Nepal has four seasons and January is the peak winter month. The chilling cold and snow in the higher altitudes are the beauties of January. Trekking in Nepal in January have its perks.
Needless to say, trekking involves reaching a higher altitude. And as we gain altitude the temperature drops gradually. It makes trekking in January quite tricky.
With proper preparation, trekking in January is absolutely doable. It is even great for trekkers who seeks adventure and challenges in their trek. It is the best time for professionals and avid photographers.
Moreover, the temperature in the lower altitude remains sunny and warm. Hence in January, there are various short and easy treks in the lower altitude that you can opt for if you are a novice trekker.
The biggest highlight of trekking in Nepal in January is the excellent mountain views.
As the sky remains clear, it is a great time to witness the Himalayas. And also because it is an off- season there are very few trekkers on the trail. This means that you have a peaceful trekking environment.
Also,you will get an easier access to the accommodation and you will also get better service.
Highlights of Trekking in January
- Get a chance to celebrate New year the Nepali way
- Despite the chills, witness the best views of the snowy mountains
- Clear skies and less rainfall which is great for outdoor activities
- Fewer tourists and peaceful trail
- Best time for professional mountain photography
- Availability of rooms, warm meals and attention at tea houses.
Table of Contents
January Weather Condition
January is the coldest month of the year in Kathmandu. In January, the average temperature is 15°C. The climate is fresh and normally dry and it rains very little.
In the Himalayan region, the nights are much colder than the daytime. Sometimes, the day temperatures can reach as high as 25°C and as low as -20°C in less than 24 hours.
In January, the maximum temperature is 2°C and minimum temperature is -6°C with an average temperature of -2°C in the Lukla region. The climate is rather cold.
January is also the driest month of the year in Nepal with average rainfall in January being 21mm in the Kathmandu area. And 30mm at Pokhara and the surrounding region.
The weather is foggy during the morning time. You will find the grass and trees covered in dew. The visibility in the morning time may not be clear due to the fog and mist. But during the sunny days, you will get to see the crisp views of the landscapes, mountains, and the vegetation under the deep blue sky.
Trekking in January also means fewer crowd and a peaceful environment. Hence it is an ideal time for those who enjoy a calm and soothing atmosphere. And, since it is off-season to trek into most of the regions in Nepal, you do not have to compete for the food and accommodation in the tea houses.
Here we have the winter temperatures for different areas for trekking in Nepal during January,
|Namche Bazaar||18-43°F (-8-6°C)|
|Langtang Valley||21.2°F (-6°C)|
Best Trekking Trails in Nepal in January
There are many trekking trails in Nepal that you can explore in January. The winter wonderland makes the trekking destinations even more beautiful and charming. Some passes in the high altitude may remain closed due to the dense snow. However, you can do trekking in the other parts. But the cold may add difficulty to the tre4k so, you need to go extra prepared for the trek in Nepal in January.
Some of the popular options for the January trekking in Nepal are as follows:
Ghorepani Poonhill Trekking
Ghorepani Poonhill trek is one of the best trekking options in the month of January in Nepal. It is also one of the most popular short treks that you can take throughout the year.
This trek takes you to the foothill of Annapurna to enjoy the magnificent Himalayan views. Also, it is a very famous spot for the spectacular sunrise views.
This short trek takes you to the maximum elevation of 3210m. The trek starts with a drive from Pokhara to Nayapul. This trail goes through various villages and follows the Modi river bank to reach Hile.
Next day you will walk along the Modi Khola and ascend up to Ghorepani. Here you will get an insight look into the lifestyle and culture of the locals i.e the Gurungs and Magars. Besides, you will also get spectacular mountain views.
Moreover, a pre-dawn hike to Poon Hill rewards you with the striking sunrise view over the Himalayan horizon. This trek is perfect for all trekkers regardless of age. This trek has no risk of altitude sickness and also it takes only a couple of days to complete the trek.
Thus due to the short and mild altitude, Poonhill is the perfect destination in Nepal during January.
Highlights of the trek
- Beautiful sunrise view from Poon Hill
- Striking panoramic view of the Annapurna, Macchapucchre, Dhaulagiri, and Hiunchuli
- A Magical view of the mountains that turn golden with the morning and evening rays of the sun
Everest Panorama Trekking
Everest panorama trekking is another great winter trekking destination in Nepal. This is also a short trek up to the elevation of 3870m.
This trek will take you deep into the Khumbu region and will let you explore both its cultural as well as natural magnificence.
This trek starts after a short scenic flight to Lukla and continues towards Namche Bazaar- the heart and soul of Khumbu region. Further, you will walk to Khumjung and Tengboche for a greater experience.
Along the trek, you will get to witness some of the highest mountains such as Mt. Everest, Mt. Lhotse, Mt. Thamserku, Mt. Ama Dablam etc.
These mountain views will simply leave you spellbound. Hence, the Everest Panorama Trek is the perfect holiday destination during January as it is a short and classic Trek.
Since it is below 4000m, the weather will be bearable with proper clothing.
Highlights of the trek
- Explore the rich and diverse culture of the Sherpas
- See various villages and Buddhist monasteries
- The beautiful Tengboche village surrounded by snow covered mountains
- Spectacular views of the Mount Everest up close and many other high mountains.
Mardi Himal Trek
Another popular trekking destination in Nepal in January is the Mardi Himal trek. This is another one of the short and amazing treks in the Annapurna region. It is the least explored region which remains raw with its untouched beauty.
