Nepal has five climatic zones, broadly corresponding to the altitudes. The tropical and subtropical zones lie below 1,200 meters (3,937 ft.), the temperate zone 1,200 to 2,400 meters (3,937 to 7,874 ft.), the cold zone 2,400 to 3,600 meters (7,874 to 11,811 ft.), the subarctic zone 3,600 to 4,400 meters (11,811 to 14,436 ft.), and the Arctic zone above 4,400 meters (14,436 ft.)
In the Terai (south Nepal), summer temperatures exceed 37° C and higher in some areas, winter temperatures range from 7°C to 23°C in the Terai. In mountainous regions, hills, and valleys, summers are temperate while winter temperatures can plummet under subzero. The Kathmandu Valley has a pleasant climate with average summer and winter temperatures of 19°C – 35°C and 2°C – 12°C respectively.
- Winter: December-February
- Spring: March-May
- Summer: June-August
- Autumn: September-November
- Monsoon: June till mid-September
Low Season (Jun-Sep)
The monsoon rains (mostly at night) bring landslides, and clouds often obscure mountain views. Rain, mud, and leeches deter most trekkers, but hefty hotel discounts are common and this is a popular time to travel overland to Tibet.
The second-best time to visit and trek, spring brings warm weather and spectacular rhododendron blooms.
High Season (Oct–Nov)
Clear skies and warm days make autumn the peak season. Thousands of people hit the trails in the Everest and Annapurna regions, accommodation in Kathmandu gets booked up and prices peak.
Average temperatures and rainfall during peak summer and winter in the three most popular tourist areas:
|Summer (May, Jun, July)||Winter (Dec, Jan, Feb)|
|Max (°C)||Min (°C)||Rain (mm)||Max (°C)||Min (°C)||Rain (mm)|
Kathmandu has the best health facilities in the country, but standards at clinics and hospitals decline the further you get from the capital. In mountainous areas, there may be no health facilities at all. Trekkers who become unwell in the mountains are generally evacuated to Kathmandu, or overseas in the event of something really serious. Always take out travel insurance to cover the costs of hospital treatment and emergency evacuations.
Many of the most popular areas for visitors are remote and inaccessible, so you should read up on the possible health risks. While trekking, it makes sense to carry an emergency medical kit so that you can treat any symptoms until you reach medical care.
Before You Come
- Medical Checklist
- Insurance: Considering the terrain, potential health risks, and the high cost of medical evacuation, it is unwise to travel to Nepal without adequate health insurance.
- Recommended Vaccinations
Emergency Treatments for Trekking
While trekking it may be impossible to reach medical treatment, so consider carrying the following drugs for emergencies (the concentrations in which these drugs are sold in Nepal are noted next to the drug):
Availability & Cost of Health Care
Kathmandu has several excellent clinics, including the Nepal International Clinic and CIWEC Clinic (which has a branch in Pokhara). While trekking, your only option may be small, local health posts and even these are few and far between. In remote areas, you should carry an appropriate medical kit and be prepared to treat yourself until you can reach a health professional.
- Respiratory Infections
- HIV & AIDS
Even veteran travelers to South Asia seem to come down with the trots in Nepal. It’s just one of those things. The main cause of infection is contaminated water and food, due to low standards of hygiene. However, diarrhea is usually self-limiting and most people recover within a few days.
- Amoebic Dysentery
- Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)
A complex and yet not fully understood set of physical and biochemical changes occur as the human body is exposed to the decreased oxygen levels available in the air breathed at high altitudes. The general term used to describe these changes is acclimatization.
Ascending too fast for adequate acclimatization to take place can result in a person experiencing symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). It is essential that anyone contemplating a trek in the Himalayas has a basic knowledge of AMS symptoms.
You must also be psychologically prepared. There is no way of knowing beforehand who will susceptible to AMS, or when a particular individual will experience it. Age, sex physical fitness, willpower, and pressing itineraries have absolutely no bearing on AMS, and you must be ready at all times to respond appropriately, should a problem develop.