The peak tourist seasons in Nepal are autumn (September-November) and spring (March and May). During these times, the skies are clearer, the weather is warmer, and the conditions are at its best for outdoor activities. However, the downsides are: price is higher, trek routes and hotels are crowded among others.
Monsoon/summer months (June-August) and the winter months (December-February) are popularly known as off-season months. But just because there are fewer tourists than in peak season, it doesn’t mean there aren’t things to see and enjoy. In fact, you will be surprised to see how much Nepal has to offer even during its season. Mainly, people who have their long holidays over their summer months (whether Southern or Northern hemisphere), the Nepali off-season months can be the most logical time to visit the country. After all, it boils down to where and preparing weather-wise. Here we have listed down some points that justify why you should travel to Nepal during the off-season.
Monsoon season, of course, has its own set of disadvantages – reduced views, leeches’ terror, and muddy routes. But let’s not forget that there are beautiful silver linings to these ominous, grey clouds. In Nepal, even during monsoon, it doesn’t rain all day, but mostly in afternoons and evenings. The right side is – the majority of trekking is done early in the morning. In most scenarios, you will end be in the comfort of your hotel before it even rains. Additionally, the landscape is at its best during the rainy season – the fields are greener, air is cleaner, and jungles are more vibrant.
Mustang, undoubtedly the most popular trekking region of recent times, falls in the rain shadow area and doesn’t receive monsoon rain like other parts of the country. Since it is at a high altitude of 3,800m, trekking here during monsoon sans rain and cold is just perfect.
The Terai region
Often overshadowed by the tall Himalayans is the Terai region of Nepal. The flatlands bordering India can get torturously hot during summers, but comfortable in winter. The biggest attractions of Terai for tourists are Bardia and Chitwan National Parks, and the winter season can be a great time to explore the jungle without bearing the scorching heat.
Water Adventures in Trishuli
Even though water levels rise terrifically in rivers during monsoon, the Trishuli river in central Nepal is still a great destination to go kayaking or rafting. Although the water levels do rise, Trishuli remains very safe to raft and kayak along, unlike other major rivers. Even better, Trishuli conveniently runs parallelly alongside the Kathmandu-Pokhara (Prithvi Highway). Water adventures ranging from one-to-three days can be arranged easily.
If you have a thing for magnificent mountain views and capturing them on your camera, winter is undoubtedly the best time to trek in Nepal. It seldom rains during the winter, and humidity is at its lowest, guaranteeing you a spectacular view of eight-thousanders and other equally splendid peaks. No doubt it will be cold at higher altitude, so make sure to pack extra warm clothes.
Sure, we don’t recommend demanding treks like Three Passes Trek in Everest region and Thorang-La Pass Trek in Annapurna region, as you will be knee-deep in snow. But, mid-altitude treks like Ghandruk-Poonhill Trek, Mardi Himal Trek, Everest Panorama Trek, and Rara Trek are some of Nepal’s most beautiful trekking destinations.
It is given that a benefit of travelling anywhere in the winter season is that there are lesser tourists, and same is the case in Nepal. Favourite trekking trails that usually are dotted with colourful tents and excited trekkers will be emptier, meaning that you won’t have to jostle for unobstructed views. It is especially true in case of the Everest Region and Annapurna region, where during the peak season, the highlight of getting up early to watch the Himalayans is tarnished by hundreds of other tourists doing the same. Less density of tourists will also be felt in Kathmandu and Pokhara, cities that themselves have so much to offer to see and do. Although the cultural magnificence of Kathmandu isn’t season-based and Pokhara’s adventure can be taken year-round, it sure is nice to experience these activities sans the hustle and bustle.
At the time of this writing, Nepali one rupees is equal to USD 116. We can safely say that Nepal has always been an immensely tourist-friendly destination, but the best part is that it becomes, even more, friendlier in the off-season. The flights to the country are cheaper, the hotels are cheaper and likely empty, the trekking and travel packages are cheaper, which means that you will get better value for your money.