Best time to visit Nepal

Updated: 09th July 2018

Mountains and prayer flags - Nepal best time to visit - On The Go Tours
The best time for trekking in Nepal is in October when visibility is optimal

Seasons and Weather

The weather in Nepal can be divided into four main seasons, which are autumn, winter, spring and summer, otherwise known as the monsoon season.

Summer in Nepal

June to September is considered the summertime, or monsoon season, and the daily forecast typically consists of extremely high temperatures and intermittent rainfall. Summer is a good time to explore the cities and by the end of the monsoon season the countryside can be seen lush and green.

Autumn in Nepal

From September the climate begins to change as the country welcomes autumn, which lasts from October to November. These months are much drier with pleasant temperatures in the day time and good visibility, leading to this being peak season for visitors.

Winter in Nepal

The winter months from December to February tend to be mild in the daytime but can become very cold at night, especially in the mountains. January is the coldest month of the year and although Nepal’s cities are chilly, as there is no snow it is easy to explore the sights.

Spring in Nepal

Spring appears from March to May with pleasantly warm temperatures and occasional showers. Flowers begin to bloom during this time and it’s also a wonderful time of year to spot wildlife. The annual temperatures peak in May just before the monsoon season begins.

A man trekking in the Everest Region
The summer monsoon heavily impacts trekking in the Everest region

The best time for trekking in Nepal

Generally, autumn is considered the best time of year to go trekking in Nepal, with moderate temperatures, clear skies and tantalizing mountain views. However outside of this season, it is best to plan your trip according to whether you wish to trek in the Annapurna or Everest regions as their climates are markedly different.

Best Time to Trek the Everest region

The effect of the summer monsoon season in the Everest region is very pronounced, with heavy rainfall effectively closing down the region. Trails can become extremely difficult, with slippery mud and rocks, and most lodges close. In addition, the trails can also see outbreaks of leaches, therefore trekking is not recommended during this season.

Spring and Autumn then see much drier and brighter days, making March to May and September to November great times to go trekking. Rainfall is still not an issue in winter, however you will have to face severe snowfall and some high passes become unsafe to cross. Winter also brings very cold temperatures, particularly at night, so although this season sees quiet trails you will need top-quality sleeping bags and clothing.

Best Time to Trek the Annapurna region

This region is far less affected by Nepal’s summer monsoon and therefore it’s possible to trek here year-round. However, the summer season is not without its challenges. Hard rains can cause paths to become slippery leading to downfalls and leeches can be a problem. Summits can also be cloud-covered, obscuring the magnificent views.

As the Annapurna region offers a much bigger time window for trekking, this is the best option for those who are restricted on when they can visit Nepal. But if time is on your side, it’s likewise recommended to visit from March to May and September to November.

Nepal Best Time to Visit
MAP HIGHLIGHTING THE BEST TIME TO VISIT NEPAL BY REGION

Best Time to Visit by Region

Whilst Nepal is considerably smaller than its neighbours, the climate can vary from region to region. This is due to the country's diverse landscapes and topography, ranging from the lowland region of Terai to the towering Himalayas. Here's more about the climate in four of Nepal's most popular spots.

Best time to visit Kathmandu

Kathmandu can be visited throughout Nepal’s drier months, with the best time to visit being during autumn from September to November. The weather during this time is bright and sunny, with many festivals giving the city a wonderful atmosphere.

This is also peak season, therefore although winter brings colder temperatures there will be fewer tourists also trying to see the city’s top sights.

Best time to visit Chitwan National Park

Chitwan can be visited from October to March as this period sees relatively clear skies. However for the best wildlife viewing, it’s best to time your visit after the towering phanta grass has been cut by villagers from late January to March. This improves visibility considerably, as the grass can grow up to 8 metres tall.

September to November and February to April are great for bird watching as migrations occur during these months. During the summer monsoon, jeep safaris are virtually impossible as the tracks through Chitwan become impassable.

Best time to visit Pokhara

Likewise to much of the rest of Nepal, the best time to visit Pokhara is during the autumnal months of September to November. The weather is pleasant, with clear skies, although this time sees the maximum number of visitors as it is peak season.

Pokhara sees a lot of rain during the monsoon, making this an unfavourable time to visit. But for winter sports fans, the colder months of December and January can be considered a good time as Pokhara is the base for many adventure sports.

Best time to visit Lumbini

Generally, Lumbini can be visited at any time of year. However as the site lies on the southern plains, summer temperatures can get very high and autumn, from September to November, is recommended for the best weather.

