Bhutan in October - Things To Know Before Going to Bhutan

With clear visibility of the mountain ranges, comfortable sunny weather, sprawling paddy fields under the clear blue sky and a plethora of festivals, the autumn or fall season in Bhutan is undoubtedly one of the best time to enjoy the perfect Bhutanese essence. Trekking season lasts only up to November end and in order to avoid bone-chilling cold and heavy snowfall, most people get their permits months prior.

The mildly warm temperature complimented by drier weather makes this verdant Himalayan region gradually take a veil of golden and silvery-white colour with swaying paddy field and thin layers of snow respectively.

Weather in Bhutan in October

Bhutan in October
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The temperature falls to 10-12 degree Celsius in mountainous regions like Bumthang and rises up to 19-22 degree Celsius in Punakha. Those visiting Phojikha valley can expect an average temperature of around 15 C with rainfall as minimal as 51mm. 
The capital city gets on average 70mm precipitation while the average temperature remains around 18 C. Temperature rises to 26 C maximum and goes down to 150 C minimum. Mild drizzles occur occasionally and the weather remains dry. At night the temperature often slides down to as low as 7 C.      
At an elevation of 1200 meters, Punakha has 19-23 C temperature on average and 102 mm average rainfall, resulting in light breeze, heavily overcast sky and warm weather. The maximum temperature rises as high as 25 C and the minimum temperature remains around 15 C.  
  • Paro Weather in October
One of the coldest regions during October with an average temperature around 14 C, Paro gets a maximum number of trekkers, thanks to its low precipitation level. Average precipitation is 71mm with the maximum being 85mm and minimum being 57mm. At night, temperature descends to 8 C often.  
With the maximum temperature being around 18 C in daytime and minimum temperature being around 5-6 C at night, Bumthang becomes a trekker's paradise in October. While the average temperature remains around 12 C, average rainfall fluctuates between 46-62mm being very irregular. 
Another cold region of Bhutan in October is Jakar where the average temperature remains around 13 C with the maximum being 18C  during daytime and minimum being 6 C during the night.  Average rainfall remains insignificant at 57-60mm. 

Festivals To Attend In October 

Starting from September end with the Thimphu Festival, throughout October, there are numerous festivals all around the country and attending these festivals can be a perfect opportunity to learn about the socio-cultural and religious fervours of Bhutan. 
  • Thimphu Tshechu

Thimphu Tsechu
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Spanning three days between September and October, Thimphu Tshechu is undoubtedly the grandest festival when the local people contemplate on the real meaning of life while cleansing themselves of any bad karma. Through mask dances like Dance of the Terrifying Deitiesand Dance of the Black Hats, they pay tribute to Rinpoche. Apsaras, drama, comedy skits and jests are also organized to mystify the evil spirits. Another mask dance festival is Thimphu Drubchen where the protector deity Palden Lhamo is appeased. 
  • Wangdue Tsechu

Wangdue Tsechu
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Wangdue Tshechu is another festival held at around the same time of Thimphu Tshechu and planning to visit during the first week of October will be a great option to enjoy both Thimphu and Wangdue Tshechu. This annual festival also pays tribute to Padmasambhava or Guru Rinpoche and celebrates Buddhism. 
  • Gangtey Tsechu

Gangtey Tsechu
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In Phobjikha Valley, Gangtey Tsechu is held for three days at the Gangtey Monastery where mask dances and folk performances are organized, followed by a spiritual blessing ritual named as Nguedrup Luangwa. Another important festival in this valley is the Black-necked Crane Festival where the locals and conservationists from around the world gather to witness the winter migration of the birds while spreading awareness about conservation. 
  • Jomolhari Mountain Festival

Jomolhari Mountain Festival
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As an initiative to conserve snow leopards, the Jomolhari Mountain Festival is held for 2 days at Mt Jomolhari base which can be witnessed during any trek to the mountain.      
  • Jambay Lhakhang Drup Tsechu

Jambay Lhakhang Drup Tsechu
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Jakar has a rich history of bonfire dance of twenty naked and masked dancers at the Jambay Lhakhang Drup. The Jambay Lhakhang Drup Tsechu and Prakjar Tshechu in Trongsa are famous for their masked dances featuring animals and demons as well as the apsaras who depict mental purification.
  •  Pema Lingpa

A tribute to the famous historical and highest honorary figure in Buddhism, Pema Lingpa, the Tamshing Phala Chhoepa is held during early October in Bumthang. Among the folk performances and traditional mask dances to bring good fortune over evil, the Dance of the Four Stags and Dance of the Three Kinds of Ging are notable. 
  • Thangbi Mani Festival

Thangbi Mani Festival
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In the Chhoekhor Gewog of Bumthang Dzongkhag, Thangbi Mani festival held against a full moon backdrop is famous for its Mewang fire blessing ritual where devotees leap over the flames for a purification process. Apart from masked dances, you can witness the bumper harvest, dough ball throwing ritual and buckwheat noodle offering to the guests. 
  • Royal Highlander Festival 

Royal Highlander Festival
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Quite new to the mountains, the Royal Highlander Festival takes place in 4th week of October in the remote hamlet of Laya. From Gasa, you can reach Laya by completing the one-day trek and enjoy the yak competitions, horse races and wrestling.     

