5 Unmissable Experiences of Winter in Nepal

Nepal, lying along the southern slopes of the Himalayan mountain ranges is primarily divided into three parts - Himal, Pahad and Terai. There are plenty to explore in all these three physiographic areas which offers something of the other unique than the other two. Wandering around to explore and study places during the summer can get very tiresome because of scorching heat. To make the trip more enjoyable, the best would be to plan winter in Nepal. November to February feels more rewarding since visitors can enjoy the warmth as well as the chilly Himalayan weather! Did we mention that winter in Nepal is also the offseason for tourists? This means lesser crowd, lower price rates and plenty of opportunities to witness the culture and lifestyle of the people in its true form unperturbed by over tourism. (See also Nepal weather in January, Nepal weather in February, Nepal weather).

We bring you the top five places that should be absolutely in your bucket list had you planned for a Nov- Feb trip to Nepal:

1. Nagarkot

If you want to spend a relaxed weekend while appreciating the view of the Himalayan range from your hotel’s balcony, this is the drop-in place for you! It is a laid-back village that lies around 32km (20 miles) from the capital city of Kathmandu. It is amazing to think how a ride of half an hour from the city centre takes you so much away from the hustle bustle of the urban crowd.

Did you know you can see eight mountain ranges from here including – Manaslu, Annapurna, Ganesh Himal, Everest, Numbur, Langtang, Rolwaling and Jugal? October to December are the best months to view the mountains.

Isn’t it amazing to think how this quaint village is placed in so close proximity to the greatest mountains on the planet? If you are an avid mountain lover, Nagarkot will definitely make you fall for the place. The landscape of Nepal changes dramatically as you drive out of Nepal and the valleys further from the city while approaching the snow-capped Himalayas.

Himalayan Views from Nepal
Enjoy Himalayan Views from Hotel Balcony

Your take away:

• Sunrise
• Trekking and hiking
• Sudden transition from the cityscape to natural beauty

2. Phulchowki

Located in the southeast of Kathmandu valley and admired for its romantic views, Phulchowki is the highest with a height of 2,782m (9,143 ft) hill in the south of Kathmandu valley where you can enjoy snowfall. Being about 40km (25 mi) away from the Kathmandu valley, many prefer to go here via Namobuddha. Direct ascend from Godawari through the trails is also an easy way to reach Phulchowki.

One of the premium bird watching destinations in Nepal, Phulchowki is also a hiking choice for many. While the trail, you can look at the beauty of the place which is filled with oak and rhododendron trees along with several species of orchids, uncommon birds and butterflies.

As you reach the top of the hill, there is a panoramic view of the eastern part of exquisite Annapurna range that stretches beyond Gaurishanker in the east.  The shrine of Phulchowki Mai circled by the colourful prayer flags and tridents at the top of the hill is yet another attraction you would hate to miss.

Your take away:

• Different types of birds such as Flycatcher, Rufous-gorgeted, Rufous-bellied Niltava, Red-billed Leiothrix, Besra, Whiskered Yuhina, Bronzed and Racket-tailed Drongos.
• Colourful, serene and tranquil trek
• Might witness some religious celebration at the shrine if you are trekking on the full moon days

3. Pokhara

With spectacular scenery, plenty of adventure activities, accommodation and eateries in galore, Pokhara is where you must go to winter in Nepal to rejuvenate your soul. You can go for boating and relax in the pristine lakes to enjoy the quaint times by the Himalayan foothills. The place has been one of the ideal vacation spots and for exploration in winter in Nepal. Do not miss going to the lakes like Rupa, Phewa, and Begnas which offers a grand vista of snow-clad mountains like Annapurna range as you sail.

The Davis fall or the world peace pagoda is two key points of attraction that offers a pacifying setting across the lake. The Barahi Mandir and Bindawasini are interesting places to explore the Hindu religion and culture.

Phewa Lake in Pokhara
Phewa Lake in Pokhara

Your take away:

• The lakes of Pokhara
• One of the best paragliding venue in the white-water rivers
• Museum

4. Chitwan

Chitwan National Park is one of the best destinations in winter in Nepal. Sprawling over 932 square kilometers (230,302 acres) of marshland, grassland, and forests, the Park has a decent animal population; you can try spotting leopards and sloth bear, and for a very rare and lucky trip, get to see the Royal Bengal Tiger as well.

Chitwan National Park
Hippo in Chitwan National Park

Amaltari, Kasara, Madi-Bagai, Sauraha are the four sectors of the park.

• The tourists prefer Amaltari (Western sector) as it easily connects the Mahendra Highway. Rapti, Narayani and Reu rivers flow through this region.

• Kasara (Mid sector) has the museum, the park headquarters, and a famous religious site, Bikram Baba. Visit the Gharial breeding center that houses crocodiles, turtles and muggers for breeding.

• Madi-Bagai (Southern sector) is the core part of the jungle and tourists are not usually allowed here.

• Sauraha (Eastern sector) is one of the finest examples for eco-tourism. Resorts, safari route, and bird watching sites are some of the developmental activities you can find. This region encloses the Churia hill regions and has the wildlife conservation program, souvenir shops and other places to hault for the visitors.

5. Illam

Would you like to take a brisk walk in a tea garden? Ilam is an excellent getaway from city life where you can enjoy a peaceful setting and appreciate the scenic natural sights. Tourists love to take up short hiking activity along the gentle hills of the region. You can explore the nearby woods along with the magnificent tea gardens of the region. Ilam Bazaar serves as the base for excursions. The subtropical climate makes this place amazingly attractive during winter in Nepal.

You take away:

Greenery of Ilam