After a harsh winter and the fall of dry leaves, the monsoon season in Nepal brings lush green forests and valleys to new life and charm again. Is it a favorable season for trekking? Let's find out.
Nepal, nestled in the lap of the mighty Himalayas, is a paradise for adventure seekers and nature enthusiasts. Despite the belief that the monsoon season is not ideal for trekking in Nepal, the cascading waterfalls, vibrant flora, and opportunity to connect with locals during this season offer a whole new perspective on the trekking experience. In this blog, discover the top 10 best monsoon treks in Nepal, unveiling hidden gems amidst captivating landscapes.
The monsoon season in Nepal, spanning from early June to mid-September, not only brings rainfall but also welcomes the cultivation season. While many avoid trekking in this season, for adventurous souls, this season is perfect to discover the best monsoon treks and seize the opportunity to explore lesser-known trails. Trekking during the monsoon season in Nepal provides an escape from the crowds while witnessing dramatic cloud formation and rare species that emerge during the monsoon.
Whether globetrotters or novice travelers, Nepal offers a variety of treks in the monsoon season for everyone. From short and easy hikes to challenging multi-day treks, each trek unravels its unique features. Somehow, most treks traverse dense forests teeming with wildlife, encounter gushing rivers, and encounter timeless traditional villages inhabited by warm and welcoming people. Moreover, immerse oneself in rich cultural heritage along with ancient monasteries, prayer flags fluttering, and mountain towns. The monsoon treks in Nepal truly offer a captivating blend of nature, adventure, and cultural exploration.
So, if you are ready to challenge the thrill of trekking with the magical ambiance of monsoon season, join us as we explore the enchanting Top 10 Best Monsoon Treks in Nepal. From rain-washed trails to the hidden gem of Langtang Valley, allow us to show you the breathtaking trails that await in this monsoon season.
When Does the Monsoon Start in Nepal?
The monsoon in Nepal starts in June lasting for three months. Generally, monsoon begins on June 13 and ends on September 23. However, due to global warming, the monsoon starting date and ending dates are various nowadays. According to the Government of Nepal, Ministry of Energy, Water Resource and Irrigation, Department of Hydrology and Meteorology, Climate Division (Climate Analysis Section), the normal, onset and withdrawal monsoon period in Nepal is 112 days. The shortest monsoon was recorded in 1979 AD, only 73 days and the longest was 130 days in 1982 AD. Likewise, the earliest and late-onset was recorded on 31st May 1996 and 27th June 1982 respectively. Similarly, the earliest and late withdrawals were recorded on 2nd-Sept-1995 and 19th-Oct-2013 respectively. Last year 2023, the monsoon started on 13th-Jun and ended on 2nd October.
Monsoon Onset and Withdrawal Date
Why Trek During the Monsoon Season?
Traveling in Nepal during the monsoon season may seem unconventional, but it unveils a hidden world of wonders. Beyond the rainfall hide the least explored picturesque landscapes, authentic connections with locals, and immersive cultural experiences. Here are the reasons why you should trek during the monsoon season for unforgettable memories:
The monsoon season brings plenty of rain, transforming the landscape into a lush green landscape where hills and valleys come alive with vibrant vegetation.
Unlike other peak seasons in Nepal, monsoon season sees relatively fewer tourists, making the trail a more enjoyable and peaceful experience.
Considered off-season, in monsoon season, travel agencies, as well as accommodations, offer attractive discounts, flavorful for budget-conscious travelers.
Unique Flora and Fauna
The abundant rains of the monsoon season brace the forest, resulting in blooming varieties of rhododendrons and vibrant orchids. It is also the perfect time to spot rare animals and birds that thrive in the rain.
Refreshing Waterfalls and Rivers
The monsoon rain fills the river and streams at their fullest, creating majestic waterfalls and making it a picturesque backdrop to take a break along the trekking route.
Connect with Locals
With fewer tourists compared to peak-season treks, monsoon treks create an ideal environment to interact with locals and learn about customs, traditions, and daily routines.
As mentioned above, monsoon treks offer an opportunity to interact with locals, and it is also perfect to learn more about people, culture, and festivals in addition to experiencing the rural lifestyle of Nepalese people.
Cultivate with Locals
The monsoon season coincides with the cultivation season, providing a unique chance to engage in local farming activities where you can witness traditional ways of sowing, planting, and harvesting crops creating a deeper connection with locals.
Nourish with Seasonal Delights
Trekking during monsoon season allows you to savor the flavors of Nepalese cuisine as you can enjoy fresh vegetables and fruits that are freshly harvested during cultivation season from farm to table.
