Best Time To Visit Bhutan

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What is the best time to visit Bhutan?

The best times to visit Bhutan are March to May (Spring) and September to November (Autumn).  Spring features pleasant weather, blooming flowers, and lush landscapes. Autumn offers crisp air and stunning Himalayan views. Avoid the monsoon season (June to August) due to heavy rainfall and possible landslides. Winter (December to February) is cold but provides clear skies and fewer tourists, perfect for solitude and scenic beauty.


Peak Season (March - May)
Weather: The weather is mostly pleasant with temperatures ranging from 10°C to 28°C on an average in Thimpu & Paro. Mountainous regions like Paro, Bumthang experiences even lower temperatures 5°C to 8°C, while valleys like Haa & Phobjikha can be slightly warmer with an average of 8°C - 20°C. 
Popular Destinations: Thimpu, Paro, Punakha, Haa Valley, Bumthang, Phobjikha Valley.
Festivals: Paro Tsechu (March/April), Ura Yakchoe (May).
Note: Pre-booking essential due to the high tourist season. Ensure to hire licensed guides for treks and sightseeing tours. Acclimatize properly to avoid altitude sickness, especially when trekking.

Shoulder Season (September - November)
Weather: Low-lying areas like Thimphu, Punakha, and Paro have temperatures ranging from 10°C to 25°C, while high-altitude regions like Bumthang, Phobjikha Valley, and Haa Valley range from 5°C to 20°C, with cooler nights. The monsoon season ends in early September, resulting in minimal rainfall. Most of Bhutan experiences clear skies with occasional light showers.
Popular Destinations: Thimpu, Paro, Punakha
Festivals: Haa Summer Festival (held in July/August), Black-necked Crane Festival (held in November), Jambay Lhakhang Drup (held in November)
Note: fewer crowds and favorable weather, making it an excellent time to visit for those seeking quieter experiences. Be aware of altitude sickness, especially if traveling to higher regions like Bumthang and Phobjikha Valley. Acclimate slowly and avoid strenuous activity initially.

Off Season (December - February; June - August)
Weather:
Temperature in peak winters December to February ranges from  -6°C to 12°C on an average and in monsoon June - August hovers between 15°C to 30°C. 
Snowfall & Rainfall: Snowfall is common in higher altitudes like Bumthang from January - February, low-lying areas like Punakha experience milder conditions with occasional cold snaps. During the monsoons Bhutan experiences intense and frequent rainfall, particularly in southern and eastern regions. Western Bhutan experiences moderate to heavy rains.
Popular Destinations: While monsoons isn't an ideal time to visit Bhutan, peak winters from December to February is still a good time if frigid weather isn't a dealbreaker. Cultural explorations in Thimpu & Paro like museum visits, exploring ancient temples, and monasteries, nature walks, shopping at local craft markets and short winter treks are popular activities. 
Note: Be prepared for snow and icy roads, frequently check travel advisories. Travel cautiously in landslide-prone areas. Acclimate slowly to the cold to avoid hypothermia. This period has fewer tourists, making it ideal for budget travelers and those seeking a more intimate experience with nature.

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Bhutan in Spring (March - May)

Weather & Temperature
Considered as the peak season, March to May is Bhutan's brilliant spring season. The weather is pleasant and agreeable with temperatures hovering around 4°C to 20°C in the valleys. The mountain regions remain cold usually at 3 degrees or lower, but the sky is clear and is the best time to catch views of the stunning and mighty Himalayas.

The climate is also dry and less humid, making trekking and exploring towns on foot an adventurous endeavour. The spring heralds a beautiful bloom of flowers across the slopes and valleys, and the Jacaranda flower especially colours the surrounding with fragrant splendour. The summer may begin to be felt in late May, with a slight rise in temperature and humidity, but the rhododendrons and jacarandas are still very much in bloom.

