An Ultimate Guide to Bhutan in April and May

With unique cultures, religions, mouth-watering cuisines and different terrains, Bhutan is undoubtedly a very popular tourist destination. With clear skies and beautiful blossoms, Bhutan in April and May is an ideal vacation destination. If you're planning to travel to Bhutan in April and May, you should plan your itinerary carefully because tourists flock during these months. We are here to do just that.

Here's your ultimate guide to a memorable trip to Bhutan.  
                                      
The months of April and May are the best times to visit Bhutan.

Bhutan Weather in April

The weather in Bhutan in April is the pleasantest, with clear skies and beautiful spring blossoms. The temperature in Bhutan in April hovers around 25 degree Celsius. 

Bhutan Weather in May

May marks the beginning of monsoon season in Bhutan. There is a mild change in the weather in Bhutan in May with a slight increase in humidity but the heavier rainfall is received mostly during the month of June. Temperatures in Bhutan in May vary depending on the region like the temperature in Thimphu in May tends to be much around 23 degrees which is much colder compared to around 29 degrees in Punakha

Things to Do in Bhutan in April and May

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1. Trekking

The pleasant climatic conditions during April and May makes it an ideal time for trekking in Bhutan. The Jomolhari trek is one of the best trekking experiences one can have in Bhutan. Along this route, you get to witness beautiful emerald landscapes, breath-taking views and a wide variety of flora and fauna. You can also witness the spectacular views of Mt. Jomolhari from the base camp.

2. River Rafting

Unlike the regular idea of river rafting where one goes against the strong currents, river rafting in Bhutan is much calmer and fun. You can gently float down the river while soaking in the mesmerising beauty by the river. Springtime is a good time for river rafting in Bhutan. 

3. Hike Around Haa Valley

Haa village is a truly mesmerising place as its beauty is still left untouched. The flora and fauna around will surely take your breath away. The best way to explore is hiking in Haa during the months of April and May.

4. Explore Authentic Handicrafts Market

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Bhutan is famous for its craftsmanship in certain handicraft products. Thimphu has a huge handicraft market during springtime and one can certainly visit this market to get their hands-on handicraft products as gifts and souvenirs to take back home. Their most famous items include prayer beads, bowls, badges, amulets, and printing blocks. 

5. Attend Numerous Bhutanese Festivals 

There are quite a few festivals in Bhutan in April and May. These festivals give you an insight to the Bhutanese cultures and their ways of life. You should at least attend one festival to witness their vibrant cultures

Festivals in Bhutan in April

festivals of bhutan
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Rhododendron Festival

During springtime in Bhutan, Rhododendron flowers bloom abundantly and Bhutan celebrates these flowers. This celebration features a garden fully adorned with these colourful flowers, local cultural programmes like masked dances and folk music, traditional games, authentic art and crafts displays, guided walks and a lot more. Rhododendron Festival also displays different species that are in their full bloom during this festival, in their natural habitat.
When: 19th April - 21st April, 2020
Where: Punakha, Bhutan

Paro Tshechu

Paro Tshechu is one of the biggest festivals in Bhutan in April. It is a religious cultural festival, held in Bhutan since the 17th century. During this festival, localities dress in their finest. There are performances by locals on folk music and their traditional dance forms. On the last day of the festival there is a display of a huge ‘thangkha’ or embroidered painting.
When: 4th April - 8th April, 2020
Where: Rinpung Dzong, Paro, Bhutan

Chorten Kore Festival

This one-day festival is one of Bhutan’s oldest festivals. ‘Dakpa Kora’ is organised during this festival, where pilgrims from all across come around for circumambulation around the Chorten Kora, which is supposed to be a symbol of peace and harmony.
When: 8th April - 22nd April, 2020
Where: Chorten Kora, Trashiyangtse, Bhutan

Gomphu Kore Festival

Gompa literally means ‘’Meditation Cave’’ and Kora means ‘Circumambulation’. So, the Gomphu Kora Festival, which takes place in Eastern Bhutan, is a spiritual event for localities which involves local dance and music alongside the ritual of going around the Gomphu Kora. People come here, dressed in their finest and enjoy the three-day festival with great pride.
When: 1st April - 3rd April, 2020
Where: Gomphu Kora, Bhutan

