January is firmly in Nepal's trekking off-season, with low visitor numbers across the country. Kathmandu gets quite cold in the evenings, and it's even colder up in the mountains at higher elevations. But, if you're prepared for cold temperatures (and snow!), the clear views and the fact that you'll have the trails to yourself make this a surprisingly great time to trek through the Everest region.
Nepal Travel Insights
Nepal is best-known for the Himalayas, Mount Everest, and its amazing treks. Eight of the world’s 14 eight thousand meter peaks are located in Nepal, creating world-class mountaineering and trekking opportunities. But Nepal has much more to offer than just its mountains. Its capital, Kathmandu, is a bustling city with seven Unesco World Heritage sites including Boudhanath, the world largest Buddhist stupa. The Nepalese lowlands in the south are subtropical and are home to tigers, elephants, and rhinos. The people of Nepal are among the warmest and most welcoming in the world.
Most people visit Nepal in spring and autumn, but in recent years winter and summer have become popular seasons as well. Trekking in the Himalaya is a life-changing experience for many travelers. Longer treks include the Everest Base Camp Trek, the Annapurna Circuit, and the newly popular Manaslu Circuit, while shorter treks such as the Ghorepani Trek to Poon Hill offer experiences travelers who want to experience the mountains at lower elevations. Rafting the rivers of Nepal is also world-class, and so is mountain biking on Nepal's countless trails and paragliding above the Phewa Lake in Pokhara.
Most popular tourist attractions are popular for good reason. But travelers who want to avoid crowds and tourist traps should also seek out some of these lesser-known attractions in Nepal. Here are a few beautiful and interesting places in Nepal that most people miss—but shouldn't.
If you're trekking in the Himalayas, you may spend a day or two in Pokhara along the way. But the lakeside city is more than a stopover: from spectacular sunrise views and paragliding to boating to a Buddhist temple and dining on traditional Tibetan food, there's plenty to see and do. Here's the perfect plan for spending 24 hours in Pokhara. Spoiler alert: you'll be getting up early.
Nepal is a geographically diverse place. Though many travelers associate the country with the Himalayas, a significant portion of Nepal's land is flat—including on the Terai, the plains and forests near the border of India. With this ultimate guide to the Terai, discover another side of Nepal, from national parks filled with rhinos to the birthplace of the Buddha.
Namche Bazaar is a thriving Sherpa town in the Everest Region that can only be reached on foot (or by helicopter). It's a common rest stop for acclimatization, and many trekking itineraries include two nights here before the trail ascends to greater heights. Make your day in town count with these activities, from cultural sights to the famed Saturday market—and even an Irish pub with Himalayan views.
In a city as big and diverse as Kathmandu, it'd be a shame to only visit one or two popular areas. Different neighborhoods here offer diverse experiences: Tibetan culture, Hindu temples, unique accommodation, and so on. Here's a quick guide to some of the key neighborhoods of Kathmandu.
Planning a trip to Nepal? The country offers much more in the way of accommodation than just hotels. Consider spending a night or two in one of these unique alternatives, be it a trailside teahouse, traditional homestay, Buddhist monastery, or luxury mountain lodge at 13,000 feet.
The Himalaya is a great destination for travelers seeking high-altitude adventure and cultural immersion. Much of your experience will depend on the region you visit: Nepal, Bhutan, or the Himalayan regions of northern India. Camping treks and guided cultural tours in Bhutan, remote trekking and varied landscapes in India, or the classic routes (and many trekking alternatives) of Nepal—which should you choose? Read on to find out.
Newlywed couple Heneu and Brooke take adventure seriously. Trekking in Nepal was at the top of their "pre-kids bucket list," and they enlisted kimkim to create a once-in-a-lifetime itinerary. Read on to hear what they loved about their trip, which included a six-day Khopra Danda trek, Chitwan jungle safari, and a high altitude campsite they'll never forget.
Mount Everest straddles the Nepal-Tibet border, and travelers interested in visiting base camp can do so on either side of the world's tallest mountain. Trekking is only one of several ways to get there, and both starting points come with their own set of considerations. Nepal offers challenging trekking routes and scenic helicopter rides, while Tibet boasts incredible Everest views and the chance to see a less-visited area—read on for more of what to expect.
