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Geography of Nepal

Nepal may be a small country, but the contrast between mountain and meadow makes it a giant in terms of terrain. It’s sandwiched between China and India and sits on the boundary of two huge tectonic plates, setting the scene for a raw and untouched slice of paradise. There are five seasons throughout the year, multiple different altitude levels to visit and an epic river system – so whether you’re researching the climate in the Himalayas for your next adventure, or just a little curious about the mountains and the land, you’ll find all you need to know here.

As it happens, we’ve been leading tours in this region for a while! So, if you’re eager to find out more or you just want some answers fast, get in touch with one of our travel gurus today. You can request a free brochure, shoot through an email or give us a call and we’ll do our best to help you out.

Skip to: Terrain | Seasons and Climate | Our Himalayas adventures 


Terrain

Nepal is roughly the size of New York, but instead of towering skyscrapers, imagine 8 out of the world’s 14 tallest mountains rising above you. This dramatic landscape ranges from as low as 70m above sea level to 8,848m (courtesy of Mt Everest, the tallest mountain in the world). It was created around 40 million years ago by the breaking up of Pangaea and the smashing together of two tectonic plates. At the time the two plates - Indian and Eurasian - were at geological loggerheads until the Indian landmass was forced beneath the Eurasian plate, driving the rise of the Himalayan mountain range. These mountains were formed relatively quickly (in geological terms) and are still growing by a centimetre each year.

Deep valley in the Himalayas mountain range

The Himalayan Region of Nepal sits in the North and is shared by India, Bhutan, China and Pakistan. Not only will you find 13 mountains over 8,000m high here, you’ll also find 202 mountains over 6,000m and as a result there are extremely deep valleys. Kali Gandaki Gorge in Nepal is one of the deepest gorges in the world and to top this off, the mountains are surrounded by heaps of rivers, the four biggest being Kail, Karnali, Narayani and Kosi.

The extreme terrain of Nepal has contributed both positively and negatively to the country's ability to progress economically; many still live off the land, which made the 2015 earthquake particularly hard to overcome. The country's position on a plate boundary means it is prone to earthquakes, experiencing a big one (over 7 on the Richter scale) roughly every 80 years. If you choose to travel with us, you’ll be accompanied by one of our kiwi guides, trained to extremely high standards, just like our very own Sir Edmund Hillary. We also work alongside a local guiding team, so we have all bases covered and we’re well prepared for any eventuality.


2018

“Our trip was fantastic because of our wonderful guides! Their attitude and ability to adapt the logistics kept us safe, together, and fulfilled - without ever letting on how much care that took on their part. KUDOS!!!!”
California, United States
AST, November 2018
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Snowy mountain in the Himalayas

Seasons and Climate

Weather-wise, there’s never a bad time to be in Nepal! The year sees five major seasons and even monsoon season makes the country beautiful, with lush green farmland and less tourists - if you can handle the humidity! For a quick guide, check out the points below:

  • Spring (mid-March to mid-May) brings in the extreme hikers hoping to reach the summit of Everest, like Autumn this season boasts comfortable temperatures and minimal rainfall.
  • Summer (mid-May to mid-July) can be very hot in places and creates unstable conditions in the Everest region with an increase in avalanche risk. Is also experiences higher rainfall than spring and autumn but it’s a great time for the farmers to get their crops in before the monsoon rainfalls hit.
  • Monsoon season (mid-July to mid-September) sees substantial rainfall with July reaching around 351mm! Nepal receives about 70% of its yearly rainfall during this period. Mountains during this time tend to sit in cloud and roads can be quite dangerous to travel on.
  • Autumn (mid-September to November) is a popular time to visit, with pleasant temperatures, moderate rainfall and gleaming green valleys from the monsoon season.
  • Winter (mid-November to mid-March) can be cold, especially on the higher hiking trails, but the mountains do look spectacular covered in snow and some regions such as Chitwan National Park are still a great place to visit.

The enormous range of altitude also means that 5 climatic zones can be explored depending on how high up the mountains you decide to travel (the tropical/subtropical zone, cool-temperate zone, cold zone, sub-arctic/ sub-alpine zone and finally, the arctic zone). I'm sure it comes as no surprise that because of this, the seasons mentioned above don't necessarily work in a 'one fits all' rule, they vary depending on altitude and positioning - a good rule of thumb is that on average temperatures drop 6°C for every 1,000m you gain in altitude. You can find out more on our Best Time to Visit page. 


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