The monsoon trek has its own challenges due to slippery trails and the occasional rain shower, but it can be a perfect moment for adventure seekers looking for a thrilling experience.
Annual Monsoon (Rainfall) in Nepal with a chart.
The peak monsoon season in Nepal spans from June to September. During this season, Nepal experiences rain showers ranging from light to heavy throughout the country. The average rainfall amounts to between 1,600 mm - 2,500 mm, with July being the month with the highest precipitation. Pokhara receives the highest amount of rainfall in Nepal, measuring 3,477 mm at an elevation of 850 meters.
Not only during the season but in the pre-monsoon as well as the post-monsoon, Nepal faces some minor rainfall. Also, the country’s climate varies from subtropical in the lowlands to alpine in the high mountains, contributing to variations in rainfall patterns. In which the trans-Himalayan land in the northern part of Nepal receives less than 300 mm of annual rain due to its location in the rain shadow.
The chart shows the annual precipitation of Nepal (Kathmandu)
Recommended 10 Best Monsoon Treks in Nepal
With the uncountable options for trekking trails in Nepal, we have prepared the 10 best monsoon treks in Nepal, offering a chance to go off-the-beaten trails on one of the most famous trails in the world. The list is prepared by researching and consulting with expert guides, targeting a convenient trip to avoid flight delays and road closures. So, here are the 10 trails in Nepal best for monsoon treks:
Annapurna Circuit with Tilicho Lake (10 days)
Experience the breathtaking Annapurna Circuit Trek combined with a side trip to the stunning Tilicho Lake in this monsoon season, which takes you to the biggest Pass in the world. This trek takes you through diverse landscapes, from lush green forests to barren high-altitude terrain. During this season, the trails are less crowded, allowing for more serene and deeper connections. Plus, being situated in the rain-shadow area, it is perfect for monsoon treks.
The trek begins with a scenic ride from Kathmandu to Lamjung district and ends in Muktinath or Jomsom, from where you can fly (if the weather is nice) or take a ride to Pokhara. The trek is considered moderately difficult, requiring a good level of fitness. Obstacles during the monsoon include rain and slippery trails, so proper rain gear and caution are necessary.
Nar Phu Valley Trek via Kang La Pass (12 days)
En route to the Annapurna Circuit Trek, there’s a side quest through the remote Nar Phu Valley, culminating in the challenging Kang La Pass. This adventurous journey offers a unique cultural experience as you explore ancient Tibetan-influenced villages. During the monsoon, the valley plays hide and seek with rain, making it perfect for trekking while the valley is at its best with blooming wildflowers and lush vegetation.
The Nar Phu Valley Trek is considered strenuous, so good physical fitness is required. Possible challenges during this season can include landslides, so it is important to stay updated on weather conditions and trek with a knowledgeable guide. The trek follows the same trail as the Annapurna Circuit but is separate from Chame. After completing the trek, you can either continue towards the Annapurna Circuit or return the same way.
Upper Mustang Trek with Luri Gumba (16 days)
Embark on a journey to the magical Upper Mustang region, known as the "Forbidden Kingdom of Lo" (Lo Manthang), and discover the mystical ancient Luri Gumba monastery. Unlike the main trail, this trek follows a different path, escaping the road construction and allowing you to enjoy the pristine trekking trail, which is also the ancient salt trading route. During the monsoon, Upper Mustang Trek remains relatively dry, making it an ideal choice for trekking. For details information about Upper Mustang, kindly go through the Ultimate Upper Mustang Trekking Guide.
The trek is moderately difficult, demanding good physical fitness. The trail can get muddy occasionally, so carry sturdy trekking shoes and proper trekking gear. The trek starts in Pokhara, passing through the Lower Mustang.
Everest Base Camp Trek by Road (13 days)
Who wouldn’t like to leave footprints on the trail to the iconic top of the world? The monsoon season is perfect to travel to Everest Base Camp to avoid crowds and enjoy your trek peacefully. Due to flight delays and cancellations, the Everest Base Camp trek by road is a wise choice during the monsoon. This trek combines scenic drives with trekking, allowing you to experience the lower Everest region, which is the plus point of this specific trek.
The trek begins with a long ride from Kathmandu to Khari Khola or even further villages to Tham Danda. The trek is challenging, requiring good physical stamina and acclimatization (which is very important). So, the trail can get muddy and slippery. But the main point is that sometimes the rain can cause potential road closures, so flexibility in your itinerary is important.
Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek (5 days)
For a shorter trek that offers stunning panoramic views of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges, the Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek is a popular choice. During the monsoon, the landscape is lush and vibrant, along with the clear morning view after overnight rain showers. Moreover, the lush hills are covered with varieties of blooming rhododendron, which is the icing on the cake.
This trek is moderately easy and suitable for beginners and those who are planning family trips. The trail is easily accessible from Pokhara, which only takes a couple of hours of riding. The trail gets slippery and muddy in the rain, so proper footwear and gear are required.
Mardi Himal Trek (5 days)
Located to the east of Annapurna Base Camp, Mardi Himal treks have gained lots of popularity in recent years. This trek offers breathtaking views of the Annapurna range, with Mt. Machapuchare in the spotlight. Along with the Himalayan view, on the horizon, you can enjoy the clouds settling on the valley in the morning. Of course, sunrise and sunset are out of this world.
The trail is quieter, and the forest is lush with ferns and moss during the monsoon. Also, watch out for the leeches. Some steep sections of the trail can make the trail moderately difficult. Carry an incest propeller and high-performance hiking shoes.
Mohare Danda Trek (5 days)
Mohare Danda Trek is a community-based trekking route in the Annapurna region. The trail was developed in 2010 by Mahabir Pun Magar, focusing on the sustainable development of the community and people. This trek takes you through picturesque Magar villages, sharing the stunning Dhaulagiri range with the Annapurna range. Likewise, Mohare Danda View Point has the best sunrise and sunset views.
Mohare Danda Trek is accessible from various routes, which makes it more flexible for planning. The trail is not famous among trekkers, so it is less crowded and has rewarding views. Never forget the warm and welcoming people with top-notch hospitality. There are some steep ascents and descents throughout the trek. The trail can be slippery; also, be aware of leeches.
Nagarkot Trek (3 days)
Enjoy a short and scenic trekking experience near Kathmandu with the Nagarkot Trek. This trek takes you to the hilltop town of Nagarkot, famous for its panoramic views of the Himalayas. And for sure, let’s not forget the stunning sunrise and sunset. During the monsoon, the mountains may be partially covered with clouds, but the green hills and the fresh breeze make it a pleasant trek.
This short trek is just a few hours of ride from Kathmandu and is suitable for beginners and families. The trek ends through the Namo Buddha (Panauti), which gives you the chance to immerse yourself in cultural and religious values. The rain can cause limited visibility, so be prepared for that.
Langtang Valley Trek (7 days)
Langtang Valley, the hidden Beyul Valley, is known for its stunning landscapes and unique Tamang culture. Langtang Valley Trek is an unsung trail despite being home to rare species as well as a beautiful valley. In the monsoon season, the trail is adorned with blooming rhododendrons and exotic wildflowers.
This trek has some uphill climbs, which make it moderately difficult. The trail has the potential for landslides due to the rain showers. But there are other alternative routes to avoid the landslides. The monsoon season is perfect to travel to Langtang Valley because the Langshisha Kharka Jatra (festival) falls on the full moon of July, where you can experience local life and festivals.
Shey Phoksundo Lake Trek, Dolpo (8 days)
Get ready to venture on a remote and off-the-beaten-trail adventure to the mesmerizing Shey Phoksundo Lake in the Dolpo region. This trek offers pristine natural beauty and cultural encounters with the local Tibetan-influenced communities. Plus, you can experience the real teahouse-based trekking trail. The monsoon brings lush and vibrant landscapes, showcasing the true essence of Dolpo.
This trek is accessible by road as well as air transportation. The trek is considered moderately difficult, with some steep ascents and descents. Obstacles during the monsoon include rain and occasional trail disruptions, so being prepared with proper rain gear and contingency plans is important.
These were some of the top 10 best monsoon treks in Nepal. Before initiating the trek, always study and research the location properly and choose your next journey.
Tips for Trekking In Nepal during the Monsoon.
The monsoon treks in Nepal require careful planning and preparation, along with execution, but with the right approach, it can be a remarkable adventure. To navigate the distinct challenges posed by the season, here are some valuable tips for trekking in Nepal during the monsoon:
Choose the Right Trekking Region
With the numerous trekking trail options in Nepal, choose the regions that are less prone to heavy rain and offer a more favorable trekking experience during the monsoon season. Choose some well-established popular regions like Annapurna or Everest and rain-shadow areas like Upper Mustang.
Pack Proper Rain Gears
"There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing". Be prepared for the monsoon with high-end rain gear like raincoats, rain pants, bag covers, and waterproof hiking shoes. Furthermore, carry quick-dry clothes, and remember that your shoe has great traction on slippery trails.
