Winters are not boring for everyone. Winters are undoubtedly heavenly, to say the least for some people. The season of chilliness is generally associated with gloomy skies and runny noses, and to combat the chilly breeze and freezing cold of winter, we appreciate hot chocolate, warm blankets, and bonfire gatherings. But there is a lovely aspect to the season that is frequently neglected. As the weather cools, the ideal time to start planning a winter snow vacation also begins.
It is also during this time of year that the snow favors us with its amazing beauty, transforming any location that receives snowfall into a white snowy spread of utter delight. Yes, snowfall is undeniably awe-inspiring. Making a snowman, tossing snowballs, and feeling the tingling, numbing sensation of freshly fallen snow are all unforgettable experiences.
There might be some people around the world or from Nepal itself who are interested in experiencing the snowfall in the mountain or hilly region of the country. And, while everybody knows that snowfall is prevalent in mountain base camps such as Everest base camp and Annapurna base camp, getting there is not always easy because of infrastructure, availability, interest, and budget.
Some people prefer long walks, while others choose easy access such as vehicle drives or helicopter rides, while others prefer adventurous sports such as motorbiking or mountain biking to reach the desired destination. Some like to go for week-long vacations, while others would rather travel for a few hours or stay overnight. It’s all up to the interests of the particular individuals.
However, Nepal is a geographically gifted country with many lovely spots to visit, from flat plains to mid-range valleys to the highest peaks, enabling travelers to quench their desired thirst. And their desire of experiencing snowfall in Nepal in the spots that are easily accessible and visually appealing can be fulfilled from the below-listed places if you happen to visit at the right time as snow at most of the lower regions melts after a couple of days.
Best Places to play snow around Kathmandu
The Kathmandu valley ranges from 1200 meters to 1600 meters above sea level and is surrounded by hills that rise to a height of over 2500 meters. The winter wonderland comes alive with the unique opportunity to enjoy the spectacular snowfall in the Kathmandu valley's outskirts and hill stations. The hilltops known for spectacular main attractions are the breathtaking Himalayan views and a rich range of flora and wildlife, while the wonderful snowfall experience in winter is another activity to try.
There are a few advantages to visiting snowfall locations around Kathmandu. It saves time because you can go to your destination in a few hours. The roads are wide and in good shape, making it easy to get to these locations. It is less expensive than a trip outside of Kathmandu.
Here are some snowy locations near Kathmandu that you should visit if you're in the city during the winter.
Phulchowki Hill or Pulchowki is the highest and the most picturesque hill at 2795 meters around the Kathmandu valley’s rim. The hill station’s name is a literal translation of ‘hills of flowers’ and is located 20 kilometers southeast of the capital.
This is one of the most scenic hiking trails and the Himalayan backdrop to the north and a spectacular view of the entire Kathmandu valley from the summit allow visitors to enjoy nature at its best. The viewpoint is an excellent area to spend a day away from Kathmandu's bustling city life, where you can breathe pure mountain air while admiring the magnificent mountain vista of Manaslu, Ganesh, Langtang, Gaurishankar, and Jugal Himal, with the Everest range to the east and Annapurna to the west.
It is a go-to place for day hiking, cycling, and bird watching. Many also visit for Phulchowki Mai festival between March and April. Apart from these popular activities, the hill station has gained popularity in snowfall experiencing as well. It has become one of the most favorite snowfall locations near the city during the core winter in January/February. The snowfall at Phulchowki adds to the season's beauty. However, snow lasts for only a couple of days here. So, as soon as you hear about snowfall, get your hiking gear ready.
• By Hiking
Phulchowki day hike starts with a 30 minutes drive from Thamel to the Godavari Botanical Garden. The hiking starts from the beautiful botanical garden on an easy and smooth trial. The total hiking duration is 3-4 hrs depending upon the pace of the hiker. After lunch, return to the starting point via the same route.
• By Driving
You can also make the direct drive to the hill station via the same route used for hiking.
Note: Do carry the lunch box as there are no teahouses or lodges throughout the trail and at the top.
Shivapuri Hill Station is another perfect location to experience snowfall during winter near Kathmandu. Located just north of Kathmandu, Shivapuri at 2732 meters above sea level is a famous spot for seeing orchids, rhododendrons, and other flora of the central hill as well panoramic mountain views such as Mt. Manaslu, Ganesh Himal, Gaurishankar, and Langtang.
Shivapuri Hill is the second tallest hill in Kathmandu Valley and a lovable spot for hikers around the city. If the hill is beautiful in the spring with flowering rhododendrons, it is even more so in the winter with clear views of the mountains and snowflakes. It is more likely to snow near Bhagdwar, the source of the Bagmati River, than in any other location from the foot of the hill to the peak. Snowfall can happen at any time during the winter months, so check to see if it’s cold enough for snow before you leave.