Festivals in Bhutan in May

Domkhar Tsechu 

This three-day festival is celebrated with the great festive mood at the Domkhar Monastery in Bhutan. Domkhar Tshechu marks the birth anniversary of Padmasambhava, also known as the second Buddha. Tourists can enjoy
When: 3rd - 5th May, 2020
Where: Domkhar, Chummi, Bumthang, Bhutan

Ura Yakchoe

Ura Yakchoe is a dance festival held in the Ura Valley of Bumthang in Bhutan. During this festival, the natives of the Ura Valley perform sacred dances. Other than this, there are other popular folk dances like the Bhutanese mask dance. A holy relic is also put on display for everyone to seek blessings.
When: 4th - 8th May
Where: Ura Lhakhang, Bumthang, Bhutan

6. Visit the Valleys of Bhutan

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Each and every part of Bhutan are blessed abundantly with natural beauty but few of the valleys in Bhutan are a must-visit.

Places you Should Definitely Visit in Bhutan

1. Paro

Paro is Bhutan’s most popular destinations and tourists flock here in large numbers. With lush greenery, mesmerising natural beauty and magnificent historical buildings, Paro is a must-visit.

2. Thimphu

Being the capital city of Bhutan, Thimphu is the second most populated city in Bhutan. It is nestled among the higher ranges of the mighty Himalayas, Thimphu offers amazing views. Dechencholing Palace, Buddha Dordenma, Clock tower square and Memorial Chorten are a few must-visit sights in Thimphu.

3. Punakha

Punakha is mostly popular among thrill seekers as a popular adventure destination. There are two rivers when one can try river rafting- Mo and Pho. Punakha is also known for its famous religious festival, the Punakha Tshechu.

4. Bumthang

Bumthang is a land of great significance as it houses the oldest Buddhist Monasteries and temples. It is also famous for cheese, honey, apricots and apples.

5. Wangdue Phodrang

This calm town lies in Central Bhutan and shares its boundaries with Punakha. Wangdue Phodrang is famous for bamboo items and stone carvings. Wangdue Phodrang Dzong attracts tourists from all over Bhutan.


Tips While Travelling to Bhutan in April and May

1. If you are thinking of travelling to Bhutan in April and May, then make sure you book flight tickets and accommodation at least three months in advance. Bhutan in May is especially crowded with tourists because of the summer vacations and hence ticket prices, as well as accommodation rates, are too high. There are only three airlines operating to and from Bhutan- Druk Airlines, Bhutan Airlines and Buddha Airlines (Chartered).
2. Bhutan is a religious country, so make sure you dress appropriately especially while visiting temples and monasteries.
3. As for packing, the kinds of clothes you need depends on which part of Bhutan you are travelling to. While the Southern part of Bhutan is warm, the northern part gets really cold. So, make sure you carry warm woollens as well.
4. If you are travelling during the months of April and May, you will be needing sunglasses and hats as the sun can get a little too much during the afternoon. Sunscreens are also very important to protect yourself. If the colder days do carry lip balms to protect your lips.
5. If trekking is on your list, then do carry proper shoes and layers of clothing. Proper shoes are essential since all roads in Bhutan are not paved so the ground can sometimes be rough.
6. Tobacco products are strictly banned in Bhutan and there are heavy penalties for smoking in public areas. 
7. Always ask for permission before clicking pictures, especially of children.
8. There are ATMs in Bhutan, but only in major towns. Most of the ATMs don’t even work. So, it is best to carry cash or else withdraw from major towns like Paro and Thimphu.
9. Avoid drinking water from the tap as they are not filtered. Bottled water is easily available and affordable in Bhutan.
10. Don’t try to get inked in Bhutan. They are very popular among the youth in Bhutan but tattoo parlours are actually illegal in Bhutan.
April and May undoubtedly make Bhutan a very beautiful destination to spend your summer holidays with your loved ones. The rhododendrons that bloom during these months are ideal for photographers and nature lovers. Be it the Bhutanese culture or their natural beauty, there is something that attracts everyone to the land of the thunder dragon.

This post was published by Asmita Sarkar

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