Best Time To Visit Bhutan - Himalayan Glacier
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Best Time To Visit Bhutan

Get an idea on the best time to visit Bhutan depending on what activity you want to partake during your Bhutan tour

Weather & Climate

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 (March – May):
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). Spring time also makes for an incredible hike in the tranquil trails of Bhutan’s distant locations in the wilderness.

Summer season (June – August):
Summer season, during the months between June and August, experiences wet weather in almost all parts of the country as it also marks the arrival of monsoon. The average daytime temperature in this season is 24ºC (75ºF) and the average nighttime temperature falls to 14ºC (57ºF).

Autumn or the fall season (October – December):
Autumn or fall, 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). During this season the visibility of the mountains is sparkling clear and the weather is still warm until mid-November.

Winter season (December – February):
Winter season, during the months between December and February, is comparatively the coldest time of the year. 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.

Best Time To Travel

Tucked away in the lap of the Himalayas, Dyuk Yul or Bhutan is a beautiful little kingdom. The climate of Bhutan varies diversely because the altitude variations in the country range from 180m (590ft.) to 7,800m (25,990ft.). You can figure out easily how the country enjoys a huge climate variation because of this diverse contrasts of altitude.

The weather of Bhutan fluctuates radically depending on the elevation.

The northern regions of the country experience somewhat arctic weather conditions. As you move southwards, it starts getting hot, with humid summer weather and cold, pleasant winters.

Major Seasons of Bhutan

There are 4 major seasons in Bhutan, namely:

Spring (March – May)
Spring months can get cloudier than other months comparatively. The wildlife and flowers are at their most vivid. The magnificent rhododendrons, magnolias and other wildflowers can be seen blooming. The birdlife is abundant. And, most festivals occur during this season, so you might get a chance to witness one of the Bhutan’s popular festivals. Spring is perhaps the best time to visit Bhutan!

Summer (June – August)
It is good to consider visiting Bhutan during summer if you wish to steer clear of the higher tariff and the winter cold. The season sees a lower number of tourists in Bhutan. One festival to participate during June would be Nimalung Tsechu. We do not recommend traveling to Bhutan in summer! Roads could get blocked due to landslides.

Fall or Autumn (September – November)
These months are less wet and skies are clear, the air is fresh and perfect for hiking in the secluded trails. It is an ideal time to visit Bhutan. The beginning of fall may see showers in some parts of the country while the northern part could already experience some snowfall at higher elevations.  Fall is also a good time to visit Bhutan! This season, you may get to witness Thimphu Tsechu, one of Bhutan’s popular festivals.

Winter (December – February)
Winer would be a time to visit Bhutan if you wish to avoid travelers’ crowd and catch up on the black-necked cranes. However, winters in Bhutan are quite cold, but the skies are usually clear, providing stunning views and great opportunity to photographers. During winter, the Trongsa Tshechu festival takes place in Trongsa Dzong. We recommend winter season for traveling to those travelers who can endure the chilly weather conditions.

 

Region-wise weather of Bhutan

Since Bhutan has a diverse range of altitude, let us quickly look at how the weather is at various regions.

Southern Regions

The southern regions of the country are majorly the plains with subtropical weather conditions. These regions experience mild winters with cold nights. Spring time is hot and thunderstorms are frequent during this time. In monsoon, it rains heavily and sometimes it becomes torrential. The average temperatures of the southern region of Bhutan can be clearly understood below:

Months Min ºF Max ºF Travel Rating
Jan 32 73.4 Average
Feb 53.6 77 Average
Mar 59 84.2 Best
Apr 68 89.6 Best
May 71.6 89.6 Good
Jun 75.2 87.8 Bad
Jul 77 87.8 Bad
Aug 77 87.8 Bad
Sep 75.2 87.8 Good
Oct 69.8 86 Best
Nov 59 80.6 Best
Dec 51.8 77 Average

Hilly Regions

The climate is gradually milder, with moderately cold, dry winters and warm, rainy summers in the hilly regions, up to the elevation of 1,524m (5,000ft.). In some interior valleys, summer rains are comparatively lesser with monsoon rains on the southern side. Summer months are quite hot irrespective of the altitude. The average temperatures of the hilly areas of Bhutan can be clearly understood below:

Months Min ºF Max ºF Travel Rating
Jan 41 62.6 Average
Feb 46.4 66.2 Average
Mar 51.8 71.6 Good
Apr 57.2 77 Best
May 62.6 80.6 Best
Jun 68 84.2 Average
Jul 68 82.4 Bad
Aug 68 82.4 Bad
Sep 68 80.6 Good
Oct 60.8 78.8 Best
Nov 50 73.4 Best
Dec 42.8 68 Average

