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January is mid-winter in Nepal. Trekking in Nepal in January is preferable and recommended especially for low-mid altitude trek (below 3500m). This is the time which takes you to the winter wonderland of the various trekking trails.
For the higher altitudes, treks are possible too. Yet, some of the higher passes and trekking peaks may get closed due to the extreme weather conditions. If you don’t mind the cold and are well prepared for the weather conditions, you can do treks in these regions. But novice trekkers are not suggested to trek during extreme weather.
As January is an offseason, you can enjoy the trails and nature in peace and solitude. You will find all the route to yourself without having to compete with other trekkers for food and accommodation.
- Weather Conditions and Temperature
- Some of the Best Trekking Destination for January
- 1-3 day Treks in and around Kathmandu and Pokhara
- Difficulties of Trekking in Nepal in January
- Tips for Trekking in Nepal in January
- Packing for Trekking in Nepal in January
- Final Say,
Weather Conditions and Temperature
January is the coldest and driest month of the year in Nepal. You can see snow in the higher altitudes but in the lower altitudes, it is the driest time.
In the hilly region of Nepal like Kathmandu (1400 m), the average temperature is around 15°C. The days and nights are fresh and dry with very little rain.
The average rainfall of Kathmandu is around 21mm. Even the wettest region of Nepal- Pokhara gets only 30mm of rainfall in January.
If you trek in the Himalayan region, the nights are much colder than the daytime. The average daytime temperatures are around 2-6°C. During the nights, the temperatures can drop to -2°C. This is the average temperatures of Lukla at 2860 m.
Mornings are foggy. The grass and trees shimmer and are covered in dew. The visibility is quite poor in the morning due to the fog and mist. Yet, during the day, you will get to see the crisp views of the landscapes, mountains, and the vegetation under the clear blue sky.
Given below is the average January temperatures of the different trekking areas of Nepal. This will give you an estimate about the temperatures you will face at different altitudes as well.
|Location||January ( Average Temperature)|
|Kathmandu (1400m)||40-62°F (4-17°C)|
|Pokhara (1300m)||45-66°F (7-19°C)|
|Namche Bazaar (3,440m)||18-43°F (-8-6°C)|
|Jomsom (2,743m)||32-53°F (0-12°C)|
|Chitwan (415m)||44-75°F (7-24°C)|
Some of the Best Trekking Destination for January
Many trekking destinations and routes of Nepal are open and running throughout the year including January except some high altitude passes. Although January is an off-peak season and the middle of winter, you can enjoy fabulous views and have a great trek.
As there are fewer trekkers during this month, you can enjoy a more peaceful trek.
Some of the most recommended treks to do in Nepal in January are:
Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek
Max. Elevation: Poon Hill- 3210m
This short 3-8 days trek is a great introduction to the Annapurna region of Nepal. It covers the trek to the foothills of the Annapurna through Ghorepani village.
Along with fabulous views of snowy mountain peaks, you can enjoy amazing sunrise and sunset views during this trek.
This trek also offers a look at the diversity of nature and culture of Nepal. You pass through forests, villages, waterfalls, rivers and terrace farms that display Magar and Gurung people’s lifestyles.
- Explore the lifestyle of the local hilly region people of Nepal. You can interact with them and get an insight into their culture and lifestyle. There are homestays on this trek.
- Fantastic view of the Annapurna, Machhapuchhare, Hiunchuli, and Dhaulagiri.
- Amazing sunrise view over the snow-capped Himalayas.
Everest Base Camp Trek
Max. Elevation: Kala Pathar- 5,555m
A trek to the Base Camp of the world’s highest mountain, Mt. Everest is possible in January.
If you don’t mind the cold and are looking for a snowy adventure in the mountains, this is the trek for you.
With the right preparation and attitude along with the focus on safety, you can enjoy the marvelous trek in peace.
- View of the world’s highest mountain Mt. Everest along with other 8000m mountains like Lhotse, Nuptse, Thamserku, etc
- View of snowy mountain peaks of over 6000m, 7000m along with other peaks.
- A chance to witness the lifestyle and culture of the legendary Sherpa people.
- Trekking experience in the peaceful and quiet trails which is rare on this popular trek.
- A chance to see Khumbu Glacier- the largest in the Everest Region.
- A chance to see frozen streams, waterfalls, and icicles.
Everest Panorama Trekking
Max. Elevation: Tengboche Monastery- 3850m
If you don’t want to trek for long yet want to enjoy the fabulous views of Everest region then this is the trek for you.
Everest Panorama Trek is an easy and short trek. It also doesn’t take you to too high on altitude. This is the perfect choice in January as you can enjoy your trek without facing too harsh winter temperatures.
- A magnificent view of Mt. Everest, Mt. Lhotse, Mt. Thamserku, Ama Dablam among other high mountain peaks.
- An opportunity to explore the old traditions and cultures of Sherpas in the mountains.
- Scenic mountain flight to and from Kathmandu-Lukla. In January, this offers magnificent views of snowy mountain peaks and villages.
- A chance to visit and stay at different local, mountain villages like Khumjung, Tengboche, Namche Bazaar.
Mardi Himal Trek
Max. Elevation: Mardi Himal Base Camp- 3580m
This trek takes you through the less explored parts of the Annapurna Region. In winter, Mardi Himal Trek is another great option for trekking in Nepal in January.
This short and amazing trek offers you a look at the raw and peaceful nature with magnificent views. You also have the chance to enjoy the rich and diverse culture and nature of the region.
