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Annapurna Region Weather And Best Time To Visit Annapurna Region
The Annapurna region in Nepal encompasses the entire Annapurna range, along with other mountain ranges that include some of the tallest peaks in the world. It is one of the most popular trekking locations, surrounded by lush green valleys and the natural habitat of exotic birds and animals.
The relatively high altitude location of the Annapurna region implies that weather in Annapurna can vary drastically from the rest of the country. The majority of hilly terrain lies within the ‘rain shadow’ region and experiences considerably less precipitation than the rest of Nepal. This feature, along with varied weather conditions in different parts of the Annapurna make trekking activities possible throughout the year for true adventure enthusiasts. Take a look at what is the best time for you to travel to the Annapurna region.
Autumn (September – November)
The best time to travel to the Annapurna circuit is in the enjoyable season of autumn. After being washed down by the receding monsoons, the landscapes appear vibrant and invigorated, with brilliantly clear skies that create picture-perfect views of the hills, rivers and gorges. Away from the city lights, the night sky too is an exquisite spectacle to observe.
The daytime temperatures generally remain pleasantly warm with temperatures in the range of 12ᴼC-15ᴼC, but the nights can get chillier. The air is crisp and clean, and the overall climate conditions make for perfect trekking opportunities. Since it is peak season, all the trails and eateries are usually quite crowded and the hotels, cafes and restaurants witness inflated rates.
Winter (December – March)
Winters in the Annapurna region get extremely cold, and as the altitude rises, the temperatures dip even lower. January and February are the coldest months, where daytime temperatures are chilly, and night time temperatures fall well below the freezing point in higher altitude regions. Although with clear skies, you will be rewarded with splendid views of the hillside on a bright sunny day even in winters. It is a fascinating time to spend indoors too with the local lodgings that provide warm meals, fireplaces and comfy blankets to keep you cozy.
A number of adventure seekers still enjoy hiking in this season due to the relatively quiet and less crowded trails. Some of the difficult routes like Upper Mustang and Thorung La Pass can get blocked due to snow and may have to remain closed for a number of days; a compromising situation for hikers who may run into delays due to the detour.
Another highlight of the winter season is the opportunity to enjoy festivals like Tamu Loshar and Gyalpo Loshar with the locals, and witness the celebrations of Christmas and New Year in these secluded areas of the Himalayas.
Spring (March – May)
After autumn, springtime is the best season to visit the Annapurna region. The winter snow begins to dissipate and the crystal clear skies create wonderful views of the green valleys and hills. The lower regions are covered in colorful rhododendron blossoms and the temperature starts getting warmer, which is perfect for trekking. As May approaches, the days become hotter, and the humidity causes a kind of haze to surround the peaks of hills that is visible from the lower regions. With rising temperatures, trekking in the lower altitudes can get uncomfortable towards the end of May.
The local Tiji Festival is also celebrated in the month of May; it is an event that goes on for three days at the King’s palace in Mustang.
Summer (June – August)
Most of the summer season in the Annapurna region revolves around the annual monsoons and involves a lot of hot and humid days. The Annapurna Circuit can be broadly separated into the north and south zone. While the southern section lies near Pokhara and experiences heavy rainfall, the northern part that makes up a large section of the Annapurna region lies within an area of rain shadow and barely witnesses any form of precipitation.
While it is not advisable, people do go hiking even during the monsoons, especially those who prefer the off season that is known for relatively less crowds and quieter trails. Although the heavy monsoon clouds often end up obscuring the views that are supposed to be the highlight of hiking these trails. In areas that do witness heavy rainfall, there is always a chance of slippery and muddy pathways that can lead to dangerous landslides. Mosquitoes and leeches are abundant in this weather and tend to make things more unpleasant.
The local festival worth checking out in this season is the Yarlung Mela, celebrated in the month of August. This 3-day horse festival is celebrated in Mustang with songs, dances and horse racing.