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Weather in Bhutan is highly influenced by the altitude. In the northern regions where mountains rise as high as 7,000m / 22,966feet, the weather conditions are similar to that of arctic, frozen and frosty. Mountain peaks are continually covered in snow and lower parts are still cool even in summers because of the high-altitude topography. Towards the southern belts, the weather is hot and humid in the summer and cool during winter. Temperatures can vary between 15-30ºC (59-86ºF) in these regions. The central parts of the country have temperate and deciduous forests where the climate is more seasonal with warm summers and cool, dry winters. In general, the climate of Bhutan is extremely varied – one due to the variation in altitude and two, due to the influence of north Indian monsoons.
Bhutan has four distinct seasons namely spring, summer, autumn (or fall), and winter. Spring season during the months between March and May is perhaps the best time to visit Bhutan. The average daytime temperature in this season is 17ºC (63ºF) and the average nighttime temperature falls to 7ºC (45ºF). The landscapes in the valley become lively with wildflowers out and birds humming various tones. Snow begins to melt giving way to greener pastures bringing out the feeling of the arrival of spring in the air. Spring time also makes for an incredible hike in the tranquil trails of Bhutan’s distant locations in the wilderness.
Summer season during the months between of June and August experience wet weather in almost all parts of the country as it also marks the arrival of monsoon. Late afternoons usually see rain showers, so sightseeing is still possible in the morning hours. The average daytime temperature in this season is 24ºC (75ºF) and the average nighttime temperature falls to 14ºC (57ºF). July is the wettest month of the year with an average of around 370mm of rainfall throughout the month.
Autumn or the fall season during the months between October and December is also an ideal time to visit Bhutan as the weather is very mild although there may not be flowers blooming in the valleys. The average daily temperature in this season is 22ºC (71ºF) and the average nighttime temperature falls to 12ºC (54ºF). These months are less wet and the skies are clear, the air is fresh and perfect for hiking in the secluded trails. The beginning of fall may see showers in some parts of the country while the northern part could already experience some snowfall especially at higher elevations. In general, during this season the visibility of the mountains is sparkling clear and the weather is still warm until mid-November.
Winter season during the months between December and February is comparatively the coldest time of the year. These months are every photographer’s fantasy with thick blankets of snow especially in the northern regions of the country. The average daytime temperature in this season is 10ºC (50ºF) and the average nighttime temperature falls to 0ºC (32ºF). The icy winds of the northeast monsoon make the climate colder. January is the coldest month of the year, but nevertheless, it is one of the most popular months to visit Bhutan especially Thimphu outside the main tourist season.
Spring and fall (autumn) are undoubtedly the best times of the year to visit Bhutan. The weather of Bhutan fluctuates radically depending on the elevation. Having said that, summer and winter seasons also have their own appeal and attractions. Spring season during the months between March and May is perhaps the best time to visit Bhutan. It has ever remained the all-time favorite season to visit Bhutan for all foreign tourists. Although these months can be wet, but the valley becomes lively with wildflowers out and birds humming various tones. In addition, it makes for an incredible hike in the tranquil trails of Bhutan’s distant locations in the wilderness. It is indeed the perfect timing for nature lovers who are keen on local flora to target spring for traveling into Bhutan. The Paro Tshechu, a local festival, usually takes place in early April making it a nice opportunity to participate and meet the king of Bhutan.
Autumn or fall, during the months between October and December, is also an ideal time to visit Bhutan. Though the country does not offer browning forests or maples, the mild weather around this time of the year makes it a perfect time to visit Bhutan. These months are less wet and the skies are clear, the air is fresh and perfect for hiking in the secluded trails. Snowfall may be witnessed at higher elevations during the fall. Just like Paro Tshechu, during the late September Thimphu Tshechu could gather a large crowd in the capital city. This season is also perfect to stay with a local villager in the Phobjikha valley and witness the black-necked crane festival and do your part to help conserve nature.
If you wish to steer clear of the higher tariff and the winter cold, it is good to consider visiting Bhutan in early June during the summer time. If monsoon hasn’t set in, then traveling in June would really be a great time. Otherwise, traveling during monsoon is not recommended as roads could get blocked due to landslides. The summer season sees a lower number of tourists in Bhutan. One festival to participate in during June travel would be Nimalung Tshechu. Winter months of December and January are every photographer’s fantasy with thick blankets of snow, but it gets really cold. To avoid travelers’ crowds and catch up on the black-necked cranes, winter would be the time to go. The Trongsa Tshechu takes place in the Trongsa Dzong during winter. It is an intimate affair with a handful of travelers participating in this festival.