Is it a good idea for winter trekking in Nepal?
If you are passionate about more spectacular views of the Himalayas, then winter is the absolute time to set off for Nepal. There are many reasons to satisfy you despite the cold. It rains less in the higher elevations so that the regions are also known as Himalayan rain-shadow areas. The sky is clear due to lowest humidity; so you are rewarded with the awesome mountain views. December, January and February are considered as winter season in Nepal.
The trails are relatively quieter in winter season, this gives you some peace of mind that people are always complaining- ‘the mountains are overcrowded’. There are less people in the tea-houses/lodges, so you have chances of getting prompt attentions and delivery of orders on time. It gives you a feeling of great adventure trip when you compare this with some other time. During winter, you get the best deal you can ever think about because this season is regarded as low season.
The only issue is cold at higher elevations at night. The days are sunny and warm. We strongly advise you to make a right selection of equipment. You will need some top quality jackets, trousers, thermal wears, gloves, socks, boots and gaiters. While you are trekking, you will be very warm anyway, so it won’t actually be as cold as you are thinking.
But the trails might be covered with snow and we urge you NOT to trek alone during winter in Nepal. You MUST take a guide for your safety and security. You may hire an experienced guide from a local trekking company and make sure that they are fully covered with medical insurance. The guides are an awesome part of your trip as they take care of your well-being during the trek. They are equally informative about the local culture, flora and fauna of the region.
Also read about Solo Trekking in Nepal
Some recommended itineraries for best winter treks in Nepal
We have gathered a list of best itineraries suitable for winter trekking in Nepal.
Poonhill Ghorepani including Ghandruk is an enchanting short trekking destination also suitable during winter. Trekkers can enjoy the spectacular glimpses of magnificent Himalayas such as Annapurna (8,091m), Dhaulagiri (8,167m), Annapurna South (7,219m), Hiunchuli (6,441m), Machhapuchhare (6,997m), Lamjung Himal (6,932), Nilgiri and Mardi Himal while trekking through this trail. Ghandruk is a Gurung village with stone-roofed traditional houses.
The Annapurna Skyline trek passes through the foot of the Annapurna Himalayan range that offers the spectacular views and we follow the skyline during this trek. The trek passes through many ethnic village settlements such as Gurung, Magar and Thakali. Likewise, the trek goes passing through the streams, dense forests of rhododendron, terrace field and the natural hot spring ponds.
Royal trek itself is an honour to Prince Charles when hefirst did this trek during early eighties. This trek also offers the great views of Annapurna and Fishtail. We will have opportunity to stay at Village Homes (Home Stay) and enjoy the livelihood of the people of this area. The trek finally ends at the beautiful Begnas Lake. Ideally this trek is suitable for family and children.
If you are searching for a trek that has varieties as well, then Langtang should be the perfect option. It sits between the Himalayan range bordering to Tibet to the north and lower elevation mountains to the south. The trail has some promising delights such as classic mountain views, wildlife, lively culture, serenity and the traditional stone houses adjoined to each other. The Tamang Heritage trek is the best alternative to Langtang Valley trek for winter having Home Stay facility.
Helambu is a traditional Sherpa village with ancient monasteries. The hiking trails around Kathmandu Valley are moderate to walk and also display the best of Nepal’s rural culture and the stunning Himalayan views. The trek offers an ideal holiday to get close to pristine wilderness and opens up the opportunities for experiencing the cultural aspect of the area.This route is home to mixed indigenous societies such as Brahmin, Chhetri, Newar, Tamang, Lama and Sherpa.
Sundarijal lies about 12km north-east from downtown of Kathmandu. It is also popular place because of Kathmandu’s water supply centre. Sundarijal is also the starting or ending point of the famous Langtang Gosainkunda trek. The trek proceeds uphill through the rhododendron forest until we reach the park entrance. Chisapani and Nagarkot are the main highlights of this trek. Chisapani offers the spectacular views of the Himalayas in a clear sky.
Many people think that Everest Base Camp is the only destination in the Everest region and this remains closed during winter. In fact, trekking in the Everest region is never closed. A short trek to Namche Bazaar and Tengboche Monastery rewards with great panorama of mountains including Mount Everest. We also get the spectacular views of the iconic peak of Ama Dablam (6,812m) and Lhotse (8,501m) – the fourth highest mountain in the world during our excursions to Syangboche and Khumjung.
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