While Nepal is an appealing travel destination throughout the year, there are some sights and activities that are simply better in some seasons. If you want to trek in the Himalaya—and many visitors do—then Nepal in spring is an ideal time. Here are a few reasons why you should visit Nepal in spring.
Popular cities like Kathmandu and Pokhara never get really cold in the winter (compared to North American or European winters, that is!), but they are a bit nippy. Plus, the higher in altitude you go, the colder the temperatures and the greater the chance of snow. If you want to trek at altitude—and most medium to long-distance treks in Nepal rise to at least 2500 metres—warmer conditions are preferable.
By March, the temperatures across Nepal are on the rise but aren’t yet oppressively hot. You can trek in pleasant sunshine without baking, then cool off at night (you’ll definitely still need some warm clothes when trekking, even in spring). April is also nice, especially for travellers who like hotter weather, although the atmosphere doesn’t tend to be as clear as in March.
If you’re not into trekking (or can’t due to physical limitations), March is the perfect time to enjoy incredible views from charming accommodation in the mountains. You can take short day hikes if you wish, enjoy some yoga, or simply relax. Our favourite spot to really unwind is a hill top organic farm , a short trip from Pokhara.
See Rhododendrons in Bloom
Whether or not you’re a gardening enthusiast, it’s hard not to be impressed by the sight of mountainsides covered in brightly blooming Rhododendrons. The large pink, purple, red, and white flowers are called lali gurans in Nepali, and are the country’s national flower. They start to bloom at lower altitudes in March, yet remain at higher altitudes much later into the spring. The only thing more impressive than a view of the snow-capped Himalaya and bright blue sky is that same view punctuated with colourful Rhododendrons.
Nepal celebrates various Hindu and Buddhist festivals throughout the year, but spring is an especially active time. Because most Nepali festivals follow a lunar calendar, the precise dates move around (much like Easter), but usually fall within the same four-week window. Travelers interested in not just seeing Nepali culture but immersing themselves in it should time their trip to coincide with one or more of the following festivals:
Maha Shivatratri, a nationwide festival celebrating Hindu Lord Shiva, especially vibrant at Kathmandu’s Pashupatinath Temple.
Holi, celebrated in the hills on one day and the Terai the next, this festival welcomes spring, and usually coincides with a distinct change in the weather. It’s celebrated by throwing coloured powder and water around.
Ghode Jatra, this festival is specific to Kathmandu. The Nepal Army performs horse races at the Tundikhel grounds in central Kathmandu in an effort to ward off the demon Gurumapa.
Nepali New Year (Bisket Jatra) represents a change in the Nepali calendar. It’s a major holiday everywhere, but especially in Bhaktapur, where a large chariot is pulled through the streets.
Buddha Jayanti (Buddha’s birthday), both Hindus and Buddhists celebrate the birth of the Buddha.
Rato Macchendranath, this Patan Newari festival is Nepal’s longest-running, spanning more than a month across April and May. It culminates with the huge Rato Macchendranath chariot being pulled through the streets of Patan.
Beyond The Clouds can organise custom-made trips that allow you to experience a festival as well as other activities, like a multi-day trek.
Ideal Spring Trips in Nepal
Given these ideal weather conditions in Nepal in spring as well as the wealth of cultural and natural highlights, there are many great spring itinerary possibilities. Here are some of our favourites.
Gokyo Lakes Trek
The Everest Base Camp Trek is a classic, and very impressive, but it’s also extremely popular these days. In the peak season of spring, the trails and accommodation can get quite crowded. We love the Gokyo Lakes and Beyond Trek as an alternative. This takes you up to the stunning turquoise, glacial Gokyo Lakes. The Gokyo Lakes and Everest Base Camp Trek takes you to both EBC and Gokyo and is another popular choice. Anyone seriously contemplating the EBC trek or other multi-day, high-altitude treks in Nepal will find the challenge manageable, and it’s a great way to beat the crowds while reaping the rewards of a Nepali spring.
For a shorter yet still rewarding trek in the Himalaya, you can’t beat the Poon Hill Trek, in the Annapurna Himalaya. Spend a few days in the lively lakeside town of Pokhara before trekking through charming farming villages, Rhododendron forests (best seen in spring!), and up to the panoramic viewpoint at Poon Hill. Although the trek is still a challenge and shouldn’t be taken lightly, because it’s only a three or four-day trek, it’s not nearly as challenging as some longer trails. It’s ideal for families, and travellers short on time.
The Annapurna Circuit is a must-do for anyone who has dreamed of trekking in Nepal. The diversity of landscapes and cultures that it encompasses is extraordinary, from the lush green foothills of the Himalaya to the dry, barren edges of the Tibetan Plateau in Lower Mustang. Although a vehicle road to Jomsom has changed the character of the traditional route in the last several years, there are alternative routes that avoid the dusty Jeep tracks. Ideal in spring.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how we can plan your perfect trip to Nepal next spring.