There are two major factors to
weigh as you decide when to go to Nepal: crowds
and weather. As a general rule, the better the
weather, the more people come to Nepal to go
trekking. During the high tourist season in
October and November, flights and hotels are
fully booked and hotels and trails in the hills
can be horrendously busy.
During autumn the nights are cold
in the mountains, but the bright sun makes for
pleasant day temperatures - in the high 20s°
C, falling to 5° C at night, between 1000 metres
and 3500 metres. At higher altitudes temperatures
range from about 20° C down to -10° C. Mornings
are usually clear with clouds building up during
the afternoon, disappearing at night to reveal
spectacular starry skies. During winter it is
about 10 degrees colder.
Early December usually has a lull,
but this is also a good trekking season. The
Christmas period is cold, but this is the holiday
season in Japan and Australia and these nationalities
dominate flights and hotels. High passes, especially
Thorung La on the Around Annapurna trek and
Laurabina Pass on the Gosainkund trek are usually
closed from late November to March. February
is still cold, though less so as the spring
trekking season of March and April approaches.
The Middle Hills, especially around Pokhara,
are full of dust and haze in April and May,
but the high country is usually clear. Trekking
tapers off in the heat of May except at high
The monsoon is a good time to
visit Kathmandu, but there are few trekkers
among those who come. A monsoon trek is possible
if you are willing to put up with the rain,
leeches, slippery trails and lousy mountain
views. Flights operate throughout the monsoon
to Lukla, Jumla and Jomsom, so it is possible
to fly in and trek above the leech line.
Many of the new treks to recently
opened restricted areas are good summer treks.
Mustang and Simikot are partially in the Himalayan
rain shadow, so trekking conditions are good
throughout the monsoon season. Most of the restricted
area treks are impossible during the winter
Nepal has four distinct seasons. Spring, from
March to May, is warm and dusty with rain showers.
Summer, from June to August, is the monsoon
season when the hills turn lush and green. Autumn,
from September to November, is cool with clear
skies, and is the most popular trekking season.
In winter, from December to February, it is
cold at night and can be foggy in the early
morning, but afternoons are usually clear and
pleasant, though there is occasional snow in
Because Nepal is quite far south
(at the same latitude as Miami and Cairo) the
weather is warmer and winter is much milder
at lower elevations, including Kathmandu at
1400 metres. It rarely snows below 2000 metres.
The monsoon in the Bay of Bengal
governs the weather pattern. The monsoon creates
a rainy season from the middle of June to the
middle of September. It is hot during the monsoon
and it rains almost every day, but it is a considerate
rain, limiting itself mostly to the night. During
this season, trekking in most of Nepal is difficult
and uncomfortable. Clouds usually hide the mountains
and the trails are muddy and infested with leeches.
It usually does not rain for more
than one or two days during the entire autumn
season from mid-October to mid-December. During
winter and spring there may be a week or so
of rainy evenings and occasional thunderstorms
blanket the hills with snow. The Himalaya makes
its own localised weather, which varies significantly
over a distance of a few km. Despite the sanguine
assurances of Radio Nepal that the weather will
be "...mainly fair throughout the kingdom",
always expect clouds in the afternoon and be
prepared for occasional rain.
Most of the precipitation in the
Himalaya occurs during the summer monsoon. There
is less snow on the mountains and on many of
the high trails during winter. Everest itself
is black rock during the trekking season, becoming
snow-covered only during summer. There are always
exceptions to this weather pattern, so be prepared
for extremes. Winter snowstorms in December
and January may make an early spring pass crossing
difficult and can present an avalanche danger,
especially on the approach to the Annapurna
In Kathmandu, spring and autumn
days are comfortable and the evenings are cool,
usually requiring a light jacket or pullover.
Winter in Kathmandu brings cold foggy mornings
and clear evenings, but pleasant day temperatures
with brilliant sunshine most days after the
morning fog has lifted. It never snows in Kathmandu,
though there is frost on cold nights in January
and February. The hottest month is May, just
before the rains start.
in Kathmandu are as follows:
Temperatures in the Everest Region
average 20 to 30° F (10 to 15° C) colder than
the above figures up to about 14,000 feet, the
highest point reached on a short Everest trek.
Near Pokhara, temperatures are 5 to 10° F (3
to 5° C) warmer than Kathmandu. Remember that
it will often feel quite cold because you will
be outdoors all day.