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January is the middle of winter and the coldest month in Nepal. But the temperatures are pleasant enough to explore cities and temples, visit national parks and go on low-altitude treks. Since hotel tariffs are low, you can spend more days touring Nepal in January without hurting your wallet. Enjoy gorgeous temple art and architecture in Kathmandu Durbar Square, spot one-horned rhinos and Bengal tigers in Chitwan National Park, and go trekking in Poon Hill in the Annapurna region in January.
- Michal Zemke
- From Poland
Nepal’s weather in January varies drastically from the high Himalayan reaches to the plains of Terai. The average high temperature is 17°C and low is 2°C. Fog is not uncommon in Terai this month. Trekking in Nepal in January is difficult because of heavy snowfall in the Himalayas. You could however opt for a short trek in the low-altitude areas, where the conditions are relatively dry in January.
The average temperature in Kathmandu in January varies between a minimum of 2°C to a maximum of 19°C. It rarely snows in the capital, but you can experience snowfall in Phulchowki, 20 kilometers southeast of Kathmandu. In Bandipur, a popular tourist site, the average temperatures range from a high of 18°C to a low of 7°C. The lake city of Pokhara sees average high temperatures of 20°C and lows of 7°C.
For a seasonal overview, check out our guide on the best time to visit Nepal.
Weather in Nepal in January - Rainfall and Temperatures
|Avg Daily (°C)||19||21||25||28||29||29||28||29||28||27||24||20|
|Avg Nightly (°C)||2||5||8||12||16||19||20||20||19||13||8||4|
|Avg Daily (°F)||67||70||77||83||85||85||83||85||83||81||76||68|
|Avg Nightly (°F)||36||41||47||54||61||67||68||68||67||56||47||40|
|Avg Rainfall (mm)||14||19||34||61||124||236||363||331||200||51||8||13|
|Avg Daily (°C)||20||19||21|
|Avg Nightly (°C)||4||2||5|
|Avg Daily (°F)||68||67||70|
|Avg Nightly (°F)||40||36||41|
|Avg Rainfall (mm)||13||14||19|
January in Nepal is the low tourist season, and you can get excellent discounts on hotel rooms and travel. Here’s why you should consider touring Nepal in January:
- Fewer people: Popular tourist destinations like Kathmandu, Patan and Bandipur are crowded most of the year. But things are comfortable in January, and you can enjoy the top attractions without too much jostling.
- Good deals: Hotel rooms are not expensive in Nepal for much of the year. But in January, you can get eye-popping discounts, with prices dropping by as low as 50 percent.
- Winter treks: Bigger treks like Annapurna Base Camp and Everest Base Camp trek are avoidable in January (unless you’re a skilled trekker keen to experience the snowy landscape). But shorter, low-altitude treks like Nagarkot Hill and Mardi Himal are delightful under the clear skies of January.
- Celebration time: Nepal is a deeply religious country, and festivals are a great way to experience the local culture. Sonam Lhosar and Basanta Panchami are often held in January. A Buddhist festival marking the beginning of the New Year, Sonam Lhosar is celebrated by Tamang and Hyolmo communities. Basanta Panchami marks the end of winter for Hindu worshippers of Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge.
Though it's the low season for tourists, there are many exciting places to visit in Nepal in January.
The weather is ideal for trips to the country’s national parks, with many opportunities for wildlife sightings. Head to Bardia National Park to spot crocodiles, elephants and big cats, and go rafting in Karnali River. Another excellent destination is Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve, known for its Asian wild buffalos, Ganges river dolphin, turtles and migratory birds.
The dry winter weather and spectacular views of the taller peaks make low-altitude trekking in January a great experience. Options include Annapurna’s Poon Hill trek, where you’ll pass through gorgeous farmlands in Ghandruk and catch beautiful sunrise views over the peaks. The Mardi Himal trek will take you past oak and rhododendron forests in Deurali, springs, rapid streams and bamboo bridges in Chhomrong.
You can also try ice climbing in places like the Eagle Nest Waterfall in the Langtang region. The 160-meter-high bridge at Bhote Koshi Gorge, near the Tibet border, is a spectacular bungee jumping spot.
January weather in Nepal is also perfect for exploring the ancient cities of Patan and Bhaktapur. Admire the royal palaces, the exquisite wood carvings and the stunning Newari architecture of these UNESCO World Heritage sites. Visit Nepal’s tallest temple, Nyatapola, and admire the lovely repoussé metalwork on the Golden Gate of Bhaktapur’s Durbar square. Patan’s Durbar Square has some fine courtyard temple architecture and is home to the splendid 18th-century gray stone Krishna Temple.
Nepal is fast emerging as a destination for adventure and extreme sports. January is a good time for these activities, as it is among the driest months. From trekking through virgin forests and enjoying adventure sports to spotting exotic wildlife and admiring temple art, January packs a lot of fun and excitement. Check out our travel guide on how many days to spend in Nepal for more ideas. Our local travel experts will help you plan a customized trip to Nepal in January tailored to your requirements.