Nepal is a geographically blessed country, from valleys to the highest peaks, there are so many beautiful places for travellers to quench their thirst. This country is also blessed with diverse climates. Each of the country’s six seasons brings its own excitement, and there are places that are best visited during winter.
For most people, “winter in Nepal” might immediately resonate with a trip to Kalinchowk. However, there are many more destinations that you can visit in Nepal during the winter season.
Travelling in winter may not come with a lot of sunshine, cold drinks and cocktails, but it does have a certain charm to it. There are fewer people out during the cold season, therefore there’s less hassle and greater opportunity for a more tranquil experience. What’s more? You might even get to play in the snow!
Let’s check out some top notch destinations to visit during winter in Nepal.
Located about 190km from Kathmandu and known as the “second Switzerland”, Jiri was once the starting point for Mount Everest basecamp. The climate and geography of Jiri is said to rival that of Zurich in Switzerland, hence the nickname. It provides one of the closest views of Sagarmatha but visitors are mostly attracted towards the clean and green environment of the region. Jiri receives snowfall making it a fun place to visit in Nepal during winter. Jiri also offers a mesmerizing view of sunrise over the mountains, providing a beautiful orange glow to the white peaks. Buddha Park, Gurans Park, Stone Park and Buldanda are some of the places you should visit in Jiri.
Ilam, during the winter season, offers you favourable conditions as it can get too harsh during the summer. It is famously known for the tea gardens and other natural sceneries. The beautiful landscapes covered with green tea leaves is an absolutely precious experience for travellers. There are many places in the rather small area of Ilam where you can go to absorb precious natural beauty. Like Sandakpur, the highest peak of Eastern Nepal which features a majestic view of four of the five highest peaks in the world: Mt. Lotse, Mt. Makalu, Mt. Kanchenjunga and Mt. Everest. You can also catch a glimpse of rare wildlife like Red Panda, Musk Deer and Danphe in the forests. Another famous tourist destination in Ilam is Shree Antu, which is a sunrise view spot. Mai Pokhari, Siddithumka, Todke Falls are among other places worth visiting in Ilam.
Chitwan is best to travel only during winter as the temperature can get really hot in summer. You can appreciate the natural beauty and wildlife to the fullest during winter there. Within the park you can be part of activities such as Jeep safari, Elephant safari, Elephant bath, etc. The foggy mornings in Chitwan National Park will provide you with a sense of adventure! You can also witness various wildlife in their natural state as most of the animals come out to bask in the winter sun. Other must-visit places in Chitwan are Ranipokhari, Bishajari Lake, Jalbire Waterfall and Chairachuli Hill.
4. Khaptad National Park
Imagine vast areas of land covered in soft, white snow, that’s basically what Khaptad National Park becomes in winter. Khaptad National Park is located in the far-west region of Nepal at a distance of 450km from Kathmandu and is least visited by tourists. During the summer and springtime, this place is bedded with flowers, while in winter, it becomes a winter wonderland. Although this place is remote and is not one of the most convenient places to reach, that is what makes this destination so mystical. This is definitely one of the best places that you should go visit at least once during winter in Nepal.
For those who want to experience Nepal’s Mithila culture, Janakpur makes for an interesting one or two-day trip. Since Janakpur also lies in the southern region, it can get very hot during summer so winter makes for the perfect time to visit. This place is mostly visited by Nepali and Indian Hindu pilgrims. Home of the holiest and most revered temples like Ram Janaki and SriRam Temples, it also offers a chance to observe the beauty of Terai suburbs. Other most famous religious places to visit in Janakpur are Vivah Mandap, Ganga Sagar, Dhanusa Sagar, Sankatmochan Temple, Bhootnath Temple, Rajdevi Mandir, etc. The food you will find in this city will have a touch of Indian taste. Varieties of sweets and vegetarian dishes are the specialty of Janakpur.
Bandipur invites its visitors to experience rich and well preserved culture, mesmerizing mountain views and amazing hiking trails. The major population is dominated by Newar ethnic people, so you can witness and experience Newari architecture and culture here. On clear days, especially during the sunny days of winter time, you can get the best 360 degree view of the himalayas from the top of Gurungche Hill, Thani Mai Temple. Bandipur is also home to the largest cave in Nepal, Siddha Cave. With its cathedral-like structure, visiting the cave can be an exciting experience. You can also catch the aerial view of Bandipur as paragliding services are also available. You must also visit Tundikhel, Bindabasini Temple and Khadga Devi Temple to grasp the full ‘Bandipur Experience’.
Located 75 kilometers southwest from Kathmandu, Daman is the capital of Makwanpur district. Daman has been one of the most popular places to visit during winter in Nepal for a long time. However, in recent years, it became overshadowed by Kalinchowk. Daman receives plenty of snowfall during winter and is a fun place to play in the snow. Its thick forest is also home to a lot of birds, but the best part about visiting Daman is that you get to enjoy a peaceful environment with lots of fresh air.
8. Bardiya National Park
The largest national park of Nepal, Bardiya National Park is home to several exotic wildlife. A ride through the silent Bardiya jungle is a worthwhile experience for a lifetime. You can also take nature walks with the naturalists with years of experience in the region. The park homes 30 species of mammals, 250 species of birds and several kinds of reptiles. Just like Chitwan, animals come out in the winter to bask in the sun, so you get the opportunity to spot diverse wildlife in winter. Safari through the Bardiya National Park offers you the chance to get a glimpse of endangered Royal Bengal Tiger and one horned Rhinoceros. Some other animals that can be found in their natural state here are Swamp Deer, Blackbuck, Elephants, Gharials and Marsh Mugger Crocodiles.
9. Poon Hill
Poon Hill trail is an easier trekking route in comparison to other trekking routes in Nepal. It doesn’t get as cold as other high altitude trekking areas, so this is a good choice of place to visit in winter. Poon Hill also receives snow during winter so you get to enjoy the beautiful, snow-capped scenery. This trail passes through a forest, few waterfalls, small rivers and villages and plenty of places to get food and water. Make sure you arrive there early morning if you wish to view the beautiful sunrise. You get to thoroughly enjoy the snow-capped peaks of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri.
10. Shivapuri Hill
Shivapuri Hill is the second highest hills within Kathmandu valley and one of the best locations for hiking during winter. It is easily accessible by bus and cab from Kathmandu. It is a quick escape from the city for some pure natural experience and a fantastic view of snow-capped mountains to the North on a clear day. If you are lucky, you can even plan a quick trip when it’s snowing as Shivapuri tends to receive some snow during January. The hike goes up through a Rhododendron forest accompanied by chirping birds. Nagi Gumba resides at the top of the Shivapuri Hill which is a fantastic spot for the panoramic view of Langtang range and Kathmandu.