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Indeed you can happily bask in warm sunshine in sub-tropical Pokhara and enjoy (say) a balmy 25C whilst staring at the mountains of the Annapurna range which are around a mere 20 miles away and see that those nearby mountains are permanently covered in snow and perhaps with temperatures of -40C on the summits. So, Nepals climate varies from sub-tropical to polar conditions through elevation. Indeed the Himalayas are often referred to as the third pole and as a general guide temperatures decrease by 6C for every 1000m gain in height. So, a simple rule is, "the higher you go, the colder it gets".
The principle trekking season is usually from around mid-September to early May as during the summer months Nepal experiences the monsoon. Then again, for the Mustang region of Nepal it's actually the summer months when it's best to trek there as Mustang lies behind the Himalayas, so the monsoon does not reach it and during the winter months it's bitterly cold in Mustang. Yet even in December and January you may find that a low level trek in the Annapurnas can be completed in t-shirt and shorts and with just a warm jumper for the evenings as the Himalayas have protected the Annapurna valleys from the cold winds coming from Central Asia that at the same time are making it blisteringly cold in Mustang.
You could be on a high-altitude trek and find that although the air temperature is low, the strength of the sun so high up makes you feel hot and can burn exposed flesh easily, but before you know it once the suns rays have disappeared from the steep-sided valley you're trekking in, the temperatures plummet quickly and drastically to below freezing at night time. At higher altitudes snow fall can occur at any time of year. For higher altitude trekking October-December and March-May are generally regarded as the best times when it is often not too cold at the higher elevations. However, the reward for higher altitude trekking in January & February can mean quieter trekking trails and very crisp, clear mountain views. But, it also means it is likely to be much colder and particularly at night time when temperatures higher up will be well below freezing outside. Snow covered ground is also likely and some high passes can be snowbound.
Monsoon season begins around the end of June and lasts until the middle of September. About 80% of Nepal's annual rainfall is during this period. Spring and autumn are the most pleasant seasons; winter temperatures drop to freezing, with a high level of snowfall in the mountains, while high summer can be blisteringly hot. Summer and late spring temperatures range from 28ºC (83ºF) in the middle hill regions to more than 40ºC (104ºF) in the Terai.
In winter, average maximum and minimum temperatures in the Terai range from a brisk 7ºC (45ºF) to a mild 23ºC (74ºF). The central valleys experience a minimum temperature often falling below freezing point and a chilly 12ºC (54ºF) maximum. Much colder temperatures prevail at higher elevations. The Kathmandu Valley, at an altitude of 1,310m (4,297ft), has a mild climate, ranging from 19-27ºC (67-81ºF) in summer, and 2-20ºC (36-68ºF) in winter.
People do visit Nepal during the summer monsoon months though. Rafting in particular is popular during the monsoon, as the daily rains mean more water in the rivers. Accommodations are often cheaper during the monsoon period. It is of course hotter and more humid during the monsoon and the Himalaya is often obscured by clouds.
Either side of the monsoon the inhabited landscapes appear different. By May the land is waiting for the rains and there's a dry, barren look to the terraced fields. After the monsoon you could go to the same place in October and everything has become a lush and verdant green again.
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Snow Cat Travel
From the UK Tel: 01539 567118
We wish we could tell you what the weather is going to be like for your Nepal or Bhutan holidays, although the likelihood is that it will be variable and depend where you are, particularly how high you are and when you visit.
In the space of a short holiday you could easily find yourself having night time temperatures below freezing high up in the Himalayas and then hot and humid temperatures in more lowland sub-tropical zones.
Mountains are notorious for creating their own weather conditions, and needless to say the Himalayas being the highest on the planet are no exception. Unpredictable and unseasonal weather too should be anticipated. Even in the main trekking season thunder storms can appear suddenly anywhere in Nepal and then be gone before you know it. The climate of course plays an important part for your preferred holiday, and the 'best time' is dependable upon the type of holiday you are considering, what it is you are hoping to do and where you are wanting to go (and how high up).
Whilst we can never predict weather, we are always happy to advise as to what might be best, when and where.
Nepal & Bhutan are near neighbours and are both Himalayan countries with climates pretty similar as they are influenced both by the mountains, similar latitudes and receive the annual monsoon.
So, not surprisingly certain principles in Nepal e.g. the higher you go the colder it gets applies.
Frequent visitors to Nepal, whom have visited there during the winter months and have spent time at lower elevations in balmy locations such as Pokhara are often surprised that in Bhutan it's much colder during the winter months. One of the reasons for this is that most travel in Bhutan is at higher altitudes. Even the lowest altitude treks in Bhutan often exceed 4,000m and even on these night time temperatures can be sub-zero.
Generally speaking for the treks that head deep into the Himalayas and reach very high elevations Spring and Autumn are the best times. As well as being bitterly cold in the high Himalayas during winter there is a known and increased risk that high passes may become snowbound. Although the rewards for trekking at this time are usually crystal clear mountain views and very few other trekkers. We would advise against under taking most high altitude treks in Bhutan during winter thoigh
However, slightly lower altitude treks like the Druk Path, Bhutan Walking In Style and Enchanted Realm Short Walks are usually possible during the winter months. Just bring more more warm clothing.
Bhutan is very much considered an all year round destination for cultural tours, family holidays and all non-high altitude visits. Again Spring and Autumn are the most popular times, but also during the winter months too when it's often dry, bright and clear for great Himalayan views. But, do be prepared for chilly temperatures, particularly at night time.
Bhutan experiences the monsoon during the summer months (approx. June-August) and whilst this is the warmest time in Bhutan it is naturally also the wettest.