- By Hiking
• Shivapuri Hill can be reached by hiking uphill for 3-4 hours from Budhanilkantha. Budhanilkatha is 20 minutes drive from Thamel.
• The hike also can be started from the Fulbari Gate at Nagarjun which is a 15 minutes drive from Thamel via Bypass Balaju.
- By Driving on a Private Vehicle/Taxi/Two-wheeler
• Driving is possible till Nagi Gumba. Further, you have to hike to reach the top of the hill.
- By Mountain Biking
• Interested can sign in for mountain biking to reach Shivapuri Hill.
Chandragiri is certainly a beautiful, rich, and unspoiled landscape, with soaring peaks such as Annapurna, Everest, Manaslu & Ganesh, and breathtaking vistas of the entire Kathmandu Valley wrapped in a thick green carpet of flora. The hill receives snowfall during the winter, making it a perfect destination for leisure and snowfall aficionados. Along with its unrivaled beauty and snow, it also has some religious and pilgrimage significance such as the ancient Bhaleshowr Mahadev Temple, making it a famous hilltop in the Kathmandu valley.
• You may get to Chandragiri by driving for an hour from Kathmandu valley to Thankot, then taking a 10-minute cable car ride from Thankot to Chandragiri hill.
32 kilometers northeast of Kathmandu valley lies the Nagarkot hill at 2165 meters in the Bhaktapur district. It is a well-known viewpoint that provides the best view of the sunrise and sunset along with panoramic Himalayan peaks of Gaurishankar, Langtang, and Dorje Lakpa from the top. You can also see the Everest Mountains along with Annapurna, Manaslu, Ganesh Himal, Jugal, Rolwaling, and Numbur from the hill station if the weather is clear.
Nagarkot is also known for its abundant natural diversity. The breathtaking Himalayan views, the residents' culture and traditions, and the amazing town that exemexemplifies incredible geographical diversity. This place has a diverse range of things to offer, from trekking to vantage discovery. Mountain riding, and brief hiking, are among the adventure sports available at the hill point. One of the finest things to see in Nagarkot during the winter is the snowfall.
This destination has become a popular alternative for a night escape and snowfall in Kathmandu because of its amazing qualities. When you visit Nagarkot to see the snow, make your time to take in the sunrise and sunset views. Stay the night in a lovely hotel from budget to luxurious facilities and get up bright and early the next day. Climb to the top of the viewing tower for a better view of the sunrise behind the high peaks.
- By Driving
• You can drive straight to Nagarkot from Kathmandu on local, private, 2 wheeler, or four-wheeler.
- By Hiking
• You can drive to Bhaktapur and start the 10 km trekking to reach Nagarkot Hill.
- By Biking
• Whether you like motorbiking or mountain biking, both option is available to make the trip to Nagarkot.
The Kakani village, located an hour's scenic drive north of Kathmandu, is an excellent place for day tours, homestay tours, day hiking, cycling, and learning about the Nepalese country lifestyle. Apart from these exciting activities, the place is easily accessible for experiencing the snowfall in winter. The village at 2073 meters is famous for picnicking, family outings, strawberry farming, and trout fish farming. It is one of the perfect places to take in the heartfelt view of gleaming mountains such as Annapurna, Manaslu, Ganesh Himal, Langtang, Dorje Lakpa, Melung-Tse, Gauri Shankar, Furi Cha-Chui, Everest, and other peaks and the Kathmandu Valley.
During the snowfall months of January to early February, the views of these Himalayan peaks from the Kakani viewpoint are out of imaginary. Aside from numerous activities to do in this long winter, why don’t you plan a day or two to this picturesque place to see the Himalayas covered in fresh snow, as well as the sunrise and sunset views, and play with the white snow with your bare hands?
- By Driving
• You can make a 1 and half hour drive from Kathmandu to Kakani.
- By Hiking
• You can drive to Budhanilkantha and start the hike to Kakani via the Shivapuri National Park.
- By Biking
• Both motomotorbiking mountain biking can be done to reach Kakani.
Daman is a natural paradise covered with red Rhododendron blooms in spring while it is covered with white snow during the winter months. It is about 75 kilometers southwest of Kathmandu offering a panoramic view of the Himalayan range stretching over 300 km. A view tower with long-range telescopes of Daman is one of the best sites in Nepal to witness a breath-taking view of the world's tallest peak, Mt. Everest along with other peaks such as Annapurna, Manaslu, Ganesh Himal, Langtang, Dorjelakpa, Gaurishankar, Cho Oyu and others on a clear day.