Popular Destinations and Activities
Thimphu: Visit the Tashichho Dzong, Buddha Dordenma statue, and Folk Heritage Museum. Trekking and hiking in the nearby mountains. Enjoy the vibrant local markets and cafes.
Paro: Explore the famous Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest). Visit Paro Dzong and the National Museum of Bhutan. Participate in archery, Bhutan's national sport.
Punakha: See the Punakha Dzong, one of the most beautiful monasteries. Enjoy rafting on the Mo Chhu and Pho Chhu rivers. Trekking to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten.
Bumthang: Discover Jakar Dzong and Kurje Lhakhang. Hike through the picturesque valleys. Experience local handicrafts and textiles.
Phobjikha Valley: Visit the Gangtey Monastery. Witness the black-necked cranes if visiting early March. Enjoy nature trails and bird-watching.

Events and Festivals of Bhutan in Spring
  • The Paro Festival is the most significant festival of spring. Celebrated at Rinpung Dzong the festival usually takes place in April.
  • The Gomkora Festival in Trashigang is a three-day festival celebrated in March or April. 
  • Ura Yakchoe is held in May in Bumthang's Ura Valley. It is best known for its Ura Yakchoe dance performed during the festival.
Trekking in Bhutan in Spring
Trekking expeditions are best carried out in the peak season. The walks on the mountains or overnight stays in the petite teahouses can make your trip memorable. Some popular treks undertaken during spring include the Jomolhari Trek and the Druk path Trek sometime during mid-April to mid-May. 

Things to Know & Planning Tips
Pre-booking: Essential due to the high tourist season. Prices for accommodation and tours are generally higher.
Acclimatize properly to avoid altitude sickness, especially when trekking.
Travel requirements: Permits & Visa essentials

Bhutan in Autumn (September - November)

Weather
The low-lying areas like Thimphu, Punakha, and Paro have temperatures ranging from 10°C to 25°C, while high-altitude regions like Bumthang, Phobjikha Valley, and Haa Valley range from 5°C to 20°C, with cooler nights. The temperatures average at about 25 degrees in September and can fall to 10 degrees by the end of November in the valley areas. The mountains, however, are cold throughout and temperatures may drop to negative by the end of November. This is the time of no rain, and the mild chillness in the air makes it an excellent time for trekking and hiking.

Snowfall
Places like Bumthang and Phobjikha Valley might experience early snowfall towards the end of November.

Popular Destinations and Activities
  • Thimphu: Sightseeing at Tashichho Dzong, visiting the Buddha Dordenma statue, and exploring local markets.
  • Paro: Hiking to Tiger's Nest Monastery, exploring Paro Dzong and National Museum.
  • Punakha: Visiting Punakha Dzong, rafting on the Mo Chhu and Pho Chhu rivers.
  • Bumthang: Exploring Jakar Dzong, visiting Kurje Lhakhang, and trekking in the scenic valleys.
  • Phobjikha Valley: Watching the black-necked cranes, visiting Gangtey Monastery.
  • Haa Valley: Trekking and exploring the pristine valley landscapes.
Events and Festivals of Bhutan in Autumn
  • The Thimphu Tshechu is one of the biggest in Bhutan. Held in the Tashichho Dzong in the capital city of the country this three-day festival is the highlight of the fall season and falls from September to October.
  • Paro Tshechu (held in October), featuring mask dances and religious rituals.
  • The Wangdue Tshechu is famous for the Dance of the Ox or Raksha Mangcham which is held for 2 days in September or October.
  • Tamzhing Phala Choetpa is a three-day festival celebrated at the Tamzhing Lhakhang in Bhumtang, held in October.
  • Jomolhari Mountain Festival started in 2013 but since then is held every year. It is an effort in the direction of conservation of snow leopards and takes place for two days in October.
  • Jambay Lhakhang Tshechcu is held in November in the Jambay Lhakhang in Bhumtang.
  • Black Necked crane festival takes place in Gangtey Gompa in November to welcome the arrival of these splendid creatures.
Things to Know & Planning Tips
  • Pre-Booking: Recommended, especially for accommodations in popular areas and during festival times. Bhutan has limited tourism infrastructure, so early reservations ensure better options. It has been estimated that maximum travellers around more than 75% visit Bhutan during October; hence it's essential to plan beforehand.
  • Cost: Prices are generally moderate, not as high as the peak season but higher than the low season. Some discounts might be available.
  • Altitude: Be aware of altitude sickness, especially if traveling to higher regions like Bumthang and Phobjikha Valley. Acclimate slowly and avoid strenuous activity initially.
  • Travel Insurance: Ensure you have comprehensive travel insurance covering medical evacuation, as healthcare facilities in remote areas are limited.
  • The monsoon season ends in early September, resulting in minimal rainfall. Most of Bhutan experiences clear skies with occasional light showers.

