Nepal

The country at the top of the world

With the spectacular Himalayas running down its eastern side, it’s no surprise Nepal is known as the roof of the world. Getting out into these vast panoramas with their immense snowy peaks, flower-strewn meadows and sparkling lakes ‒ while also making time to relax at chilled out Pokhara ‒ is reason enough to visit. But there's far more to Nepal than just mountains and trekking.

Down on the hot lush plains of the Terai, you'll find a brace of magical national parks where rare beasts like one-horned rhino and tiger roam and the trees twitch with birdlife. Your chances of seeing rhino are surprisingly high if you visit in the spring. Then there are the cultural jewels, a scattering of ancient cities stuffed with serene temples, cobbled alleys and hidden squares. In parts of Bhaktapur, Patan and the vibrant capital Kathmandu, it feels like life hasn't changed in generations.

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Trekking In Nepal

Nepal's best treks and hikes

The mighty Himalaya have occupied a special place in the imaginations of adventurers and intrepid travellers for generations. And nowhere more so than the nation of Nepal: land of the Sherpa and home of Mount Everest (plus eight of the world’s other 10 tallest peaks!) A country that embodies the allure and romance of these unimaginably vast mountains.

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Things to do in Nepal

Our recommended experiences and activities

Nepal

Annapurna circuit

The Himalayas range is 10 times the size of France, so it’s no surprise that the majority of people heading to Nepal come here to explore the range. Top of the routes is the Annapurna circuit, with its 125km circular route around the range and landscapes ranging from jungle to alpine forest.

Nepal

Everest base camp

Hiking to base camp is either a beginning or an end: for some, it marks the culmination of their trip, for others the beginning of something bigger. Either way, the views on the hike are spectacular.

Nepal

Langtang Valley

Langtang offers short alpine treks near the Nepalese border with Tibet. Although relatively low in altitude, trekking along the valley offers plenty of wildlife and alpine views. It also offers excellent short (one week) treks.

Nepal

Chitwan National Park

This World Heritage listed Chitwan National Park is one of the best places in Nepal for viewing wildlife. Spot rhinos, monkeys and more than 500 species of bird -- and even a leopard if you’re lucky.

Nepal

Thyanboche (Tengboche)

Thyangboche is tucked away in the north-eastern corner of Nepal and is only accessible by trekking. A spiritual home for sherpas, Thyangboche is home to the Tengboche Monastery — the largest Buddhist learning centre in the entire Everest region.

Nepal

Phakding

Phakding might be small, but it’s worth visiting, whether as part of a trip to Everest base camp or independently. This small village near the Dudh Kosi river is a photographer’s dream, with forests, a meltwater river and mountains in the background.

Nepal

The forests of Makalu

Isolated villages, forests hung in mosses and orchids, high yak pastures and, finally, the rock and ice wastes around Makalu base camp make for some of the most inspiring mountain vistas in Nepal.

Nepal

Hidden Dolpo

A vast and little known swathe of western Nepal, Dolpo is a magical region of frozen desert, piercing blue skies and unnamed peaks folding along the furthest horizon.

Nepal

Cultural Upper Mustang

Shrouded in mystery and completely closed to outsiders until 1992, walking here is as much a cultural experience as a mountain one.

When to visit Nepal

Nepal Seasons and climate

The all-powerful Indian monsoon is the defining feature of life and tourism in Nepal.

October to April is the dry season and, overall, this is the best time to trek in most of Nepal. But within that, the ideal trekking time is really from October to early November when the skies are crystal clear and the visibility excellent. It’s warm in the valleys and cool to cold up high. However, this is also the busiest time on the main trails, and villages can be overwhelmed with trekkers.

Avoid the monsoon season from May to September, when trekking routes close and paths become dangerous. If visiting Nepal during monsoon, stick to the major cities, which are often much quieter than during peak periods.

Nepal_weather-chart

Month-by-month

October to November is the most popular time to trek in Nepal, with the weather at its mildest and the temperatures manageable. However, routes can be busy during these months and trekking lodges full, so make sure you plan your stops in advance.

December to February is also an excellent time to trek, when trails are much quieter and visibility is still excellent. However, it can be bitterly cold up high, and some passes can be snowed in. Treks in the Annapurna circuit and to Everest base camp are still possible at this time.

March to early May can be another good time to trek. It’s much warmer up high, but uncomfortably hot lower down. Rhododendrons turn the slopes aflame with purples and reds. On the negative side, heat haze builds up and the air is less clear. The first pre-monsoon storm clouds build up and you’ll probably get soaked by intense thunderstorms.

May is a superb time to trek areas which lie in the Himalayan rain shadow. Trails in areas like Upper Mustang and Dolpo are quieter than in June to September, and the mountain views are better. By late May the thunderstorms become more frequent and it remains dangerously hot at lower levels.

In June the monsoon really starts to make its presence felt. In Nepal the torrential rain and massive thunderstorms last roughly from late-June to mid-September. For much of the country this is a very bad time to trek. Many trekking lodges will be closed, mountain views obscured, and trails become a quagmire of mud and leeches. However there are exceptions and places such as Upper Mustang which lie in the Himalayan rain shadow can still be trekked.

Events and holidays

Trekking in Nepal isn’t just about the mountain views and awe-inspiring passes. Along the way, trekkers will also pass through many Nepalese villages and interact with local communities. This is an opportunity to partake in Nepalese festivals and events.

Lasting 15 days between September and October, Dashain is the biggest cultural festival in Nepal. Celebrated by Hindus and Buddhists alike, this festival sees music, dancing, kite-flying and colourful processions of Hindu and Nepalese gods. A word of warning - animal sacrifice to appease the gods is a part of the festival.

October and November sees the Mani Rimdu festival, a 19-day event that culminates in a three-day public holiday. This is a great time to be trekking around Tengboche or to Everest base camp, as you’ll witness celebrations as local Sherpa and Tibetan communities join forces with Buddhist monks. You’ll witness folkloric dancing and singing, religious ceremonies and, if you’re lucky, the renowned mask dance at Tengboche monastery.

The pre-monsoon months of February and March sees Nepal welcome the Hindu Holi festival, a colourful celebration welcoming spring and the defeat of the Hindu demoness Holika. Join devotees in throwing coloured powder and water - but make sure to not wear your best clothes.

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