Nepal in September can be a big mix of ups and downs. September happens to fall between monsoon season and one of the best months of the year to visit the country. Due to climate change, the weather in September has become unpredictable. Some years it could be a rainy mess with limited options for travelers, and other years’ travelers might luck out with some of the best weather you could ask for. Traveling in September is a gamble, but those who aim to visit later in the month have better odds for ideal conditions.
Nepal’s Weather in September
Fall / Peak Season
66-82 F (19-28 C)
Average Days of Rain:
What to expect:
The weather in September tends to be hot and humid since it’s still the end of monsoon season (May-September). On average, Nepal sees about 12 days of rain during the month of September. In Kathmandu, the average daytime temperature is around 73 F (23 C). In Pokhara, it’s around 82 F (28 C). In areas around the Terai (like Chitwan, Barida, and Lumbini) it’s around 97 F (36 C). This makes it an ideal time to hang out in the Kathmandu Valley or around the very popular city of Pokhara.
Trekking in Nepal in September
High Altitude Trekking:
September is the last month of monsoon season in Nepal. With climate change, it’s hard to pinpoint which months are ideal for trekking anymore, so it’s best to check weather conditions right before going. Personally, I avoid all treks in monsoon season. There are major dangers including flash floods, landslides, etc. Since September is the end of monsoon, you may get lucky. Aim for the end of the month for better trekking conditions as that is closer to peak trekking season. The beginning of the month may still be dangerous.
Low Altitude Trekking:
I think low altitude trekking is the best bet for trekking in the beginning of September. Even then, it’s very important to talk to locals about the routes you plan to take. Some areas (which are very easy to walk during peak season) may be flooded, washed out, or have closures because of monsoon season. Roads are known to wash away this time of year, so trekking trails can be dangerous even at low altitudes. Trekking at the end of the month is a much better idea.
Tourism in Nepal in September
Due to September being on the cusp of monsoon and peak season, it’s a bit of a gamble for trekking. Therefore, September is much less crowded than the peak month of October. September receives almost half as many tourists as October according to stats from the Nepal Tourism Board.
Monsoon season is the best time of year to get discounts on things like hotels. In the beginning of September, you may be able to get some great deals if you’re willing to put up with bad weather and limited outdoor activities.
Unfortunately, there’s not a great chance of spotting wildlife in September. With so many days of rain, animals don’t have to come to the river to drink. I went to Chitwan National Park during monsoon season, and I had a blast. But, that’s only because I was with amazing people. Our safari got canceled when the river flooded and the grasses were too tall to be safe to walk through. We went for a small jeep safari in an outlying area and did manage to see some endangered crocodiles and a wild boar. But there were no rhinos or tigers in sight.
Monsoon season in Nepal comes with a lot of hassles and risks. Due to poor infrastructure, many of the roads get washed away during monsoon season. This can cause major delays when traveling by car. You may also find yourself stuck at the airport for days if you are flying into areas like Lukla where the weather is temperamental at best. Besides constant delays, there are major safety concerns when trekking or traveling. Landslides and flash floods are very dangerous this time of year.
Best areas to visit:
I find that spending time between an altitude of 1,200m and 2,000m (3,900ft -6,500ft) is best this time of year. This includes areas like the Kathmandu Valley which isn’t as hot as lower lying land. It’s also not as dangerous as areas in the mountains where landslides are common.
Best areas to avoid:
The Terai (Chitwan, Lumbini, Bardia) is extremely hot this time of year. With the heat and lots of rain, it’s a breeding ground for mosquitos. Although not as bad as India, there is a chance of malaria and other mosquito borne illnesses in this area during this time of year.
Check if areas or roads are prone to landslides, mudslides, or flash flooding before visiting. For instance, the road between Pokhara and Lumbini is often closed during monsoon because it regularly has problems. My friends were traveling by bus from Pokhara to Lumbini, and it normally takes 8-10 hours to get there. It took them 24 hours to get there because of closures!
Festivals in September
(dates listed are for 2021)
Sep 9th Teej
Hartalika Teej is also known as the “Women’s Festival.” Women (typically married women) are invited to their maternal homes for a feast with family. Then, they spend a day fasting and dancing while praying for the health of their families. One of the best places to go during the festival is Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu. Foreign women should be prepared to dance as they may be asked to join the festivities!
Sep 11th Rishi Panchami
Rishi Panchami is a day when women ask for forgiveness by bathing in rivers. Unfortunately, women in Nepal are subjected to a lot of rules while they have their periods. This is more common in rural areas where women can’t enter kitchens, temples, or even touch their husbands while menstruating. Rishi Panchami is the day they ask to be forgiven for anything they may have done wrong while menstruating.
Sep 19th Constitution Day
While Constitution Day is not a festival, you may see people celebrating in the streets with political speeches and marches holding flags. You may also see some protests as not everyone is happy with the current constitution.
Sep 20th Indra Jatra
Indra Jatra is an eight-day long festival that marks the beginning of festival season. It’s one of the biggest festivals of the year for the Newari community in the Kathmandu Valley. Most of the festivities take place in Kathmandu Durbar Square where those lucky enough can witness the “living goddess.”
Pros & Cons
- Less crowded
- Ideal Trekking Conditions at the End of the Month
- Difficult to Spot Wildlife
- Unsafe Trekking at Beginning of Month
- Unsafe Roads
- Possibility of Landslides, Mudslides, or Flash Floods
- Delayed Travel
Packing Essentials for Nepal in September
The most important things to have in monsoon season are rain gear and mosquito repellent. For rain gear, I recommend a good raincoat, waterproof bags, and a rain cover for your backpack (if it didn’t come with one). If you’ll be in areas in the Terai for long periods of time, you may want to talk to your doctor about Malaria pills.
Check out my packing list for Nepal for everything you need year round!
More Monthly Guides for Nepal…
- January in Nepal
- February in Nepal
- March in Nepal
- April in Nepal
- May in Nepal
- June in Nepal
- July in Nepal
- August in Nepal
- September in Nepal
- October in Nepal
- November in Nepal
- December in Nepal
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This post was written by Michelle Della Giovanna and originally appeared on www.fulltimeexplorer.com