Bhutan in Monsoon (June to August)

Weather and Temperature
The southwest monsoon season begins from June and continues up to August and sometimes early September.
Western Bhutan (Thimphu, Paro): Temperatures range from 15°C to 25°C.
Central Bhutan (Bumthang, Trongsa): Slightly cooler, with temperatures between 12°C to 22°C.
Southern Bhutan (Phuentsholing, Samdrup Jongkhar): Warmer and more humid, temperatures ranging from 20°C to 30°C.

Rainfall
Intensity: Bhutan experiences heavy rainfall during the monsoon, particularly in the southern and central regions.
Precipitation: Average rainfall ranges from 500 mm to 1,500 mm.
Prone Areas: Southern Bhutan receives the most rainfall and is prone to landslides and roadblocks.

Popular Destinations and Activities
  • Thimphu: Explore the National Memorial Chorten, visit the Folk Heritage Museum, and take a walk around the Clock Tower Square.
  • Paro: Visit the iconic Paro Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest Monastery), explore Paro Dzong, and stroll through the local markets.
  • Bumthang: Visit Jakar Dzong, explore the Tamshing Lhakhang, and trek in the scenic valleys.
  • Phuentsholing: Visit the Zangto Pelri Lhakhang and enjoy the lush green surroundings.
Events and Festivals in Bhutan in Rainy Season
  • The Kurjey Tshechu takes place in the Kurjey Lhakhang in the Bumthang's Chokhor valley.
  • Thimphu Drubchen takes place in August. A vibrant festival featuring traditional mask dances and cultural performances.
  • The Nimalung Tshechu is celebrated in Nimalung Monastery located in Bhumthang which falls in June or July.
  • The Haa festival is another vibrant summer festival that celebrates the traditions and nomadic lifestyle of the Bhutanese people.
Planning Tips and Precautions
  • Accommodation: Accommodations are generally available, but it's advisable to book in advance due to limited options in remote areas. Generally cheaper during the monsoon due to lower tourist influx.
  • Pre-booking activities: Not always necessary, but recommended for guided tours and popular activities.
  • Precautions: Be prepared for possible travel delays due to landslides and roadblocks. Waterproof clothing and sturdy shoes are essential.
  • Things to Carry: Carry insect repellent to ward off mosquitoes. Drink bottled or boiled water to avoid waterborne diseases. Include rain gear, warm clothing for higher altitudes, and lightweight clothing for the humid south.
  • Road Conditions: Can be precarious due to heavy rains; always check road conditions before travel.

Bhutan in Winter (December to February)

Weather and Temperature Range
December, January and February are the coldest months of Bhutan. However, early December is when the winters are just setting in and may not be a wrong time to visit since the country is less crowded by tourists. The temperatures usually touch the lowest at the end of January and early February.

Highland Regions: Places like Paro, Thimphu, Bumthang, and Haa experience cold temperatures. The average temperature ranges from -1°C to 12°C. These areas often experience snowfall, especially in January and February.
Lower Regions: In areas like Punakha and Phuentsholing, the winter temperatures are milder, ranging from 5°C to 18°C. These regions do not experience snowfall but have cool and pleasant weather.

Snowfall
Snowfall Intensity: Snowfall is common in the highlands, particularly in Thimphu, Paro, and Bumthang. The intensity can vary, with higher altitudes receiving more snow. The snowfall adds a magical touch to the already beautiful landscapes, making it a perfect time for photography and experiencing a winter wonderland.