Pursue Early Morning Trek
Start your trek early in the morning to take advantage of the clear sky and avoid the afternoon downpours, which are common during monsoons in Nepal. But it is not an everyday scenario; somehow, this strategy allows you to save a significant portion of the trip.
Stay Hydrated and Maintain Health
Despite the cooler weather, you always need to stay hydrated. Carry enough water and make sure to use water purification methods for safe drinking water. Carry hand sanitizer or wet wipes before having meals, and after using restroom facilities. Moreover, carry a first-aid kit with sufficient medication.
Embrace Flexibility and Patience
The monsoon season brings some unpredictable situations like unusual weather patterns, flight delays, and trail closures due to landslides. So, always add spare days besides the actual itinerary for quick adjustments to the plan. Remember, patience is key for a successful trek during the monsoon.
Dealing with Leeches
The monsoon season is known to bring leeches to certain trekking areas of Nepal. To protect yourself, wear long pants tucked into your socks and apply insect propellers. If there is any leech attached, avoid pulling forcefully; that may infect the wound and start bleeding. Instead, use salt or salt water; salt is the natural enemy of leeches.
Respect Cultural Norms
Nepal is rich in cultural and traditional norms and values. So, it is very important to respect local culture and norms during monsoon treks. Dress modestly in sensitive locations like religious sites and interact with local communities. Be mindful of local customs and practices.
Consider utilizing transportation to the fullest to travel deeper into the trekking region where the road is accessible. This will help to bypass the areas that are more affected by the heavy rainfall. In addition, it can reduce the number of days, which will help with your flexible itinerary.
Hire a Guide or Porter
Hiring a knowledgeable guide or porter can be very helpful to accompany you on your monsoon trek. Because they are experts in the local terrain and weather conditions, they can navigate the right track and provide precise information.
By following these simple tips you can navigate the monsoon season with confidence and make your trek more memorable.
Gear and Equipment required for monsoon treks in Nepal.
Monsoon season in Nepal is a different type of challenge. To face the challenges with confidence, we have provided a list of gear and equipment required for monsoon treks in Nepal:
- Waterproof and breathable clothing.
- Quick-drying and moisture-wicking clothing.
- Waterproof backpack cover or dry bags.
- Trekking poles.
- Insect repellent.
- Extra pairs of socks.
- First aid kit.
- Headlamp or flashlight.
- Portable power bank.
- Water purification tablets or filters.
These are some lists specifically to encounter the challenges of monsoon. There are other plenty of items to carry, so pack your backpack wisely.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).
How is the weather in the Monsoon Season in Nepal?
The weather in the monsoon season in Nepal is characterized by moderate temperatures, an increase in humidity, and constant rainfall.
When is the monsoon season in Nepal?
The monsoon season in Nepal begins in June and lasts until September.
Which are the best months to trek in the monsoon season?
The best months to trek in the monsoon season are around July and August because the weather is balanced between rainfall and clear sky.
What are the most popular monsoon treks in Nepal?
Some of the popular treks for the monsoon in Nepal are the Upper Mustang Trek, Annapurna Circuit, Ghorepani Poonhill Trek, and Langtang Valley Trek, which are located in rain-shadow areas.
What are the physical fitness requirements for a monsoon trek in Nepal?
The trekkers should have a moderate level of physical fitness, including good stamina, and be able to handle uneven terrain for a monsoon trek.
Can I trek alone in monsoon season or do I need a guide?
While monsoon treks can be done alone, it is highly recommended to hire one for a stress-free and convenient trek. Recently, the Nepal Tourism Board has made guides mandatory in National parks and Conservation areas.
What are the safety precautions to take during a monsoon trek in Nepal?
It is essential to take safety precautions during a monsoon trek in Nepal, such as staying up-to-date with the weather forecast, avoiding landslide-risky areas, carrying essential equipment, and trekking with a reliable guide or group.
What are some cultural norms and customs to be aware of during a monsoon trek in Nepal?
During a monsoon trek in Nepal, showing respect for cultural norms and customs is crucial by greeting them by saying "Namaste", dressing modestly, asking for permission to take photographs, and being mindful of religious practices and customs.
Trekking in Nepal during the monsoon season offers a unique and captivating experience at its fullest. Despite the challenges posed by rainfall and trail conditions, the 10 best monsoon treks in Nepal allow you to witness natural beauty, cultural immersion, and a chance to explore the off-the-beaten-track. With safety precautions and being mentally and physically prepared, you can get lost in the lush landscape and connect with nature. So, lace up your shoes and pack your rain gear to start the unforgettable journey.