Nepal sees enormous climatic variation between the plains of the Terai, the mid-hills of Kathmandu and Pokhara, and the high Himalaya. Nepal's winter is short in most places, and there's little transition between the cold of early February and the heat of March. Temperatures on the Terai can be scorching by March, well above 90°F, while Kathmandu and Pokhara can reach 80°F. The mountain areas at high altitude will still be cold, however, especially at night.
Crowds & Costs
March is less busy than April, but accommodation on the most popular trekking trails (such as in the Everest and Annapurna regions) can still fill up quickly. Similarly, domestic flights to popular destinations and tourist buses between Kathmandu and Pokhara can fill up quickly. If you're traveling in a group, booking far in advance is wise, although solo travelers will have less of a problem getting tickets.
Both lower and higher altitude treks will be enjoyable and comfortable by March. Accommodation in the Mustang region opens up again, although the temperatures there remain cold for several more weeks. It's a good idea to prepare for the cold when traveling there in March, as the winds that whip up by mid-morning are still bitterly cold. Most camping treks that go to high altitude will still be off-limits in March, so teahouse treks are a better option.
Where to Go
Late January through March is an ideal time to go on a jungle safari in the Chitwan National Park. The tall elephant grass that grows thick in the jungle is cut back, making it easier to see the animals. Unfortunately, Kathmandu is particularly dusty in March, so it's best to head straight out of the city to the hills, mountains, and rivers instead.
What to Do
White-water rafting and kayaking trips start up again in March, with water and air temperatures rising. These can be as short as one day, or as long as 12. Canyoning is also possible in a few places, as well as kayaking lessons. March is when most trekking trails come back to life, too. Accommodation on trails that may have been shut during winter opens up again, and teahouses on the busiest trails fill up quickly.
Trekking peaks—which combine the best of both a long-distance trek and a mountain climb—are accessible from March. Travelers can also enjoy cultural activities, mountain biking, paragliding, and jungle safaris this month.
Read more about Nepal's best rafting trips in this article.
Traditional Nepali festivals (whether Hindu or Buddhist) usually follow a lunar calendar. This means that some festivals that fall in March one year may be in February or April the next. Some festivals that often fall in March are:
Ghode Jatra, a festival in Kathmandu when the Nepal Army performs horse races to ward off the demon Gurumapa.
Maha Shivaratri, celebrated throughout the country but particularly lively at Kathmandu's Pashupatinath Temple where thousands of sadhus (Hindu holy men) gather to worship Lord Shiva.
Holi, a festival of color celebrated around the country (on one day in the Terai, and the next in the hill areas) to welcome spring. Water and brightly colored powder are thrown in the air—a great opportunity for photos.
Traveling to Nepal in March? Check out these great itineraries.
Upper Mustang Trek. Tourism infrastructure starts to open up again in Mustang in March. This moderate, lesser-known trek passes through one of the driest regions of Nepal and provides spectacular mountain scenery.
Climb Island Peak. For experienced trekkers who want to try their hand at mountain climbing, or less-experienced climbers looking for a good challenge, Island Peak is a great option in the Himalaya. It follows much of the classic Everest Base Camp trek, and the panoramic views from the peak of the highest mountains in the world are unforgettable. Though the trek itself takes 17 days, plan to spend at least 3 weeks in country.