Nepal travel tips for winter
Posted: Nov 06, 2019
December till February is winter in Nepal. The vertically rising landscape makes the weather and temperature different from places to places. But one thing is certain that winter is not the best time for high altitude treks. But the crisp sky, warm and sunny days with crystal clear view of the Himalayas makes it the best time to do Nepal tour with short treks in the foothills.
Winter is actually the best month to visit tropical southern plains and the Himalayan foothills. Temperature varies from average maximum 20 degree to – 8 degree centigrade between tropical planes to the Himalayan foothills during the coldest months. Winter days are dry, sunny and warm during the day. The temperature reaches minimum at night which could be managed with heating facilities at hotels and warm clothing.
Since high altitude treks are closed, the number of tourists visiting during winter goes down by one fourth. This offers low costs and it is less crowded. Since it snows in the Himalayas, the mountains appear even more photogenic. Local tourists as well as tourists from Southeast Asia go on a short trek in Nepal during the winter months to play with snow.
Here are some of the winter travel tips for Nepal
- Winter is peak tourist season for Lumbini, the birth place of Buddha and Buddhist circuit tour. So book your logistics well in advance.
- Domestic flights may be delayed or cancelled sometimes because of fog and low clouds in Kathmandu and Pokhara valley. Early flights are recommended.
- Cold wave may affect the visibility and cause bad weather for few days during the winter months. So be prepared and have flexible plan with enough time to drive in case of flight cancellation.
- It will snow in the altitude above 2,000 m during the month of January and February. However it is still possible to trek as the snow is less than a feet. It is fun and the scenery becomes picturesque with more snow on the Himalayas. The trail will be more slippery. So be prepared with appropriate equipment.
- Trekking trails and major tourist destinations get busy for a brief during the Christmas and New Year holiday. So book your trek and tour in advance if you are travelling during the time.
Nepal tour in winter
December is the beginning of winter. It is still possible to do popular treks to Annapurna base camp and Everest base camp in early December. Nepal in December sees more tourists for short treks and cultural tours. The good weather of November continues with temperature dropping every day. January is the coldest month best for only cultural tours and short hikes. End of February may have too much snow in the high altitude treks. Here are some of the best Nepal tours and treks recommendations for winter.
Short treks in Nepal during winter
There are several popular short treks in the foothills of the Himalayas which could be done throughout winter. These short treks last from 3 days to one week and allow one to have up-close view of the Himalayas. Maximum altitude of the short treks reaches between 2,000 m to 3,500 m. There are well established teahouses and luxury lodges for accommodation which remains open throughout winter. Ghorepani Poon Hill trek, Shivapuri trek, Langtang and short Everest trek to Namche bazaar or Tengboche are the most popular short treks for winter. Winter trekking guarantees clear view of the Himalayas with fewer trekkers along the trail.
Tour of Nepal
Winter is also the best time to on a Nepal tour. Kathmandu Chitwan and Pokhara are known as ‘Golden Triangle of Nepal’. These valleys are in the foothills of the Himalayas and it never snows. While Kathmandu is 1,350 m, Pokhara is just 800 m above the sea level. Chitwan national park is in the tropical southern planes with the altitude of 150 m. The hill station towns like Nagarkot and Bandipur gives best insight of country side lifestyle and the Himalayan scenery. Winter tour of Nepal could be combines with hiking around Kathmandu and Pokhara as well. A tour could be planned from 5 days to two weeks.
Winter months of December, January and February is actually the best time for Buddhist circuit tour. Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha is in the southern planes closer to India. There are also few other important Buddhist pilgrimage sites around Kathmandu at not higher altitude than 1,700 m. Buddhist pilgrimage tour of Nepal is about 9 days spiritual tour visiting the birth place of Buddha and meditation caves of Buddhist masters like Guru Rinpoche (Padmashambhava), Nagarjuna and Milarepa.
Buddhist circuit tour of India and Nepal follows the footsteps of Buddha. The 10 to 12 days tour visits Lumbini, Boudhgaya, Sarnath and Kushinagar. The winter months are the peaks tourist season for this Buddhist tour of India and Nepal.
I am an adventurer from the Himalayas of Nepal. I love exploring new places, reading no fiction books and writing travel journal. Here is my Nepal Tibet Bhtutan tour blog.