Winter, autumn, spring, and summer seasons of Nepal welcome you to different experiences with nature and unique cultures. All of these seasons provide an equal opportunity to travel and enjoy adventurous activities. However, if you are to really go on hiking or trekking without the hassle of dealing with the temperature, autumn, and spring season are hands down the best seasons.
The autumn season which starts in late September and ends at mid-December in Nepal has the best reviews regarding trekking by many travelers. While trekking in Nepal can be done throughout the year, autumn season provides the best experience.
Winter season generally starts from late December and lasts till the month of February. It is very obvious that if you want to trek to higher altitudes near the mountain region in winter, you will have to wear heaps of clothes which will be very difficult while climbing. You may also catch a cold if you are not fully covered. Being sick on a trekking spree gives off the worst experience.
Summer season which starts from March and ends in late May begins with thick mist and fog and later leads to rainfall. The humidity in this season stands as a drawback for trekking. The reason why most trekkers do not prefer to set foot in the summer and monsoon season is that of the muddy rods, the bad weather which can delay transportation, waterproof packs that you have to carry, and also the fear of being bitten by insects. However, if you are among are insistent on trekking in the summer/monsoon season in Nepal, it is highly advised that you travel in the rain shadow areas. Some of the places that we suggest are Upper Mustang, Nar-Phu Valley, Dolpa Trekking, Rara Lake, Jomsom Muktinath and Humla’s Limi valley.
Your trekking experience is also defined by the season that you trek in Nepal. If you are seeking to have the best time in the best weather condition, don’t opt for the strenuous alternatives. If the weather and temperature are correct you will be able to see the true beauty of nature. With the combination of clear views of high standing mountains, green vegetation, the serene landscape you will most certainly have the best trek of your life.
By mid-September you will be greeted by autumn season here in Nepal. The monsoon clouds clear and the autumn sky falls into place giving crystal clear views of the mountains in the day and sparkling galaxy at night. The emerald forests, ivory mountains, and the blue sky intertwine in perfect harmony in the clearest of days in autumn. Autumn season opens up to one of the best trekking experiences in Nepal. The radiance of the sun gives of vibrant colors of the trees and flowers. Your photography skills can be put to the best use during this season. Some of the best places to trek in this season are Annapurna Base Camp, Langtang, Everest Base Camp, Dhaulagiri, and Makalu region. According to the Nepal Tourism Statistics 2016, most trekkers visit Humla, Manaslu, Tsum Valley, Narphu, Mustang, Kanchanjunga and Dolpa.
You might get the chance to have fun with some light snow in the high altitude areas. The harmless snow adds to the charm of any place. The weather is not so cold that you have to wear hefty clothing. The weather is perfect for walking 5 to 6 hours a day. The air does not carry humidity and the temperature is just enough to keep you going without having to sweat a lot. In autumn, neither is the southern plane so hot nor is the northern plane so cold. The temperature ranges from 20 degrees Celsius during the day to 5 degrees Celsius by night at higher elevations. Altitudes above 3500m may also see a drop in the temperature to a negative.
Since the monsoon season will have ended in mid-September, you will not have to worry about heavy rainfall ruing your trip. Autumn does have occasional showers but not such that will dismantle the roads. The skies clear up pretty fast. After the little rain, you might be able to smell the fresh soil. The trails will be visible, and there will not be flight or road transportation delays and cancellations.
Autumn season also marks many festivals. The main festival of the Hindu people, Dashain, known as the festival of victory, and Tihar, known as the festival of lights, also falls in between September, October, and November. During this festive time, you will get to witness the tradition, culture, and customs of the Hindu people. You might even get to be a part of this unique experience. The ambiance is very exciting at this time of the year. In the southern part of Nepal, you will also witness the Chhath festival which is celebrated after Tihar. The auspicious festival worships the Sun god. You will witness people dressed in colorful attire and temples decorated with bright colors such as yellow, green, and red.
During this time of the year, there will not be many difficulties along the trail. It will be relatively easier to climb and hike. Thus, you will not be required to be extremely fit physicallyor have special trekking gears with you during the trip.
Things to consider before trekking in the autumn season:
Autumn season is the peak season for trekking in Nepal. Peak season for tourism means that there will be many people arriving in Nepal. Thus, while you may enjoy the nature in autumn, you might have to sacrifice solitude.
Nepal is a developing country which means that development and infrastructure have not reached many remote areas. There are only a few, maybe one or two, lodges and tea houses in most of the remote areas and at higher altitudes. You cannot expect to get a lavish treatment while you travel in the autumn season since all the lodges and tea houses will be packed. It is vital to know that you might even have to adjust rooms due to the high occupancy. There are even cases when the porters and guides have to sleep in the dining room when all the bedrooms are occupied.
While the off-seasons provide the perk of lower prices, autumn season is notorious for having high prices in basic food and accommodation. The hotels and meals are relatively costlier during the peak seasons.
If you are someone who cannot handle inconveniences, then it is suggested that you take a guide with you. In the peak season, there are chances that you might not get a room if you are an independent traveler. The guides know the local people and can make pre-planned arrangements for you so you will not have to encounter any difficulties during the trek.
What do the tourism statistics have to say?
Even after the horrific earthquake in 2015, Nepal saw a 40% increase in the number of Tourists arriving in 2016. Out of a total of 753002 tourists in 2016, 66490 (8.83%) came for trekking and mountaineering purpose according to the Nepal Tourism Statistics. As per the statistics of 2016, the number of tourists that arrived in September, October, November, and December was 74670, 89281, 72990, and 76,356 respectively. This shows that autumn season alone receives up to 41.6% tourists out of the total tourist arrived in 2016. Summer/monsoon, winter, and spring seasons collectively received up to 58.4% tourists. This indicates that autumn is, in fact, the peak season for traveling in Nepal.
In the year 2017, the number of foreign tourists arriving in Nepal was reported to be 940218. In the same year, Nepal was named No. 1 best value destination by travel expert, Lonely Planet which gives an additional reason to visit Nepal.
Autumn and spring are indeed the best seasons to trek in Nepal due to the ambiance of the natural beauty, cultural diversity, plantation, landscape and much more. If you are a travel enthusiast who wants to experience the best of Nepal, we highly recommend you to set foot in the land of Himalayas in the autumn season.