Popular Destinations and Activities
  • Thimphu: Visit Tashichho Dzong, Buddha Dordenma, and the Folk Heritage Museum. Engage in cultural activities like traditional Bhutanese archery. Snow Activities: Enjoy the snow-covered landscapes and winter walks.
  • Paro: Explore Paro Taktsang (Tiger's Nest), Rinpung Dzong, and the National Museum of Bhutan. Snow Activities: Trekking and hiking in snow-covered trails.
  • Bumthang: Visit Jakar Dzong, Kurje Lhakhang, and Jambay Lhakhang. Snow Activities: Experience the winter charm with scenic hikes and exploring ancient monasteries.
  • Punakha: Visit Punakha Dzong, Chimi Lhakhang, and enjoy rafting in the Mo Chhu and Pho Chhu rivers.
  • Haa Valley: Explore the Haa Dzong and Lhakhang Karpo. The valley is less touristy and offers an authentic Bhutanese experience with beautiful winter landscapes. Snow Activities: Winter treks and enjoying the serene snow-covered valley.
  • Phobjikha Valley: Visit Gangtey Monastery and explore the winter habitat of the black-necked cranes. The valley is known for its stunning scenery and tranquility. Snow Activities: Winter hikes and bird watching.
  • Lhuentse: Discover the remote Lhuentse Dzong and Khoma village known for intricate weaving. The region offers a glimpse into the traditional Bhutanese lifestyle.
  • Mongar: Visit Mongar Dzong and Drametse Monastery. The town is a gateway to eastern Bhutan with less severe winter temperatures.
Events and Festivals in Bhutan in Winter
  • The Punakha Dromche and Tshechu is a more than a week-long celebration that takes place in Punakha in February. The weather in Punakha is not too harsh making it a great escape from the chilly winters of other places in the country. The festival incorporates re-acting the war against the Tibetans in the 17th century.
  • The Trongsa Tshechu is a three-day festival, celebrated in Trongsa Dzong. The Trongsa Dzong is built on a ridge and has more than 30 temples. The Trongsa Tshechu is one of the oldest tshechus in Bhutan. A tshechu is celebrated on the 10th day of the Bhutanese month, and it is believed that this tradition began with the Trongsa Tshechu.
  • The Nomad Festival in Bhumthang falls in February. The festival is where herders from the Himalayas come together to celebrate their unique traditions and cultures.
  • Jambay Lhakhang Drup: Takes place in Bumthang in November (sometimes extends to early December), known for its fire purification ceremony and mask dances.
Things to Know and Planning Tips
  • Accommodation: Winter is off-peak season, so accommodations are generally cheaper and more available. However, pre-booking is recommended, especially in popular areas like Thimphu and Paro.
  • Activities: Ensure to check weather conditions for trekking routes.
  • Cost: Travel during winter is usually less expensive than the peak tourist seasons. You can find good deals on hotels and tour packages.
  • Clothing: Carry adequate warm clothing, especially for high-altitude areas. Layering is advisable to adapt to varying temperatures. Sturdy, waterproof boots are recommended for snow-covered regions.
  • Travel Safety: Be cautious while traveling on snow-covered roads. Hiring a local guide or driver can be beneficial.

Bhutan Weather in January

In January, Bhutan experiences cold winter weather, especially in higher altitude regions such as Thimphu and Paro, where temperatures can range from -5°C to 10°C. The lower regions, like Phuentsholing, are milder, with temperatures ranging from 5°C to 15°C. Snowfall is common in the higher elevations, adding a picturesque quality to the landscape. Despite the chill, it is a dry month with clear skies, making it ideal for sightseeing and experiencing Bhutan's winter charm. Visitors should pack warm clothing to stay comfortable.

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Bhutan Weather in February

In February, Bhutan experiences cold and dry weather, particularly in the higher altitudes where temperatures can drop below freezing, ranging from -5°C to 10°C. The lower regions, such as those in southern Bhutan, have milder temperatures ranging from 5°C to 15°C. Snowfall is common in the northern and central parts of the country, making it a picturesque time to visit, especially for those interested in experiencing Bhutan’s winter beauty. The days are generally clear and sunny, providing excellent visibility for sightseeing and outdoor activities.

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Bhutan Weather in March

In March, Bhutan experiences the onset of spring, with temperatures ranging from 5°C to 20°C depending on the region. The weather is generally mild and pleasant, with clear skies and blooming rhododendrons adding vibrant colors to the landscape. High-altitude areas like Thimphu and Paro remain cool, while lower regions such as Punakha are slightly warmer. This period is ideal for trekking, sightseeing, and enjoying outdoor activities.

