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Nepal is a major destination for many nature lovers, adventure seeker and travelers. It is the birthplace of Lord Buddha and the land of Mt. Everest. It is beautiful both naturally and culturally. Nepal has been attracting a large number of tourist and travelers around the world by its natural as well as other various aspects. There are mainly 4 seasons in Nepal; spring (March to May), summer (June to mid-September), autumn (mid-September to November) and winter (December to February). The experts and professionals related to tourism in Nepal claims that the best season to visit Nepal is during spring and autumn because of the chill and clear weather. However, it is said that monsoon is not a good time to travel because of the rain and winter because of the snow and freezing cold.
December has just started and many professionals related to tourism are worried that season for tourism in Nepal is off until the end of winter season. However, Nepal is a small but very beautiful country with 3 geographical regions; the Terai region (plains), the Hilly region and the Himalayan region. Nepal is one of the most visited destinations of the world and is also considered as the trekker’s paradise but that does not mean trekking to high altitudes is the only activity that Nepal offers. There are various other recreational activities and many sites that are historically, architecturally as well as naturally rich at low altitudes also, where tourist can travel and enjoy during the winter season too. Nepal is much more beautiful and appealing during winter for photography tour. National parks like Bardia, Chitwan, Langtang, Shivapuri-Nagarjuna offers a good moments to capture wildlife photography of One-horn Rhino, Royal Bengal Tiger and other various species.
Winter breakfast at Hotel Everest View with amazing view of Mt. Everest !
Yes, it is hard to go trekking on high altitude where the weather is freezing cold and snowy. The tea houses and hotels situated at higher altitude are mostly closed during the winter season because of the excessive amount of snow and cold; but there are other various alternative activities and places in Nepal that are approachable and partake throughout the year. Different types of activities can be done according to different season. It just depends upon the interest and preference of a traveller to decide him/herself about his journey and the relative weather. You will get chance to see different version of Nepal in different season.
THINGS TO DO In WINTER (December – January – February )
Trekking at higher altitude or base camp is difficult during winter. The freezing cold with heavy snow fall hinders the hotel owner to open their hotels and provide service so most of them migrate to low altitudes closing their hotels and teahouses during winter. Long and high altitude trekking are mostly not recommended but the short treks around the Himalayas can be a very great option during winter to see the stunning and mesmerizing view of the Himalayas and snow-capped peaks and hills.
SHORT HIKE AROUND THE VALLEY
Short hike around the valley can also be a best option to admire the nature’s beauty. The walk per day won’t be more than 4-5 hours but the trails will let you to different varieties of trees and forest admiring the beautiful scene and sceneries of the Himalayas and the valley.
TOURS AND SIGHTSEEING
If trekking and hiking are not your things or you don’t like walking, different other destinations that are approachable on wheels also provide you a satisfying experience. If you do not want to have a chilly holiday and just want to relax enjoying the sceneries then you can experience a short tour around the country.
Mountain flights are one of the most life time memorable activities to do in Nepal. Due to the clear visibility and blue sky, the well snow covered mountains peaks are more worth it to watch during the winter. The mountain flights Helicopter tours will offer you a panoramic view of the stunning and dazzling mountain peaks. Mountain flight from Kathmandu will offer you the panoramic view of Everest ranges, Rolwaling ranges, Langtang ranges and Manasalu while flight from Pokhara will offer you the panoramic view of Annapurna ranges, Dhaulagiri ranges, Manasalu and other peaks.
Nepal Mountain flight
Helicopter tours will offer you a great view with short period landing on certain spot (depending on your destination) surrounded by 360° snow covered peaks for photos, videos and breakfast. These flights are worth it during the winter morning as morning sun strikes the mountain’s summit with its golden rays. You will fly over the valley and then to the Himalayas have landing for a short period depending on your time schedule. These Helicopter tours can be done from Kathmandu and Pokhara. Some related helicopter tours are Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) heli tour, Everest Base Camp (EBC) heli tour, Langtang heli tour, etc.
Beside trekking, tour and mountain flights, there are various other recreational and adventurous activities in Nepal that can be experienced during winter. You can have a cycle tour around Pokhara and Kathmandu city. You can hire a cycle and paddle up and down a hill for overnight as well as a day trip. Cycle trails around Kathmandu and Pokhara are bumpy and thrilling with dense forest and small rivers. This can be a very good exercise for your muscles and a good thing to overcome laziness during cold. This is also an adventurous sport to take part in and a must thing to do in Nepal if you are an adventure seeker. Evening cycling around lakeside of Pokhara is also one of the delightful experiences.
