The research was designed to answer how households and local communities in rural Nepal are responding to the impacts of climate change. Using four villages as case study units, a mixed method approach was adopted in a multi-scaled process carried out at community, district and national levels. The research found that adaptation practices being adopted differ according to household well-being and are largely governed by access to education, information and resources within the community. Responses such as livelihood and income diversification, internal migration, share cropping, taking consumption loans, use of alternative energy and use of bio-pesticides were found to mostly vary according to well-being status of the interviewees. Development of adaptation plans, strategies and support mechanisms should take account of the different adaptation practices and needs of households. If such individual situations are not considered, adaptation responses may be ineffective or even be maladaptive and increase vulnerability. The research also found that the autonomous, unplanned and reactive nature of adaptation practices chosen by rural communities can contribute to further inequity and unequal power relations. The knowledge generated from this research contributes to understanding of how climate change contributes to vulnerability, but also how local practices and lack of an effective climate policy or response measures may magnify the effects of many existing drivers of vulnerability in terms of maladaptation and increasing social inequalities.