- I would not go to very high altitudes like Spiti during this season. They still remain cold and dry. Low to mid altitudes (1500-3000 meters) generally offer the best spring colours.
- It is generally less crowded compared to high summers. So, you can get cheaper rates at most places.
- Many of these places will have seasonal delights on sale. Keep your eyes open. For example, rhododendron juices, both packaged and fresh, should be readily available all over Uttarakhand.
Best Himalayan Spring Destinations for March-April
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I am not really talking about McLeodganj. Inside a town, you will not get much of what I am talking about. The best way to experience the spring in Kangra is the explore the lower valleys and also to hike around the nearby villages. My lasting memory of Kangra SPring will always be that of Sidhpur, in the lower part of Dharamshala (near Norbulingka Institute). It is barely considered to be a separate destination and I ended up there accidentally. But those were some of my best spring frames. Also, you can always venture out into the Barot Valley, divided between Kangra and Mandi districts. You will find the following posts useful.
I know I have ranted many times about the overexploited Parvati Valley and I stand by it. Nevertheless, when I went there the first time many years ago, it was March. It was not planned but quickly realized how great this stretch looked in Spring. Especially, the Kasol to Chalal stretch and then the Rashol Trek beyond that. In case you have not realized, Rashol is also a rhododendron trek, at least one part of it.
It feels ironic to say it but Shangarh needs no introduction nowadays. When I went there the first time, no one had heard of it. But within a short span, it has become the most sought after destination and why not? I just hope that the locals maintain aura in the face of tourism onslaught and find sustainable ways to conduct their business. Anyway, I went there at the fag end of spring and it was as photogenic as ever. In any case, you can explore the entire GHNP region in this season. I am sure all these areas including Sainj, Tirthan, Jibhi, Jalori, and nearby Gadagushaini & Thachi Valley will be as great in terms of spring colours.
Now, the high passes to Ladakh will still remain closed in spring and the only way to experience a Ladakhi spring is to take a flight to Leh and then hire vehicles to explore. This is why I have never been to Ladakh in winter or spring. While the higher parts of Ladakh will be barren, the comparatively lower areas, especially the likes of Kargil, Suru Valley, and the Brokpa areas of Dah Hanu Biama etc experience excellent spring during this season. Everyone loves to eat apricots in Ladakh but this is the season when you can see the apricot orchards in full bloom. I got these pics below from Travel The Himalayas.
Waterfalls Hikes of Meghalaya
Now, the famed waterfalls of Meghalaya are accessible throughout the year. However, in the rainy season, it rains too much and affects mobility as well as visibility. The winters are safe but I find the dry season a bit too dull. That is why I think spring is perfect for the short waterfall hikes in Meghalaya such as Nongriat-Rainbow Falls, Phe Phe Falls, Krang Suri etc along with Dawki-Shnopdeng.
Yumthang Valley needs no introduction. It is the Valley of Flowers of the NE. Partly it is covered by the Singba Rhododendron Sanctuary (The name is self-explanatory) and the rest of the valley also gets covered with wild blossoms in spring and summer. However, yet again, I have been there only in the winter when it was all white. This is yet another place where I need to return in the right season.
Till then, read this Winter Yumthang Post.
The Tawang circuit in Arunachal has much more to offer than you think. During my recent trip, I noticed rhododendrons on the way to Sela Pass too. However, the more delightful colors will be seen in the lower areas of Dirang-Sangti Valley, and the lesser-known Shergaon-Rupa belt. This area also is ideal for birdwatching in this season. I have managed to explore Shergaon in Spting but yet to enjoy the higher reaches in this season.
Read my post about Shergaon Rhododendron Festival here.
West Sikkim & Darjeeling
The western parts of Sikkim has many great treks that are ideal in the spring as it gets covered with rhododendrons. The best-known treks here are Varsey Rhododendron Trek as well as Goecha La Trek beyond Yuksom-Dzongri. Singalila National Park is the region bordering Darjeeling and Nepal. The famous Sandakphu trek is located in this region while there is much more to explore. This area borders West Sikkim mentioned above and so vegetation and views will be similar.
Last year I managed to do the very easy and delightful Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary Trek.
The Garo Hills of Meghalaya can be delightful during spring too. This is when the spring blossoms can make the places very delightful. Enjoy the turquoise waters, uncharted routes, treks, jungles, canyons and whatnot. I did a Garo Hills expedition a few months ago. You can check the details here…
Anini and the rest of the Upper Dibang Valley can be delightful during March-April with its cherry blossoms and other delights after a harsh and snowy winter. Some of its long-distance treks may not open up before the summer but you can still try many smaller local hikes. Last year I went for the extreme Anini Seven Lakes Trek but even without trekking, it is worth a visit.
Ukhrul can be a great underrated spring destination. Unfortunately, tourist infrastructure and documentaion still has a long way to go in these hill districts of Manipur. Nevertheless, Ukhrul is actually not hard to reach. Read my Ukhrul Guide here.