BOARING AROUND PHEWA AND BEGNAS LAKE
One can enjoy the quiet and peaceful environment of Phewa and Begnas Lake while boating on the Lakes. They can enjoy the panoramic views of the mountains that surround the valley. It is one of the most relaxing and chilling things to do in Pokhara.
Paragliding can also be done from Kathmandu and Pokhara valley to witness the valley view and the nature’s beauty from the top. It is a thrilling adventure and an unforgettable memory. This magical fly from a hill can offer you the best view of the valley with the dazzling mountains peak. One can never regret a paraglide from Kathmandu or Pokhara.
Zip flyer is available in Kathmandu and Pokhara if one wants to experience the thrilling adventure of vertical free fall. This can also be an additional thing to do if you are coming for some short treks or tour.
There are wall climbing center around Kathmandu and Pokhara. One can experience wall climbing, stretch and warm up their body. You can add a day or manage half day to go and climb the wall centers around Kathmandu or Pokhara.
FESTIVALS AND FAIRS
Various streets festivals and fairs are held in various cities of Nepal on different occasions like Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year and other national occasions. As Nepal is rich in culture and traditions, one can observe various festivals and way of celebrating them according to different caste and culture. This can be a very new thing to most of the travellers and they enjoy such experience with a surprising look and observation. You can also try various local foods and drinks. Enjoying having hot cup of coffee or soups admiring the nature as well as the cultures can be the best part during cold.
During winter, the weather is cool and good. The mountain views are clearer and skies are blue. The temperature may vary from place to place depending upon their altitude.
The maximum temperature of Kathmandu (1,400 m), the capital city reaches up to 20° C and minimum up to 2° C with an average of 12° C. The mountain peaks of Everest ranges, Rolwaling ranges, Langtang ranges and Manasalu ranges which are well covered with snow with nice blue sky background; dazzling with the reflection of the sun rays, can be seen from different part of Kathmandu valley. The morning and evening are mostly chilly but the luring sunrise and sunset views can be enjoyed.
The maximum temperature of Pokhara (750 m), the lake city and major tourist destination of Nepal, reaches up to 20° C and minimum ranges up to 7.7° C with an average of 18° C. Annapurna ranges, Dhaulagiri ranges, Nilgiri, Manasalu are some mountain ranges that can be seen from the valley. The morning and evening are most chilly but are more worth to spend time because of the sunrise and sunset and the reflection of Mt. Fishtail in Phewa Lake. The nightlife around Phewa Lakeside is more delightful and crowded.
RECOMMENDATION FOR WINTER VISITORS !
If you are planning to travel Nepal during winter then make sure you pack nice and warm clothes according to your selected destination. The morning and evening are chillier than the day. If you are trekking shortly then pack thick socks, warm hats and inners. Carry your camera and some power banks for emergencies.
You can exchange your currency into Nepalese rupees anywhere around the major cities of Nepal. Banks and various financial institutes are available in Nepal who exchange your currency depending on the daily exchange rate fixed by the National bank. There are low number of bank and financial institutes in rural places.
The visa process is very easy for Nepal. You can apply on your arrival and apply for a visa at the airport. It will cost according to the day you are spending; $25, $40 and $100 for 15, 30 and 90 days respectively. You can apply for Nepal’s visa in advance from online which will be easier and faster than apply on arrival.
Travelling to Nepal during winter can be worth it and will be a unique and lifetime experience. There are many beautiful places to travel during winter and various other recreational activities to do in Nepal that never let your holiday get boring. Not only nature but the people of Nepal are friendly and will treat you very well. They are of good hospitality and helpful. You will see various cultures and traditions of people living in different part of Nepal. Their culture, tradition and customs may vary from place to place. You will be surprised with their way of living and cultures.
Nepal is a great experience for every first visitors and a lifetime experience. Many travellers visit Nepal several times after their first visit claiming Nepal once is not enough. If you have already travelled Nepal during season then try travelling during winter for short treks or tours, it will offer you different and more beautiful version of Nepal.
-By: Santosh Blon.
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