While spring has brightened many a smile south of the equator (my own included), our friends up north are bidding farewell to summer and welcoming those delightfully crisp, earthy and cosy days of autumn. And what’s not to love about autumn? The sunny, dry weather, combined with pleasant temperatures, clear skies, fresh air and changing colours are an invitation to get out and explore the beauty of Mother Nature.
Last month, South Asia’s wet and misty monsoon season came to a close, leaving behind a verdant, picturesque landscape that is bursting with new life, beautiful blooms and fresh foliage. Hiking trails have reopened after the rains, mountain treks are resuming, and the dense jungles are teeming with wildlife and lush vegetation.
From hikers, nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, to wildlife addicts, photographers and families, autumn is a wonderful time to escape with your loved ones and discover the rugged beauty of Nepal, India, Sri Lanka and Bhutan. Here are 5 reasons to love autumn in Asia.
1. Walk on the wild side
A hiker’s mecca, Nepal is blessed with towering mountain peaks, mysterious monasteries and a wide selection of adventure sports to suit the most daring of adrenaline junkies, from rafting, biking, fishing and rock climbing, to paragliding, boating, canyoneering and bungee jumping. The characteristically dry and clear days of October and November provide great visibility and magnificent views.
2. After the rains
Once the monsoon has washed away all the dust and magically transformed the jungles of India back into a thick, green wonderland, the wildlife soon returns in abundance, the birds commence their daily chorus and the national parks all reopen. This is an ideal time for photographers; the earth is fresh, the landscapes are inviting and the game viewing starts to get exciting again.
3. Reason to celebrate
Autumn is a popular time to visit the bucket list-worthy Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan. Not only is it a fantastic time for hiking, with its comfortable climate, crisp air, autumn colours and sunny skies, but this is also a great time for festivals.
Thimphu Tsechu is Bhutan’s most popular festival, attracting revellers from around the world during the month of October. It is a colourful celebration of the Bhutanese culture and faith, complete with ornate costumes, ancient rituals and sacred dances including the world-famous Dance of the Black Hats and Dance of the Terrifying Deities. Click here to read about other must-see festivals in Asia.
4. Changing colours
As the seasons turn, so too do the leaves and Ladakh in India is no exception. This rugged, mountainous terrain, which is home to the elusive snow leopard, unexpectedly erupts into bold autumnal colours from September to November. Those wanting to explore the snow-capped mountains in search of the snow leopard itself will have to wait until the winter months though … and it’s well worth the wait! Read about our expedition here.
5. The gathering of giants
Every autumn, wildlife and photography enthusiasts flock to Sri Lanka’s Minneriya and Kaudulla National Parks to witness an extraordinary natural phenomenon: the annual congregation of over 300 wild elephants. Dubbed “The Gathering”, this yearly elephant migration has been observed for centuries and is the highest concentration of wild Asian elephant in the world. Image © Riaz Cader.