- Breathtaking views of the snow-capped mountain like Annapurna South, Mt. Machhapuchhre, Mt. Hiunchuli, and Mardi Himal.
- A chance to witness beautiful valleys, rich and diverse flora and fauna.
- A chance to trek through small villages with mixed indigenous culture.
- A chance to reach the Base Camp of Mardi Himal
Langtang Valley Trek
Max. Elevation: Kyangjin Ri- 4773m
Langtang Valley trek is one of the most amazing and popular treks of Nepal after the Annapurna and Everest Region.
It is a great option in January as it allows you to explore the lower regions of the Langtang Valley. Though short, it offers great views of snowy mountain peaks, remote villages, and raw nature.
- Striking views of Mt.Langtang, Ganesh Himal and other Himalayan ranges.
- Amazing views of frozen waterfalls, snow-capped mountains, and lowland glaciers.
- A chance to witness the rich culture of the local Tamang community.
- A chance to explore Langtang National Park- the second largest national park of Nepal.
Khopra Danda Trek
Max. Elevation: Khopra Ridge- 3640m
Another one of the lesser-known treks, this trek offers you great views. Following the same trail as the Ghorepani Poon Hill trek for the first few days of the trek, you then take the path that takes you to Khopra Ridge.
In January, you can enjoy the solitude and peace of the trails and nature on this off the beaten trek.
- Magnificent and panoramic views of Mt. Dhaulagiri, Annapurna I, II, III and south, Hiu Chuli, Fishtail, Lamjung, and Nilgiri.
- A chance to experience untouched and raw natural beauty.
1-3 day Treks in and around Kathmandu and Pokhara
All the 1-3 day treks are great trek options in January. With the few trekkers, you can enjoy the fabulous views and the trekking experience in peace.
Unlike the high altitude, longer duration treks, you will not face the brunt of the extreme winter weather. You can also enjoy your treks at cool temperatures.
Some of the popular 1, 2, and 3-day treks to do in Nepal in January are:
Dhampus Sarangkot Trek
Nagarkot Dhulikhel Namobuddha Trek
Difficulties of Trekking in Nepal in January
January is an off-peak season for treks to Nepal. Due to the winter season, there are some challenges you may face during the trek. Yet, there are always ways to overcome them. These are:
Cold climate: January is the coldest month of the year. So, you will experience a cold climate everywhere you go. The difference is only that the lower altitude treks are less colder than the high altitude treks.
Visibility problem due to snow and fog: Because of the cold and humidity, the fog and dense snow are quite common in the higher altitudes. So, an inexperienced trekker may have difficulty moving further in the trekking trails.
Delay in flights
These can happen due to a number of reasons. In January, the main reason for these is the extreme fog, wind or snow. The flight delays and cancellations are quite common in the foggy days.
The bad weather condition in the mountains
The weather in the mountains is always unpredictable. In January due to the wind chill and snow, the weather may worsen. Yet, these don’t last throughout the month. Staying updated on the weather forecasts is always helpful to avoid most of these.
Tips for Trekking in Nepal in January
- Always stay hydrated. During cold months, it may be tempting to forget about these due to the cold weather. Yet, doing so involves a high risk of altitude sickness, dehydration, fatigue, and other illnesses.
- Make sure you reach your destination early. The days are short in January. It also gets colder as the day progresses. To avoid walking in the dark and cold, doing this is preferable.
- Never avoid your acclimatization days in January. It gets colder as you climb higher. The right acclimatization schedule and days help to better adapt to the harsh conditions at higher altitudes.
- If you are a beginner or novice trekker, sticking to the lower altitude treks are ideal. They are open and are less affected by the cold weather of the winter season. They are also more comfortable and safer for treks.
- Most of the places for meals, drinks, and accommodation are open in the popular routes. Yet, confirm before setting off on the trek. All these places are also a lot more affordable and offer better service in January. You will not have to compete for a better room or quality food.
- Make sure you have a flexible itinerary. This helps you to counter any extreme weather conditions you may face this month.
- Hiring a guide is almost a necessity in January. Even the most well-maintained trails may bury under the snow. Hence, to avoid getting lost, you should hire a guide. A guide also helps to improve your trekking experience.
- If you do decide the treks are not for you, there are other tours and jungle safari you can do in January in Nepal. You can opt for ones that take place in the lower altitudes to avoid cold weather.
Packing for Trekking in Nepal in January
Proper packing of all the trekking essentials for a high altitude trek is a must in all months of the year. During January, you have to carry and pack your winter essentials as well.
This must include the following:
- Heavy insulating jacket
- Thermal underwear and down vest
- Wool blend hiking socks
- Warm hat
- Trekking boots (winter ones that are waterproof and have good grips)
- Polar sunglasses
- Hiking poles
- Sleeping bag with a liner (for low-mid altitudes a -10°C should be enough, for higher altitudes you should get sleeping bags suitable for -35°C)
Note: You can get these on rent or buy them easily in Kathmandu or Pokhara. For boots, opt for ones that you have already broken into. New boots or shoes can cause blisters.
With the wide variety of trekking destinations and routes, treks in Nepal are doable throughout the year. With the right preparation and gears, you can have fabulous trekking in Nepal in January.
The peaceful trails,wide options for food and accommodation, crisp views, and the warm teahouses make your trekking in Nepal in January worthwhile.
If you have further questions or queries about treks to Nepal in January, feel free to contact us.