Aside from seeing mountains and experiencing snow, you may also see crystal clear waterfalls, water springs, and green hills, all of which will help to relax your mind. It is also a cultural and religiously significant location where you can learn about the village’s unspoiled culture and traditions.
One can visit here for a day or stay in one of the hotels, resorts, or lodges or enjoy camping with a campfire and BBQ.
- By Driving
• You can make a 2-3 hours’ drive from Kathmandu to Daman village.
- By Hiking
• You can drive to Markhu and start the 5-6 hours’ hike to Daman.
Kalinchowk is the first spot that springs to mind when someone says they want to experience snowfall in Nepal. It is one of Nepal's most well-known winter destinations and the most visited in this list around Kathmandu to experience snow. Located at the height of 3842 meters, roughly 150 kilometers east of the valley in the Dolakha districts lies the Kalinchowk Municipality, the Kuri Village, and the sacred Kalinchowk Bhagwati Temple.
This place is full of natural wonders as well as cultural treasures and receives the most snowfall compared to other hill stations around Kathmandu during the winter. As a result, it has become a favorite camping and snow-playing destination in recent years. Mountain peaks like Ganesh Himal, Shisha Pangma, Langtang, Dorje Lakpa, Jugal Himal, Gauri Shankar, and others may be seen from here. In addition, the Kalinchowk temple at the top blends beauty with religious demands, giving it an ideal retreat for visitors in the Kathmandu valley.
Make this beautiful place your choice for winter vacation if you want to experience snowy winter, high altitude, spectacular vistas, a spiritual feeling, and light adventures with little effort. However, it would be best to keep updated regarding the weather forecast before making the trip there as snow doesn’t stay for a longer period.
- By Driving up to Kuri Village
• 6-7 hours’ drive from Kathmandu to Charikot on paved road & 90 minutes drive from Charikot to Kuri village along the bumpy road.
- By Hiking/cable car riding to Kalinchowk Bhagwati Temple
• Approx. 2 hours hike to Kalinchowk Bhagwati Temple from Kuri
• OR, 15 minutes cable ride
Top Places to witness snowfall around Pokhara
Pokhara is a quaint Nepalese city near the Himalayan Alps. This is the starting point for a variety of gorgeous and demanding treks. Hikes range from a day hike to multi-day treks such as the Annapurna or Poon Hill. Pokhara is also known for its gorgeous Phewa Lake, and many adventure activities like boating, trekking, rafting, and extreme sports like rafting, canoeing, and bungee jumping and its yoga retreats.
Aside from this list of things to do, you can make your snowstorm journey to Pokhara if you have the required time and budget. Pokhara itself doesn’t receive snowfall but the outskirts and hill stations that surround this lovely city of lakes welcome snowfall in the winter.
The places like Ghorepani Poonhill, Mohare Danda, Pothana, Mardi Himal Base Camp, etc. are refined snowy hideaways near Pokhara, where the beautiful Alps await. These are beautiful locations to enjoy the season, with snow-covered forests, snowy peaks, and shimmering lakes. These locations are not as close as those in Kathmandu. In comparison to the spots around the capital, you'll need a bit more time, a little more money, and a little more days of trekking to get to these places.
These places would be a perfect match if you want to experience trekking and snowfall at the same time around the Annapurna region.
Poonhill boats spectacular views throughout the year, but winter is even more magical there. The hill station fits perfectly for those adventure junkies who are into trekking, nature, and culture. It is also one of the most beautiful spots to see snow near Pokhara city. It is located at an elevation of 3210 meters above sea level and offers panoramic views of the mountains, such as South Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, Machhapuchhre (Fishtail), and Himchuli to name a few.
Poon Hill is a well-known hill station for short hikes and treks and is a starting point for adventurers who want to experience the popular Annapurna Trekking trips. This journey takes the trekker through the Annapurna region's meandering of stunning ethnic communities. Trekking through the Poonhill allows visitors to have a close look at the Himalayan grandeur as well as the local culture.
It is recommended to visit the place during the spring, but visiting in the winter could be quite an adventure and you will be able to experience snowfall. The hill is covered in massive snow and visitors throughout the winter season. There are numerous hotels and tea houses in the Poon hill area that give lodging.
- By Driving
Drive from Kathmandu – Pokhara – Nayapul
- By Trekking
Follow the trekking route: Nayapul – Tilhedhunga – Ghorepani – Poonhill
2. Mohare Danda
Mohare Danda or Mohare Ridge with an elevation of 3313 meters is one of Nepal's short trekking destinations and a well-known snowfall receiving location near Pokhara.
Mohare Danda journey is a trek to the lovely off-the-beaten-path Annapurna area, which is bounded by slopes, mountains, streams, and wooded areas of Oaks, Bamboo, and Pine. The trip is a more unimaginable ordeal during the months of winter as you will be accompanied by the white fluffy snowflakes. The summit of Mohare Hill provides the closest view of the massive Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges. You may also get beautiful sunrise and sunset views over the dazzling mountains.