Places To Visit In Bhutan In October 

The ‘fortress’ of Bhutan, Thimphu has a number of places like Motithang Takin Preserve and Tashichho Dzong, but nothing beats the vibrant artworks on the 169 feet Buddha Doredenma statue against the clear backdrop of blue sky and lush foliage. Here are the other places to visit during October –
  • Rinpung Dzong, Paro - Not only for the clear sky and sunny weather experienced while climbing a steep hill but also for the Paro Tsechu festival, October is the best time to visit this monastery.  
  • Chele La, Paro - At an altitude of 4000m, Chele La remains at its perfect grandeur in October with clear mountain views along the labyrinthine mountain roads. Take a car or a bike and make the best out of the 36km journey on a mountain pass.  
  • Amo Chuu Crocodile Breeding Center, Phuentsholing - If you are up for some close-up encounter with the crocodiles in your laid-back tour to Phuentsholing in October, the breeding centre can be the best option. Know about the habitat, distinguishable features and behaviour of different crocodiles while watching them basking under the sun.   
  • Gangtey Monastery, Phobjikha Valley - Quite synonymous with the elusive Black-necked Cranes, Gangtey enjoys an extraordinary arrival of the said birds who circle the monastery and surrounding lush valley thrice during October. Muntjacs, Himalayan Serow, Himalayan Black Bear and various avifaunal can be seen during this month. Gangtey also has the annual mask dance festival in October.  
  • Wangduephodrang Dzong - Visit the dzong in October to take part in the Wangdue festival while enjoying the autumnal vista of the mountains filled with bamboo groves.  
  • Lhuentse and Mongar  -At 1460m altitude, a journey to the desolate Lhuntse village with its rural beauty is as pleasant in October as traversing the 3800m tall Thrumshingla to reach Mongar through the Himalayan roads.   

Trekking Options In October 

With the departure of monsoon clouds and mist, the Gangkhar Puensum peak becomes visible and the mountain terrains become easily traversable in weather that is neither too cold nor too warm. 
  • Jomolhari Trek

Jomolhari Trek
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Jomolhari Trek during the Jomolhari Mountain Festival or after the conclusion of the festival can be a golden opportunity to watch the elusive snow leopards and blue sheep in wild. You can spend some time with the SoeYaksha and SoeYutoed groups while knowing about yak rearing. 
  • Druk Path Trek

The 6-day long Druk Path Trek is a medium-level hike that connects Thimphu and Paro with a mountain range. From Ta Dzong (2470m), you pass placid lakes, towering ridges, pine groves, small villages and lhakhangs to reach Phadjoding Monastery. Overlooking the Gangkar Puensum, the route has an abundance of fir, dwarf rhododendron and blue pine trees. Try out trout fishing at Jimiling Lake. 
  • Snowman Trek

Snowman Trek
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If you are visiting with the sole purpose of an extensive trek during October, the challenging 31-day Snowman Trek through eleven passes between Bhutan and Tibet will serve your adventure junkie soul. From the Shama Zampa, it follows the trekking route of Jomolhari and Laya-Gasa and ascends to Bumthang and Gangkhar Puensum with camping facilities at 5000m altitude. 
  • Phobjikha Valley Trek

Promoted by various NGOs and the Government of Bhutan, Phobjikha Valley Trek is a 3-day journey that emphasizes on eco-tourism and religious tourism. Starting with Gangteng Gompa, the Gangtey treks take you through villages namely Kumbu, Gedachen, Khebayathang and Kilhorthang before concluding at Kilkhortang Lhakhang. There is also the 90-minute Gangtey Nature Trail that connects Mani stone wall and Khewa Lhakhang.  
  • Thousand Lakes Trek

Thousand Lakes Trek
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The medium challenging Dagala Thousand Lakes Trek for 6 days starts from Geynizampa village before passing verdant Himalayan flora including the rhododendrons, pristine lakes and mountain villages. The main attraction lies in the clear view of Mt. Everest, Jichu Drake, Jomolhari, Gangche Ta and Masang Gang under the clear October sky. 
  • Bumthang Owl Trek

The 3-day long Bumthang Owl Trek is an easy hike through Cheokhor valley which is rich in buckwheat, paddy and potato plantation, various shrines dedicated to Rinpoche and of course, a number of different owl species that greet you at the campsites. From Menchugang village to Tharpaling Goemba, this trek is filled with animal sightings.        

FAQs 

  • What to pack for a trip to Bhutan in October?
Hat, sunglasses, fleece jackets, warm sweaters, balaclava or muffler, gloves, warm clothes, walking boots and an umbrella or raincoat for an emergency. Get sturdy hiking/trekking books if you are planning for a trek.   
  • How many days should I keep for Bhutan trip?
While it depends on your itinerary, around 5-6 days will be perfect to explore 2-3 towns or attend one or two festivals. For longer treks, keep at least a week in hand.  
  • When in October should I visit Bhutan?
If you are trekking, anytime in October is perfect for you. To attend particular festivals it is better to check the calendar. For instance, for the crane festival, you should visit in October end while for Tshechus of Gangtey, Paro or Wandue, visit early in October. 
  • Is there any dress code to visit Bhutan?
Although there is no dress code, you would have to keep the long-sleeved top and full-length pants or skirts to keep warm while visiting Bhutan in October. While visiting religious sites, it is important to wear a covered dress to show respect. 
  • Should I book tickets and hotels in advance? If yes, then how early?
Yes, as Bhutan has around 80% tourist influx during October, it is difficult to get hotels or air tickets during peak season. Book the air tickets and hotels around 4 to 5 months early to avoid any hassle.
Pleasantly cool mornings and evenings with little snowfall on higher altitudes make October a perfect time to enjoy the fall colours. The land of thunder dragons and last kingdom of the Great Himalayas, Bhutan enjoys a significant tourist influx from India, Tibet and other countries in October as during this time the monsoon clouds clear up and the snow season is yet to arrive.

This post was published by Holidify.com

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