This two-and-a-half-week trek through Langtang and Helambu is one of the most spectacular Nepal has to offer. Just north of the Kathmandu Valley, this route is classified as moderate and will take you from the banks of the Bhote Kosi River through the Langtang Valley to the sacred Gosaikunda Lake and the Hyolmo villages of Helambu. You'll see expansive mountain views, travel through lush forests and sleep in Nepali tea houses on this Himalayan adventure.
Planning to visit Nepal by yourself? You may be flying solo, but you won't be alone—Nepal is a popular destination for solo travelers, and great options are available whether you want to join a small group tour or hire a private guide. Before planning your adventure, read on to learn what to expect when booking a guided solo trip to Nepal through kimkim.
October is the most popular month for visitors traveling to Nepal. Trekking conditions are glorious, the crisp skies offer excellent mountain views, and cultural festivals offer many opportunities to celebrate. Rates and crowds are at their peak, but for good reason—read on to discover why you should get in on the action in Nepal in October.
December isn't peak season in Nepal—but with clear, sunny skies and mild temperatures in many places, perhaps it should be. If you've been considering coming to Nepal at the start of winter, take the plunge with this monthly guide.
November is a lovely month to travel in Nepal, and not as busy with travelers as October. Most trails are still available to trekkers, temperatures are comfortable, and there are important cultural festivals to enjoy. Read on for more about traveling to Nepal in the last month of autumn.
As the monsoon rains subside, travelers begin returning to Nepal this month. The autumn air is cool and clear, popular teahouse treks in the Everest Region are beginning to open up, and a host of lively celebrations keeps the atmosphere festive. Read on for more about visiting Nepal in September.
While August is still a month of monsoon rains, they ease by the end of the month. Visitors to Nepal in August will be welcomed by dazzlingly green rice fields. High altitude hiking is out of the question, but trails in the magical Mustang region remain dry. And this is a good time for cultural sightseeing—you'll have the most popular spots all to yourself.
With the arrival of monsoon season in Nepal, visitor numbers thin out considerably in June. But there are still a number of cultural and trekking activities you can enjoy in this warmer month, if you know where to look.
July falls right in the middle of Nepal's monsoon season, making it the least visited month of the year. That said, there are still things to see and do when it's wet out. Head to the Mustang region for excellent trekking or dig into the endless cultural sights of Kathmandu and Pokhara, taking advantage of lower prices along the way.
April is perhaps the most popular month for travel in Nepal, with prime weather for outdoor adventures at any altitude. The most popular trekking routes are at their best and busiest—you'll need to book well in advance to secure your spot on the trail. While you won't have the country all to yourself, you'll find that this is peak season for good reason.
March is the start of one of Nepal's two annual peak tourist seasons, and it's also when the temperatures have truly warmed up after winter. With the thawing of many high-altitude trekking trails, river levels primed for whitewater rafting, and some exciting cultural festivals, March is a great time to travel to Nepal.
By mid-to-late February in much of Nepal, winter starts giving way to the warmth of spring, yet international travelers are still not arriving in large numbers. Beyond low-altitude trekking, this is also a great month for jungle safaris, and conditions are excellent for mountain biking. Read on to find out why you should beat the crowds by visiting Nepal in February.
While January is the middle of winter in Nepal, travelers shouldn't hesitate to visit. Manageable temperatures, crystal-clear skies, and excellent low-altitude hiking make this a surprisingly perfect winter destination. Plus, this is the best month for spotting wildlife in Chitwan National Park. Read on to discover why you can (and should!) start your year with a trip to Nepal.
May is the last month of true springtime in Nepal. Temperatures can be hot in the cities and at lower elevations, but conditions are still good for trekking—so get in quick before the rains start.
The holy grail of treks since it first opened to foreigners in the early 1980s, the Annapurna Circuit is one of the most popular high-altitude adventures in the world. The route crosses two different river valleys and encircles the Annapurna massif through lowland villages occupied by Brahmin and Chhetri ethnic people to the upper settlements of Manang Valley.