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Bhutan Weather in April & May

In April and May, Bhutan experiences pleasant weather characterized by mild temperatures and clear skies, making it an ideal time to visit. Temperatures typically range from 15°C to 25°C in most regions, creating comfortable conditions for outdoor activities and sightseeing. This period also marks the onset of spring, with blooming flowers and rejuvenated landscapes adding to the scenic beauty of the country. Travelers can explore Bhutan's cultural landmarks, trekking trails, and vibrant festivals while enjoying the favorable weather conditions during these months.

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Bhutan Weather in June

In June, Bhutan experiences the onset of the monsoon season, bringing heavy rainfall and lush greenery to the landscape. While the weather can be unpredictable and road conditions may become precarious due to landslides, it's also a time when the country's natural beauty is at its peak. Travelers can explore iconic destinations such as Thimphu and Paro, albeit with precautions, and immerse themselves in the rich cultural experiences that Bhutan has to offer amidst the verdant surroundings.

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Bhutan Weather in July

In July, Bhutan experiences its peak monsoon season, characterized by heavy rainfall and high humidity, especially in the southern regions. Temperatures range from 15°C to 25°C in the western areas like Thimphu and Paro, and from 20°C to 30°C in the southern lowlands. The central regions, such as Bumthang, are cooler with temperatures between 12°C and 22°C. The heavy rains can lead to landslides and roadblocks, making travel challenging. Despite this, the lush green landscapes and fewer tourists offer a serene and unique experience.

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Bhutan Weather in August

In August, Bhutan experiences varied weather conditions across its regions. While the western parts, including Thimphu and Paro, have moderate temperatures ranging from 15°C to 25°C, the southern regions like Phuentsholing can be warmer and more humid, with temperatures reaching 20°C to 30°C. Heavy rainfall is common throughout the country during this month, particularly in the southern and central areas, which can lead to landslides and roadblocks. Despite the weather challenges, August offers unique cultural experiences, including festivals like Thimphu Drubchen, making it an intriguing time to visit Bhutan for those seeking a rich cultural immersion amidst lush greenery.

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Bhutan Weather in September

In September, Bhutan experiences the transition from the monsoon season to autumn. The weather gradually becomes cooler and drier as the month progresses, making it an ideal time to visit for those who prefer milder temperatures and clearer skies. While there may still be occasional rainfall, particularly in the southern regions, overall, the weather becomes more stable, allowing for enjoyable outdoor activities and sightseeing across the country. September offers a pleasant balance between the lush greenery of the monsoon season and the crisp, clear days of autumn, making it a popular time to explore Bhutan's stunning landscapes and cultural treasures.

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Bhutan Weather in October

In October, Bhutan experiences cooler temperatures and clear skies, making it an ideal time to visit. Daytime temperatures range from 15°C to 25°C, providing comfortable conditions for outdoor activities and sightseeing. The weather is generally dry, with minimal rainfall and lower humidity levels compared to the monsoon season. Travelers can expect pleasant conditions across the country, from the lush valleys to the high-altitude regions, offering breathtaking views of Bhutan's stunning landscapes.

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Bhutan Weather in December

In December, Bhutan experiences cold temperatures across the country, particularly in higher-altitude regions. Daytime temperatures range from around 5°C to 15°C, while nights can be much colder, often dropping below freezing. Snowfall is common in mountainous areas, adding to the picturesque winter scenery. Travelers should be prepared for chilly weather and possible road closures in remote areas, but can also enjoy the festive atmosphere and cultural events that characterize Bhutan during this time of year.

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Events in Bhutan

Nomad Festival

23rd February 2020

A day-long festival, the Bhutan Nomad Festival is usually held each year during the last week of February. Located in the Bumthang Dzongkhag province of Central Bhutan, Nagasphel, is the main venue of (Read More) the festival.

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Paro Tsechu

Fri, 3 April 2020 – Tue, 7 April 2020

For Bhutanese people, it is not just a festival. Paro Tsechu is their faith and belief, which they celebrate in the form of Tshechu. Each day has its very own importance and the last day witnesses the (Read More) most crowd.

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