High-Altitude Regions

At higher altitudes, especially above 1,981(6,500ft.), the average temperatures during the summer months range from 5-20ºC (41-68ºF). In these areas, the winters will be cold and night time will experience below-freezing weather. Winters are mostly sunny, while snowfall can be an amusing revelation. The average temperatures of the high-altitude areas in Bhutan can be clearly understood below:

Months Min ºF Max ºF Travel Rating
Jan 26.6 53.6 Average
Feb 33.8 57.2 Average
Mar 39.2 60.8 Good
Apr 44.6 68 Best
May 55.4 73.4 Best
Jun 59 75.2 Average
Jul 59 77 Bad
Aug 60.8 77 Bad
Sep 59 73.4 Good
Oct 50 71.6 Good
Nov 41 64.4 Good
Dec 30.2 59 Average

Bhutan is extensively far away from the sea, so there are direct impacts of the tropical cyclones. However, since it borders with Bangladesh, the after-effects of cyclones hitting Bangladesh can be at certain parts of Bhutan as well. These impacts may cause heavy rainfalls or sometimes snowfall in the higher altitudes.

Taking in account all the weather factors, we can deduce that Bhutan is a year-round destination. However, the activities you wish to do in Bhutan strictly defines your best time to visit Bhutan.

If you’re an adventurer, the best time to visit Bhutan would be October to December. For nature lovers, you can plan your holiday to Bhutan from March to May. If you only wish to do trekking in Bhutan, then perhaps you should plan your trip between March to May. And, if you are seeking for lesser crowds during off-seasons, June to August will be the perfect time.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Bhutanese festivals are known for their magnificence, liveliness and cheerfulness. Most of the festivals are dedicated to Guru Rinpoche and comprise mystical dances, fearless fire events, and numerous engaging performances. The major festivals in Bhutan which you should try not to miss during your visit are as follows:

  • Thimphu Tshechu: one of the biggest festivals in Bhutan
  • Paro Tshechu: the most popular spring festival in the country
  • Jambay Lhakhang Drup: traditional and mask dances are performed
  • Punakha Drubchen & Punakha Tshechu: theatrical amusement depicting a scene from the 17th century battle with the Tibetan army. Punakha Tshechu is held immediately afterwards.
  • Haa Summer Festival: celebration of traditional Bhutanese culture, sports, and religion
  • Wangdue Phodrang Tshechu: the festival is famous for local songs and ornamental speeches
  • Matsutake Festival: harvest festival that marks the celebration of mushroom harvesting
  • Nomad Festival: nomadic people from all parts of Bhutan gather in Bumthang to celebrate the annual festival
  • Black-Necked Crane Festival: celebrated at Gangtey monastery to create awareness on conserving the endangered black-necked crane
  • Mountain Echoes: a festival of mix of different art forms, including visual arts, literature, music, film, theatre, photography, and dance
  • Dochula Druk Wangyel Festival: performed by the Royal Bhutan Army instead of monks as a tribute to the king

Bhutan’s tourism sector is closely monitored by the government. It is mandatory for all foreign tourists, with an exception to nationals of India, Bangladesh and Maldives, to book their tour through a tour operator. In simple words, travelers cannot simply book their flights to Bhutan and travel around on their own. On booking a guided package tour through an agent, your visa, hotel, transportation, guide, driver, etc will be arranged. Your visa will be given to your operator on full payment of the trip package cost. In a nut shell, you cannot travel to Bhutan independently and it is obligatory that you book your holiday with a registered tour operator.

Entering Bhutan is comparatively easier than it used to be in the earlier times. You can now enter the dragon kingdom easily by air and by road, apparently depending on how you want to enter. Flights to Bhutan operate from five countries – Thailand (Bangkok), Nepal (Kathmandu), Bangladesh (Dhaka), Changi (Singapore), and India (Bagdogra, Guwahati, Kolkata, New Delhi, Mumbai, Bodh Gaya). There is one more flight service from Indonesia, but it is only seasonal and operates during the high seasons.

Entering Bhutan via road is an easy affair. Phuentsholing, Gelephu, and Samdrup Jongkhar are the mainland borders open to travelers. If you are traveling overland from Kathmandu, you will exit Nepal at Kakarvitta border and enter India and travel few hours before entering the nearest town at Phuentsholing, the southwest entry point.

It is always in your favor when you know some of the most-visited places or significant landmarks of the country you are visiting shortly. So, before entering into the dragon kingdom of Bhutan, here are some major attractions and the most considerable places that you need to know about. Cover these places along with your friends or your family on worthwhile tours in Bhutan. If not all, at least try to visit a handful of them – you will remain awestruck in the natural splendor and the architectural marvel of this tiny country nestled on the lap of the Himalayas.

