From mountain peaks to rolling hills and humid jungles to high-altitude deserts, Nepal offers up a remarkable variety of landscapes for such a small country. This varied terrain is home to a remarkably diverse range of people and cultures, ensuring that the Nepali calendar is packed with festivals, celebrations and special events.
Whether you’re here to trek through the Himalayas, spot rhinos on a jungle safari or explore the centuries-old temples of the Kathmandu Valley, it pays to get the timing right. Most travelers come to Nepal in the spring or fall, when the warm temperatures and clear skies are perfect for trekking and other adventure activities.
Smaller numbers head here in the winter, when the trails are icy and the hills are snowbound, and during the summer monsoon, when travel can be a challenge thanks to the rainy conditions, and views vanish behind dense rainclouds.
Here’s our guide to the best times to visit Nepal for trekking, temple-hopping and more.
The high season (October–November) is the time to trek in perfect weather
Warm, dry weather and cloud-free skies make the October-November period the most popular time to visit Nepal, with ideal conditions for trekking and other outdoor thrills in the hills. The downside is you’ll also find hordes of other travelers, including thousands hiking the trails that snake through the Annapurna massif and the foothills around Mt Everest (Sagarmatha).
The cost of accommodation spikes – particularly in traveler hangouts such as Kathmandu and Pokhara – and rooms get booked up well in advance. So do flights to trekking trailheads, so plan your transport well ahead at this time.
Shoulder season (March–April) is the best time for wildlife-watching
The spring is the second most popular time to visit Nepal, with warm weather and blooming rhododendron forests in the highlands. It’s increasingly hot in the southern Terai region, but the tall grasses that surround rivers and watering holes in Chitwan National Park and Bardia National Park have been hacked back by March, making it easier to spot one-horned rhinos, tigers and other wildlife.
Low season (June–September and December–February) is the best time for cheap deals
Although the timing of the monsoon varies a bit each year, the skies typically fill with rain clouds from June to September. Expect transport disruption, landslides, cloudy skies that block the mountain views and plenty of rain, mud and leeches on the trails. But the lack of fellow travelers, sizable accommodation discounts and lush scenery also makes the monsoon an interesting and inexpensive time to visit the country. Tourist numbers also plummet during the chilly Nepali winter, through some lower-altitude trekking routes remain open and the plains are warm and dry at this time of year.
During the winter, the Kathmandu Valley can be chilly in the evenings, and higher-altitude trekking areas are bitterly cold. Snow may block off some trekking routes and many teahouse and lodge owners close their doors. By contrast, the Terai is pleasantly warm and ripe for exploration.
Key events: Magh Sankranti
The start of spring sees rising tourist numbers, as well as temperatures. Late February is a good time to visit the national parks of the Terai, go trekking at lower elevations, and hang out in the temperate traveler town of Pokhara. There are several notable events, including the Hindu festival of Holi, which can also fall in March. It marks the end of winter, symbolizes the triumph of good over evil and sees locals throw around vast quantities of vividly colored powder. Losar – Tibetan New Year, which falls in February or March – sees celebrations at many Buddhist monasteries.
Key events: Losar, Holi
As temperatures continue to climb, the trekking areas get busier and higher-altitude trails become passable again, though cloud cover means the mountain views are often obscured at this time of the year. It’s an excellent time for safaris in the Terai.
Key events: Seto Machhendranath Festival (can also fall in April), Maha Shivaratri (can also fall in February)
April is the second most popular time to trek, after the peak October–November trekking season. The Terai and other low-lying areas are increasingly hot and sticky, though wildlife-watching opportunities abound. This is a great month to visit Bhaktapur, which celebrates the New Year with Bisket Jatra, when huge wooden chariots carrying temple effigies are hauled through the city center’s meandering streets (celebrations spill over into neighboring Thimi).
Key events: Bisket Jatra, Balkumari Jatra, Balaju Jatra
In the run-up to the monsoon, temperatures soar in the Kathmandu Valley, the Terai and lower-elevation trekking areas, and rain showers become increasingly common in the afternoons. However, this is the prime season for mountaineering expeditions to Everest and neighboring peaks because of the favorable conditions at higher elevations.
May is also a good time to spot tigers in Chitwan and Bardia. Looking at the events calendar, Buddha Jayanti sees major Buddhist celebrations in Lumbini, Boudhanath, Swayambhunath and beyond, while the city of Patan hosts its biggest festival, with processions and chariot parades devoted to the deity Rato Machhendranath.
Key events: Rato Machhendranath Festival (can also fall in April), Buddha Jayanti (can also fall in April)
The monsoon typically arrives in mid-June, though the start date can shift by several weeks from year to year. Expect swollen rivers, landslides, leeches, and extremely muddy or impassable trails. Tourist numbers plummet during this period, but so do prices. Expect disruption to transport by road and air.
The monsoon continues to pound Nepal, though a few high trans-Himalayan valleys escape the worst of the weather and remain open for trekking. They include Upper Mustang, which has a semi-arid climate and is rich in Tibetan culture.
Heavy rains remain a constant in August. The landscape is lush and farming areas are filled with fresh greenery. This is a busy month for Hindu celebrations, including Krishna Jayanta, the birthday of the Hindu god Krishna, and Teej, a three-day festival devoted to women (which starts at the end of July in 2022). Naga Panchami, celebrating the snake spirits of Nepal's rivers, ponds and temple tanks, is an interesting time to visit Bhaktapur.
Key events: Ghanta Karna, Naga Panchami, Janai Purnima, Gai Jatra (can fall in September), Krishna Jayanta, Teej (can fall in July)
The monsoon generally peters out by mid-September, ushering in clearer skies. Travelers start to return, drawn by the warm temperatures, lush green landscapes and – thanks to high water levels in the rivers – excellent whitewater rafting. This is also the time for one of Kathmandu's biggest festivals, Indra Jatra, in which the Kumari – Kathmandu's 'living goddess' – makes a rare public appearance.
Key events: Indra Jatra
The start of the high season in Nepal, with awesome Himalayan vistas, comfortable temperatures and perfect conditions for trekking. Demand for rooms, flight tickets and trekking lodges goes through the roof – book everything well in advance. This is also the time for Nepal’s biggest festival, Dasain, a 15-day celebration of Hindu goddess Durga’s triumph over the buffalo demon Mahisa-sura (it can also fall in September). Tihar (Diwali), the Hindu festival of lights, takes place in October or November, depending on the lunar calendar.
Key events: Pachali Bhairab Jatra, Dasain (can also fall in September), Fulpati (Phulpati), Maha Astami, Navami, Vijaya Dashami, Kartika Purnima, Tihar (Diwali, can also fall in November), Newari New Year, Haribodhini Ekadashi
The peak season continues through November, with tourist numbers remaining high and excellent weather for trekking, mountain biking, rafting, paragliding and other outdoor adventures. The fascinating Sherpa festival of Mani Rimdu draws many visitors to the Solu Khumbu region around Everest (in some years it takes place in October).
Key events: Kartik Dances, Mani Rimdu (can also fall in October)
Traveler numbers slowly decline as the winter starts to bite. Temperatures fall, snow dumps block high mountain passes and treks to areas such as Everest Base Camp and Annapurna Base Camp become much more challenging. It’s a good month to explore the national parks and religious sites in the Terai, where the weather is still warm. Many people had to Pokhara for the Pokhara Street Festival, a big celebration with cultural performances, parades and street food – book accommodation in the city well in advance.
Key events: Bala Chaturdashi, Sita Bibaha Panchami, Pokhara Street Festival