will heat up during the day but can be navigated comfortably in the mornings and evenings and places like Goa will still be enjoyable and much less crowded than in peak season. The Himalaya region, although wet, is at its warmest during this period.

For Bhutan and Nepal, June to September means heavy rain and not much else. Those looking for spectacular mountain views and the chance to go trekking in the Himalayas during this time may end up being disappointed as certain parts of the country become completely inaccessible and clouds can obscure mountain peaks. Despite the obvious inconveniences, the arrival of the monsoon is celebrated across the Indian subcontinent as rain is seen as a giver of life rather than a nuisance as it is in the West.

Recommended Tour: Sri Lanka Northeast Explorer

Annapurna Mountain range - Nepal - On The Go Tours
The months between September and November are ideal for trekking in Nepal

Warm and Dry Season (March-May & September-November)

For the majority of the region, the warm and dry season is the best time to travel. In the south of India, the rains will have significantly dissipated by this point and the sun will be shining virtually every day although there might still be some clouds. The Himalayan region in the north of India is at its prime during these months as the rains will have dried up but the real chill of winter is either yet to arrive or already gone.

Sri Lanka maintains a reasonably stable temperature throughout the year so you never need to worry about being cold. However, when the rains hit, travelling around can become a bit of a pain. The warm and dry seasons fall between the country’s two monsoons, making them the best times to explore the country. The southern coastline is particularly beautiful at this time of the year, as are the national parks, having just been rehydrated by the rains.

In Nepal, the peak season for trekking falls in the second warm and dry season (September – November). At this point, the air is at its clearest and the views of the mountains are truly breathtaking. The rain will have finished and the temperature will be pleasantly cool during the day. Bear in mind that if you plan on booking your trek for this season you will be travelling during the country’s most popular season, meaning you may find many destinations and activities more expensive and crowded. The same rules apply for Bhutan with the added bonus of the rhododendrons blooming between March and June, painting the landscape with bright, beautiful colours.

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