During April and May, Lumbini attracts thousands of pilgrims as they come to celebrate the birth of the Lord Buddha. Therefore this is also considered a great time if you want to experience more of Nepal’s Buddhist culture.

Climate | Kathmandu

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Temp Min °C2471216192020191373
Temp Max °C181925283029292828272319
Rainfall (mm)154123581222463733451553883

Climate | Lukla

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Temp Min °C-3-2-203444310-1
Temp Max °C-112346774532
Rainfall (mm)000033915150603
Blessings during Teej festival - Nepal - Best Time to Visit
Local women make blessings during the Teej festival in Nepal

Festivals and Events

Sitting on the roof of the world, Nepal is the ultimate mountaineering destination and attracts adventurous hikers from all over the world hoping to make it to Everest’s Base Camp and beyond. Combine this with the strong Buddhist beliefs that are entrenched in the Nepali way of life and you get one of the most mystical and fascinating countries in the world with festivals and events to match. Here are a few of our favourites.

Saraswati Puja

Also know as Shree Panchami, Saraswati Puja celebrates the birthday of Saraswati, the Goddess of Learning. Students and scholars worship their pens and books during this event in order to gain the favour of the Goddess with the hopes that this will make them wiser and more knowledgeable. Sweets, fruits and flowers are offered to the idol of Saraswati and small children are taught to read and write as part of the celebrations.

Buddha Jayanti

One of the most auspicious days in the Buddhist calendar, Buddha Jayanti celebrates the birth, enlightenment and passing away of Lord Gautam Buddha. The festivities that take place during this period are tranquil and gentle, in keeping with the practices of Buddhism. Vegetarian food is usually exclusively consumed and many people spend the day attending a slightly longer than usual sutra, which is a type of service.

Gai Jatra

Literally translating as Cow Festival, this event is one of the most important Nepali celebrations. The event’s main purpose is to commemorate those who passed away in the past 12 months and families that have lost a loved one are expected to lead a cow through the streets as part of the procession. If there is no cow available, the family will lead a young boy dressed as a cow. Jokes, satire and humour are a main part of this festival and there is a definite ‘anything goes’ atmosphere for its entire duration.

Teej

This unusual festival is a national holiday but only women are given the day off for the occasion. Teej is dedicated to the Hindu Goddess Parvati and observes her union with Shiva. The ceremonies are separated into the women performing rituals for the purification of their body and soul, and the women fasting for the well-being of their spouse and children. On the first day of the festival, a feast is hosted by the men of the community. Women are not expected to do anything during this time.

Dashain

Dashain is a 15 day festival celebrated by the Nepalese as well as many other Hindus and Buddhists around the world. The festival celebrates the forces of good overcoming evil and while the exact story changes according to which religion you follow, the gist is that the first nine days symbolise good’s battle with evil and the tenth day is when victory was achieved. The first, seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth days are the most important of the festival.

Tihar

Taking place over the course of five days, Tihar is a festival of great religious and cultural significance. Each day sees something different being worshipped starting with crows on day one, dogs on the second day and cows on the third. There is also a part during the celebrations when sisters worship their brothers and give thanks for the protection they provide. Siblings exchange gifts and tikas and strengthen their bond with one another.

2018 Calendar

To help plan your visit to Nepal, here's an overview of the festivals and events taking place in 2018. This is by no means an exhaustive list so if you are thinking of heading to Nepal outside of these dates and want to know what's on, check out this comprehensive list.

January 22nd - Saraswati Puja (Nationwide)
March 1st - Holi Festival (Nationwide)
April 30th - Buddha Jayanti (Lumbini)
August 27th - Gai Jatra (Kathmandu Valley)
September 12th - Teej (Nationwide)
October 10th-19th - Dashain (Nationwide)
November 5th-9th - Tihar (Nationwide)

There's also a number of national holidays in Nepal and on these dates many businesses and some tourist sites will close for the day so plan your visit accordingly.

See Also

For more handy information on Nepal, check out the following resources:

Best Places to Visit - see our recommended destinations in Nepal
Tourist Visas - the lowdown on visa regulations for Nepal
Top Travel Tips - information on money, health and food in Nepal
Traveller Reviews - see what our passengers say about our Nepal tours
Travel Alerts - latest updates and advice for Nepal
Trekking Guide - accomodation, meals, insurance and more
Everest Base Camp - key information about this famous trek
Annapurna Trekking - highlights and fitness levels

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