This multi-activity tour is a perfect combination of adventure and culture featuring historic villages, wildlife, and some down time. You'll explore the Kathmandu Valley's popular attractions before flying to Pokhara to begin your multi-day trek through the Annapurna foothills. Meet Gurung locals, visit beautiful Namo Buddha, raft whitewater, feed elephants, and safari in the famous Chitwan National Park.
This tour combines three of Nepal's most famous regions—Everest, Pokhara, and Chitwan. You'll start with a short multi-day trek into the heart of the Everest region to Namche Bazaar for views of Mount Everest. Returning to Kathmandu, you'll fly to Pokhara for a bit of relaxation and optional day tours into the surrounding hills. Finally, you'll head south to Nepal's jungle in Chitwan, to experience the wildlife and unique cultures of this region.
This route takes you off-the-beaten-path in the lower Annapurna region to multiple spectacular viewpoints. You'll hike through local villages, terraced farmland, and dense bamboo, oak, pine, and rhododendron forests to rewarding vistas of snow-capped Himalaya. Contrast your adventure with a relaxing stay in the peaceful village of Bandipur before heading south to explore Chitwan's jungle and wildlife.
Few travelers venture up the Chukhung Valley, except those looking to scale Lhotse or climb Island Peak. It's a beautiful trek where you'll come face-to-face with the Lhotse Wall and ascend Chukhung Ri, an 18,208 ft (5,550 m) ridgeline above the village of Chukhung.
Experience the beauty of Kathmandu, Pokhara, and Chitwan. This tour takes you past small farming villages where you'll get the opportunity to experience local daily life, beautiful scenery of lush green forests, ancient temples, and rich terraced fields. Featuring a short easy trek, this itinerary is ideal for those short on time or new to trekking who want to explore the Pokhara Valley.
Experience the highlights of Nepal with the right amount of cultural exploration, trekking, and plenty of downtime in between. This tour combines a visit to traditional villages followed by a multi-day trek through beautiful landscapes to stunning vistas in the Annapurna region. Begin and end in Kathmandu, exploring the capital's main attractions before your flight home.
This fast-paced trip includes takes you on a number of mini-adventures: rafting, trekking, and paragliding. You'll visit the two main traveler hubs of Nepal—Kathmandu and Pokhara—and have some time to explore the main cultural sights at the beginning and end of your trip.
This Balthali Village Trek features multi-day trekking with an overnight in Balthali. Begin your trip by driving a short distance from Nepal's capital to the edge of the Kathmandu Valley rim, passing through quiet farming villages and lush forests. You will experience local customs, discover ancient temples and historic villages, and enjoy the snow-capped Himalaya as a backdrop to your adventures.
This Best of Nepal tour perfectly mixes adventure and cultural exploration with relaxation. Featuring multiple days of trekking through the Annapurna foothills, you will start in the Kathmandu Valley before flying to Pokhara to begin the trekking portion of the itinerary. Discover Gurung villages and ancient temples and feed elephants and safari in the Chitwan National Park.
This multi-activity tour combines adventure with villages, wildlife, and relaxation. You'll explore Kathmandu, visit the beautiful village of Namobuddha, as well as the Pokhara Valey for a multi-day trek through the Annapurna foothills. Along the way, take in a rafting adventure on the Seti River before spending a day with elephants and going on a jungle safari in the famous Chitwan National Park.
Begin your trip in lively Kathmandu before setting off toward Pokhara for a half-day of rafting on the Trishuli River. Spend time exploring Pokhara and enjoying the great views of the Annapurna range before returning to Kathmandu. This is a great itinerary for all ages and rafting experience and provides a well-rounded taste of Nepal in a short amount of time.
Explore the cultural and natural highlights of the Kathmandu and Pokhara valleys, with an additional day in Kathmandu. Begin with Kathmandu's main cultural sites before driving to Pokhara, stopping en route at one of Nepal's most picturesque villages in Bandipur. After exploring Pokhara, you'll have some time back in Kathmandu to relax and sightsee before catching your return flight home.
The Kathmandu and Pokhara valleys provide the perfect balance of Nepal's cultural and natural highlights. You'll start with Kathmandu's main cultural attractions before going overland to Pokhara, stopping en route at Bandipur, one of Nepal's most picturesque villages. After exploring Pokhara, you'll have additional time in Kathmandu to relax and sightsee before your flight home.