Trekking in the snow can be difficult, but the experience is unique, and the journey provides you with unforgettable spectacle, beautiful views, and vivid trekking and snowfall impressions.
- By Driving
Drive from Kathmandu – Pokhara – Dinuwa
- By Trekking
Follow the trekking route: Dinuwa – Lespar Village – Mohare Danda
3. Mardi Himal Base Camp
The Mardi Himal area is well-known for its trekking adventure. Aside from that, the area is one of the best spots in Nepal to experience snowfall. The Mardi Himal Base Camp is a hidden jewel that is stunningly positioned at the base of Mardi Himal and the picturesque and towering Machhapuchhre (Fishtail). The base camp is at 4550 meters from sea level covered with colorful rhododendrons blossoms in spring and snow during the winter.
Though the finest season to visit Mardi Himal Base Camp is considered spring and autumn, winter visits will provide you with a stunning sight and intriguing experience. Mardi Himal, Annapurna South, Machapuchhre, and Hiunchuli are some of the peaks that are visible from the base camp of Mardi Himal.
- By Driving
Drive from Kathmandu – Pokhara – Kande
- By Trekking
Follow the trekking route: Kande – Deurali – Forest Camp – Low Camp – High Camp – Base Camp
Outside Kathmandu and Pokhara
Someone in the group may be looking for an adrenaline rush and might be considering combining trekking with a snowstorm encounter. As a result, Kalinchowk or Ghorepani Poonhill might not be their cup of tea for someone like them. So, here’s a list of those potential places for experiencing both moments at a time that are quite far from Kathmandu and Pokhara:
1. Rara Lake
Rara Lake is the largest natural lake of Nepal and is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Nepal. During the peak of the winter season, Rara at 2990 meters above sea level has knee-deep snowfall. The snow-covered lake valley is as stunning as the opulent Himalayan splendor. Despite the temperature dropping to many minuses, the lake is never seen frozen till the date. Who would want to miss the opportunity of aesthetic moments and instagramable pictures of the serene lake surrounded by the white fluffy cloud-like snow? Definitely not an adventure plus snow lover.
While getting there can be difficult during winter, the feeling Rara provides during a snowfall is unlike anything else. Trekking is not only the option but Rara Lake Helicopter Tour can be done too depending upon the traveler’s interest and budget.
2. Khaptad National Park
Imagine enormous swaths of the country blanketed in fluffy, white snow; that's what Khaptad National Park looks like in the winter. Khaptad National Park is located in Nepal's far west area, around 450 kilometers from Kathmandu, and is rarely visited by visitors. This location ranging from 1400 to 3300 meters elevation is bedecked with flowers in the summer and spring, and it transforms into a snowy wonderland in the winter. The fact that this location is isolated and not one of the easiest to reach adds to the mystique of this destination. This is undoubtedly one of the nicest places in Nepal to visit at least once during the winter.
A place worth mentioning twice, Gosiankunda really is a snow holiday dream. Gosaikunda is a lake that is well-known for being both a religious pilgrimage for both Hindus and Buddhists and a fantastic hiking excursion. It is located in the Langtang region of Rasuwa district, northwest of Kathmandu, at an elevation of 4380 meters.
During the winter months, you can see nature in its purest form. Frozen lakes and ice waterfalls along with some of the nicest vistas of freshly snow-capped mountains can be seen there. You can also play fun-filled activities while watching the snowfall in the region and enjoying the tranquility of the countryside.
4. Panch Pokhari
The greatest seasons for trekking in Panch Pokhari are fall and spring, however, visitors can come at any time and winter would be perfect if you are looking for the place to experience snowfall and adventure trekking. It's a moderately difficult walk in the Langtang region of Sindhupalchowk but the vistas of mountain ranges, foliage, and wildlife, as well as a typical mountain lifestyle along with the snowflakes falling from the sky, is worth the effort.
During the winter months, snowfall can be seen anywhere in Nepal above 3,000 meters. The destinations described above are some of the best, most well-known, and closest spots from the capital, Kathmandu, and the most popular city, Pokhara to play in the snow.
Aside from this, you may enjoy snowfall on Nepal's numerous trekking trails. If you have more budget and time, you can go on Everest region trips or long Annapurna region trips to enjoy mountain snowfall as well as a spectacular view of the Himalayan peaks, the culture, and the tradition of the particular places, and the classic Nepalese trekking routes. Helicopter Tours to Everest, Annapurna, (to name the least) would also be a good option who are not into trekking and who are limited in time but wants to play with snow around some highest peaks.