  • Rinpung Dzong – Enjoy the spiritual environment and the finest architecture
  • The Folk Heritage Museum – Take a cultural tour of Bhutan under one roof
  • Dochula Pass – Overlook the Himalayas on top of a mountain pass
  • Chomolhari – Trek for a real high mountain adventure through scattered hamlets
  • Tiger’s Nest (Taktshang Palphug monastery) – Hike up to the pride of Bhutan
  • National Museum of Bhutan – Explore Bhutan’s cultural focal point
  • Motithang Takin Preserve – Observe Bhutan’s wildlife
  • Phobjikha Valley – Tour to one of Bhutan’s few glacial valleys
  • Jambay Lhakhang Temple – Visit the temple with a colorful past and an equally colorful present
  • Gangtey Monastery – Pay homage at the biggest Nyingmapa monastery in Bhutan
  • Haa Valley – Travel to the magical place beyond mountains
  • Tashichho Dzong – Wander around the office of the king of Bhutan
  • Royal Textile Academy of Bhutan – Learn the art of yarn dyeing and traditional weaving
  • Tower of Trongsa (Ta Dzong) – Look around at the country’s most fascinating museum that once used to be a watchtower.
  • Punakha Suspension Bridge – Walk over one of Bhutan’s longest suspension bridges
  • Samdrup Jongkhar – Buy bamboo and silk products in Bhutan’s oldest town
  • Drukgyel Dzong – Take a stroll to the ruins of the fortress of victory
  • Buddha Dordenma Statue – Marvel at the massive statue of Lord Buddha
  • Zuri Dzong Fort – Enjoy the scenic views of the Paro Valley
  • Tango Buddhist Institute – Lace up for spiritual awakening
  • Talo Village – Visit one of the cleanest and pictorial villages in Punakha
  • Chele La Pass – Savor the spectacular views of the Himalayan peaks
  • Hidden Valleys of Bumthang – Discover the hidden natural beauty of Bhutan
  • Simtokha Dzong – Explore the ‘Palace of the Profound Meaning of Secret Mantras’
  • Norzin Lam Street – Shop till you drop at this famous shopping destination
  • Jigme Dorji National Park – Enjoy wildlife in Bhutan’s second largest national park
  • Dagala Thousand Lakes – Traverse on the iconic and surreal trekking trails
  • Punakha Dzong – Visit the administrative center of Punakha
  • Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary – Visit the home to some of the rarest wildlife species like Red Panda and Himalayan Monal Pheasant
  • National Institute for Zorig Chusum – Observe locals preserving local art works like woodwork, painting, embroidery, sculpting, carving, paper-making, etc
  • Jungshi Handmade Paper Factory – Learn about paper-making techniques
  • Choki Traditional Art School – Spend time for souvenir shopping
  • Wangdue Phodrang – Observe the bamboo products, slate and stone carvings
  • Main Street – Spend money in the wooden shopfronts and restaurants
  • Royal Manas National Park – Explore the beautiful haven for wildlife lovers
  • Namgay Artisanal Brewery – Take a tour and learn to brew many style beers
  • Simply Bhutan – Study the diverse aspects of Bhutan
  • Jangtsa Dumtseg Lhakhang Temple – Hear about the old folk stories
  • Kyichu Lhakhang Temple – Visit the sacred Jewel of Bhutan
  • Chimi Lhakhang Temple – Listen to the age-old stories of the fertility temple

Bhutan is a country not to be compared with the likes of Thailand, Malaysia or Singapore. You will neither find any shopper’s heaven nor any theme parks here. There are plenty of monasteries, temples and old fortresses while Buddhism is deeply imprinted everywhere you look. The land is a surprise mix of traditional Buddhist culture and modern developments and has an adequate of things for travelers to feel, see and experience. Here are some of the things to do in Bhutan when you visit the magical country:

  • Experience Bhutan’s natural wonders
  • Travel across high mountain passes
  • Observe the unique architectural marvels
  • Participate in an archery competition
  • Trek in the Bhutan Himalayas
  • Hike up to the Tiger’s Nest (Taktshang Palphug Monastery)
  • Take a bike tour
  • Attend festivals
  • Go out for camping
  • Take on kayaking and rafting tours
  • Do cycling or rock climbing activities
  • Go fishing and take a hot spring therapy
  • Wildlife safari and bird watching
  • Mountain biking and horse riding
  • Dance with the monks
  • Go for antique shopping and explore the handicrafts market
  • Experience the diverse Bhutanese cuisine

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