This trek starts after a short drive from Pokhara to Phedi. It continues through the dense forest and climbs high up to the high camp. This trek offers inspiring views of the entire Annapurna range.
Further, the trail climbs through rhododendron forest, isolated villages and cross rivers to reach Mardi Himal Base Camp.
Here you will notice a drastic change in landscape with lush subtropical forest giving way to dwarf vegetation.
Being one of the less visited regions this place is yet to flourish through the impact of tourism. Hence you will find simple tea houses that offer basic facilities.
Overall, this new trekking route is a great option for those trekkers who are looking for an alternative to the busy trails of Annapurna Region.
Also trekking in January means fewer trekkers which makes this trek an ideal destination for those who enjoy peaceful trekking experience.
Highlights of the trek
- Witness raw beauty untouched by modernization.
- The magnificent Himalayas peak and alpine scenery
- Amazing views of Annapurna South, Macchapucchre and Mt.Hiunchuli
- Stunning valleys and mixed indigenous culture
- Diverse flora and fauna species.
Langtang Valley Trek
Langtang Valley trek is another option you can consider during January in Nepal. Following the Annapurna and the Everest region, it is an amazing and popular trek to take.
This trek takes you through the various part of Langtang region. It starts from Syabrubesi which is 117 km away from Kathmandu.
Taking this trek allows you to explore the lower parts of the valley. The trail leads through different villages, beautiful landscapes and also to the highest point of Kyanjin Ri. From here you will get a striking view of Mt.Langtang and various other Himalayan ranges.
To add more, the trek also offers a scenic view of waterfalls, snow-capped mountains, and lowland glaciers.
While all these natural beauties are appealing, you will be equally thrilled to experience the rich culture of the local Tamang community.
Langtang valley in the month of January experiences warm and sunny days. The mountain and the sky view are often clear. During this time the visibility is more than 80%.
Yet with the gain in altitude, there is a decrease in temperature and it does get quite cold in higher elevations.
Basically, for those who are willing to enjoy and explore the nature but are running short on time can definitely opt for this trekking route.
Highlights of the trek
- Explore the second largest national park i.e The Langtang National Park
- Witness Tamang culture and visit the old Tibetan villages
- Experience the great hospitality from the locals
- Spectacular views of Ganesh Himal, Langtang Himal, and Langtang-II
Equipment List for Trekking in Nepal in January
In order to trek in Nepal during January, you need to prepare well for the cold. But avoid carrying heavy loads and carry just the right amount of equipment that you will need for the trek.
The month of January is going to be colder at higher altitudes. Hence dressing in layers is the way to go. The things you need to pack are a heavy insulating jacket, fleece, thermal innerwear, down vest etc.
Also, you need to pack warm wool blend hiking socks, beanie, scarf, and gloves to keep yourselves nice and warm.
A good pair of trekking boot is most important that will either make or break your trekking experience.
Carry trekking poles because some of the trails can be wet and slippery due to the snow. It also helps in maintaining balance and provides support.
Since the mornings and nights are going to be freezing cold, you will most likely benefit from carrying a sleeping bag. Blankets are usually available in the tea houses but carrying sleeping bag will give you that extra warmth.
Tips for Trekking in January
The main concern in the month of January will be the cold climate. Following are the concerns for trekking in Nepal in January
- Cold climate
- Visibility problem due to snow and fog
- Delay in flights
- Bad weather condition in the mountains
Trekking in Nepal in the month of January will require following preparation
- Since January is the coldest month, trekking during this time requires proper packing. Pack necessary clothing and gears to make your trek comfortable.
- Be updated about the weather condition to avoid any risk from bad weather condition
- During winter in January the days are shorter. Hence start your trek early in the morning to reach the trekking destination before it gets dark.
- Prepare a few extra days for trekking to deal with a delay in flight due to bad weather or any other unplanned situation
- Hire a certified guide for trekking so that you won’t be in any risky situation.
- Carry water to keep yourself hydrated.
- Do not rush and take a slow and gradual pace.
Trekking in Nepal in January is a good option if you plan your trek with right gear and clothing.
Despite being challenging it is a lot more peaceful than other trekking seasons.
All difficulties will most likely be due to its weather condition. Besides, you will have advantages like clear views, lesser crowds and even discounts in various facilities.
For someone who doesn’t mind cold weather and loves adventure, trekking in January is the right time. Splurge on the journey for an incredible experience to witness the amazing snow-capped mountains.
For further question and queries, please feel free to contact us. It is our pleasure to guide and assist you with the best of our knowledge.
QNo. 1 Are accommodation and restaurant on the trails available during January in Nepal?
Accommodation and restaurant in all of Nepal’s big cities will be open. However, not all accommodation along the trekking routes stay open in January, especially in the higher altitudes.
Many teahouses (guest houses) in high altitude remain closed in the winter and the people move down to warmer places.
However, tea houses in lower altitude in all the popular trekking trails are open even during January. And these tea houses also provide food.
QNo. 2 Is trekking permits available in January in Nepal?
Yes, trekking permits are available all year-round in Nepal including January. Permits are available in both Kathmandu and Pokhara.
QNo. 3 Do I need travel insurance for trekking in January?
Trekking into the mountains always comes with various risk and esp during winters it is even more challenging. Hence it is best to have proper travel insurance that covers up to the altitude of 6000 m.
Your travel insurance must cover both the medical and emergency evacuation cost.