Combine adventure with comfort in this well-rounded Himalayan experience. Start your trip in Kathmandu and fly to Pokhara where you will have an extra night to explore the lakeside region before making your way to Astam. Spend three days hiking moderate to steep ascents, sharing routes with shepherds, donkey trains, and farmers. Marvel at the incredible Annapurna mountain range and enjoy relaxing evenings in luxury lodgings.
This short 5-day itinerary combines adventure with comfort for a well-rounded Himalayan experience. Start your trip in Kathmandu and make your way to Astam where you will begin three days of trekking. Hike mild to steep ascents to bring you to incredible vistas, as you share the route with shepherds and donkey trains and pass through rhododendron forests. At night, you'll stay in luxury lodges for a nice contrast to the day's challenge.
Escape the crowds of the Everest region by adding a night of camping to your trek. The following camping spots can be added onto most treks and will allow you to experience a truly unique style of trekking in the Himalaya. These camps lie at high-altitude passes or in remote corners of the valley where you'll awake to some of the best views that Nepal has to offer.
This trip combines the main cultural and natural highlights of Nepal's three main regions—Kathmandu, Chitwan, and Pokhara. You'll spend a night in the hilltop village of Nagarkot and the ancient cities of Bhaktapur and Patan, then head south to experience the wildlife, jungle, and birthplace of Buddha. Finally, you'll have a couple days in Pokhara to relax and enjoy some adventure before departing.
Escape the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu City on this short getaway to the ridgeline that surrounds the Kathmandu Valley. You'll explore ancient cities and villages along a hike short multi-day hike and wake up to great views of the Himalaya. In the end, explore the streets of Kathmandu by vintage Vespa before you depart.
The 13-day version of this itinerary features nine days of trekking in the Khumbu and Everest regions, bringing you to the foot of towering Aba Dablam. Along the way, visit the Sherpa monastery at Tengboche, have lunch at Ama Dablam base camp, and spend time acclimatizing at the world-famous Namche Bazaar. Before your trek, you'll have a bonus day in Kathmandu—take a city tour with a local guide, day-trip into the Kathmandu Valley, or simply take advantage of the fantastic eateries and nightlife and bustling Thamel.
The 12-day version of this itinerary takes you to the foot of Ama Dablam, one of the most picturesque peaks in the Everest region. After a day of touring in Kathmandu, you'll follow the traditional route to Everest Base Camp before branching off into a less-trodden valley. Each day involves 5-7 hours of walking, and you can experience the culture of Sherpa villages and visit a number of famous Buddhist monasteries along the way.
Chitwan showcases another side of Nepal, where the landscape and culture are completely different from what you'll find in the Himalaya. Spending two or three days in Chitwan is a great way to complement your trek, and here are a few of the best things to do during your time there.
This tour is a great way to explore the Pokhara Valley in a short amount of time and ideal for those who are relatively new to trekking. You'll get some amazing views over the surrounding mountains and experience the village life. Your trek starts with a boat trip across Phewa Lake, then takes you on a trail up to the World Peace Pagoda through the forest and past villages where you can experience the daily lives of the local people.
This tour takes you into the heart of the Everest region, staying in Sherpa villages along the way, including a spectacular helicopter flight by Mt. Everest. Then, you'll head south to Nepal's jungle and to Buddha's birthplace in Lumbini. To break up the drive from Kathmandu to Chitwan, you'll take a short rafting trip and overnight at a cozy resort in the village of Kurintar.
This route is an excellent opportunity to experience the culture of traditional life in the Nepali countryside, as you share the route with shepherds and donkey trains and witness traditional Nepali farming life. You'll also get those incredible views that Nepal is famous for with overnights in luxury lodges along the way. You'll then leave the mountains for the jungle to experience a completely different side of Nepal before returning back to Kathmandu.
This trek is a hidden gem, just east of Annapurna Base Camp, spectacularly situated at the base of Mardi Himal and the beautiful and imposing Machapuchare. It's enough of a challenge (yet suitable for most travelers) and very accessible from Pokhara. You'll pass through Newar, Gurung, and Brahmin villages before you return for a night in Pokhara.