Nepal sees enormous climatic variation between the plains of the Terai, the mid-hills (where Kathmandu and Pokhara are located) and the high Himalaya. Temperatures in Kathmandu and Pokhara sit comfortably in the high 70s and low 80s Fahrenheit, while the Terai remains several degrees hotter. Weather in the mountains is cool and clear. It can rain in October, but generally not very much, and usually earlier in the month.
Crowds & Costs
October is peak tourism season in Nepal. The most popular trails in the Everest and Annapurna regions can get quite crowded, and many hotels charge peak-season rates. Book domestic flights and long-distance tourist buses as far ahead of time as possible if traveling in October. If traveling during Dashain (which usually falls in October—see below), plan domestic travel carefully, as buses fill up especially fast in the lead-up to the festival.
Many trekkers consider October is the best month in the mountains of Nepal, as the weather is ideal, visibility is good, and trails are in peak condition. But, you'll rarely have a trail or a viewpoint to yourself on the most popular trails, and teahouses fill up fast. To avoid the crowds, trek to lesser-known or more remote areas of the Himalaya. See Everest Base Camp in October for more about trekking in the Everest Region this month.
Where to Go
Nepal is your oyster in October, with weather and activities at their best throughout the country. That said, you won't be alone a the hot spots. Trekkers who want solitude will need to get off-the-beaten-path in order to avoid crowds and full lodges on the most popular routes. Camping treks allow for the most peace and quiet: Upper Dolpo, the Dhaulagiri Circuit, and the Limi Valley trek are three to consider. For more on camping treks in Nepal, check out this article.
What to Do
You can't go wrong in Nepal in October! Whatever you want to do, conditions are likely to be good. Beyond trekking, white-water rafting and kayaking trips are an excellent activity for October, as water and air temperatures are at their most comfortable. The Sun Kosi, Tamur, and Karnali Rivers offer the perfect settings for a multi-day expedition. Alternatively, learn to kayak on a river closer to Kathmandu or Pokhara. Here's more on the best rafting trips in Nepal.
Traditional Nepali festivals (whether Hindu or Buddhist) usually follow a lunar calendar. This means that some festivals that fall in October one year may be in September or November the next. Some festivals that usually occur in October are:
Dashain is the most important festival for Nepali Hindus, and usually falls in October (although it does occasionally start at the end of September). It runs for 15 days and is a major holiday across Nepal.
Tihar, the festival of lights also called Deepawali in the Terai, is the second most important celebration for Nepali Hindus. It follows Dashain by a few weeks, sometimes falling in October.
Every two years, the Film Southasia documentary film festival is held, either in October or November. The next edition will be in 2019.
Photo Kathmandu is a festival showcasing Nepali and international photography, held in October-November annually.
Traveling to Nepal in October? Check out these great itineraries.
Dhaulagiri Circuit Trek: The Dhaulagiri Circuit trek is challenging, and a real adventure for experienced trekkers who are looking for an expedition-like experience. From farming villages in the Himalayan foothills to high alpine pastures, uninhabited valleys, and close-up views of several peaks over 21,000 ft, this circuit trek is breathtaking at every stage.
Kali Gandaki River Rafting. This medium-length rafting expedition is an excellent way to take advantage of Nepal's post-monsoon rivers. Leaving from the popular lakeside town of Pokhara, you'll brave class III and IV rapids with an expert guide, camp and dine under the stars on riverside beaches, and kayak on smooth sections of the Kali Gandaki.