Bhutan, the land of the Thunder Dragon is a dream destination for many travelers. Finding out the best time to visit this amazing country is not easy as Bhutan offers something magical at any time that you choose to travel.
For most purposes, Spring and Autumn are the best time to travel to Bhutan. However, each season is unique on its own making Bhutan a perfect year-round destination.
Bhutan tour makes sure you have an amazing time in its beautiful nature, diverse landscape and climate. This is true any time of the year from the festivals to clear skies, amazing view of the Himalayas to its flourishing biodiversity.
Also,you can visit Bhutan at various time of the year for different purposes. You can visit Bhutan to know more about Buddhism and for pilgrimage you can explore many places in Bhutan to enjoy on the lap of the Himalayas.
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Hence, the best time to visit Bhutan actually depends on what you are looking for.
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Best Time to Travel to Different Regions of Bhutan
Bhutan is a country with over 71% area covered in forests which are reserved areas where there is no civilization. Also, the Upper and the Northern Regions of Bhutan has Himalayas with snow, glaciers, and valleys of inhabitable hills.
The Southwestern region of Bhutan includes Paro, Thimphu, Haa valley and Punakha. If you wish to witness these places in all colors with the blooming of fruits and flowers, make sure you visit these places between March and May esp to Paro and Haa valley.
During October, Bhutan celebrates its main festival. Hence, the capital of Bhutan i.e Thimphu is a great place to be. Moreover, during October which is just after the monsoon, you can see greenery everywhere in these regions.
The central-eastern region consists of Trongsa, Wangdue, Gangtey, and Bumthang. In the late November, Gangtey celebrates its Tsechu festival.
And this is also the time when the black-necked cranes migrate to this valley. These rare birds migrate from the upper regions of Tibetan plateau to the Gangtey valley to spend the winter every year.
So, visit eastern regions during this time if you want to witness any of these. Winter in these regions is cold due to their slightly higher altitude and proximity to the snow-capped Himalayas.
However, it is also what makes it a great time to see the snow and the amazing views of the peaks in Trongsa.
Visit Bumthang during October or November as the weather is perfect and the fields are the greenest.
Best Season to Travel to Bhutan
In Bhutan, you can find distinct seasons of Summer, Winter, Spring, and Autumn. Now let us discuss each season individually with its own perks
Summer in Bhutan starts in the month of June and extends up to August. This is the best season to visit Bhutan if you want to get a closer and clear look of the Himalayas. And at the same time witness the lush green paddy fields and landscapes.
These months also experience monsoon showers. However, monsoon in Bhutan is different, unlike the tropical monsoons. Monsoon in Bhutan experiences mild afternoon showers that happen once every two or three days. And the country remains comparatively dry.
Hence, you can enjoy your day time tour to the beautiful dzongs, monasteries, and places in peace. However, trekking during these months is not the best time because the trails get muddy and slippery.
The temperature in Bhutan around this season goes back and forth between 24 to 25 degree Celsius approx.
Traveling to Bhutan in June, you will be able to avoid the rain, yet also enjoy the lower tariff and warm weather. This month is the beginning of the summer season which is why it sees very less to no rainfall.
July and August
The weather during this time is often clear with mild humidity in the air. Also, there are mild showers every two or three days that happens mostly during the late afternoon or night.
If you are someone who enjoys a little bit of rain, traveling during these months can be perfect.
These months witnesses fewer tourists making it a perfect time for a peaceful holiday. During this time the places around country are more relaxed. And you will get to speak to the locals and get to know more about the culture and tradition of their communities.
Festivals in Summer
Some of the festivals you can witness during the summer season are as follows:
- Kurjey Tshechu: This is one of the main festivals during this season. This festival falls in July at Kurjey Lhakhang in Bumthang Chokkor valley. The locals believe that Guru Rinpoche who introduced Buddhism to Bhutan left an imprint of his body on a rock inside the temple.
- Haa Summer festival: This festival takes place in the high altitude alpine forests, meadows and lakes. It is the celebration of the Bhutanese way of life, local cuisines and delicacies and culture.
- Matsutake Mushroom festival: This takes place during the last week of August in Ura, Bumthang.
Tips to Travel During Summer
- Carry light clothes to heavy winter garments. If you are visiting the southern regions, it can get really cold.
- Also, prepare for the monsoon with the necessary windcheater or raincoat or umbrella.
The winter season in Bhutan begins in December and lasts till February. These months are the coldest months of Bhutan. The temperature in Bhutan can vary from a region to another but remains in the range approximately 10 degrees to -5 degree Celsius.
Those who enjoy winter and don’t mind the chill, this season is a good time as the skies are clear and you will get snowy mountain views.
December is the starting month of the winter season. The first few days are not as cold. Hence you can enjoy clear, bright blue skies and majestic views of the hillside. These months also experience fewer crowds.
January and February
In the later weeks of January and early February, you can experience mild snowfalls in cities like Thimphu and Paro. Bhutan usually declares snow days as national holidays.
You also get to enjoy snow games with the locals during this time and watch a snow fight from a safe distance.
Towards the northern regions, where high altitude mountain peaks exist, the temperature goes down to sub-zero.
In the eastern and central regions of Bhutan, the climate can get adverse due to heavy snowfall. This can disrupt roads and everyday transportation. Such conditions usually make the routes unfavorable for the commute.
Festivals in Winter
Some of the festivals you can witness during the winter season are
- Trongsa Tshechu: This Tshechu takes place in Trongsa Dzong. During this season, very few travelers visit Bhutan due to the cold. This allows you to have a closer look into the traditions and culture of Bhutan through the festival. The festival takes place during December and January consisting of dance performances with some of the most elaborate costumes and masks.
- Nomad festival: This festival takes place in Bumthang during the last week of February. During this festival, the local herders of the northeast and northwest frontiers come together. And have an unforgettable celebration of their culture and tradition.
Tip to Travel During Winter
- Carry heavy winter garments to survive the sub-zero temperatures. Pack a high SPF creams, sunglasses, thermals, woolen socks and gloves to tackle the frost.
- Carry medication to fight common cold, cough, and fever
- Keep extra days in case of roadblocks due to extreme climate.
Spring in Bhutan starts in March and extends up to May. During this time the local flora and fauna are at their best in Bhutan. Hence for nature lovers, Spring is the all-time favorite season to travel to Bhutan.
The weather is dry and less humid with perfect conditions to explore Bhutan on foot and indulge in some trekking activities. This also makes Bhutan a popular and peak season.
March and April
These months are the best time to travel to Bhutan where you can enjoy the beautiful hillsides in colorful blossoms of the local flowers.
During this time one can enjoy the full blooms of Jacaranda and more than 100 species of rhododendrons.
These months see temperatures between 13 to 22-degree Celsius with clear skies. The temperature is just right for comfortable and scenic treks in Bhutan.
And if long treks are not something you prefer, there are also beautiful day hikes in the mountains.
May is the last month of Spring in Bhutan. The temperature in May slowly starts to increase bringing humidity.
This month experience fewer crowd compared to that of March and April. This month is great for those willing to enjoy the perks of Spring yet without the crowds at a less cost.
Festivals in Spring
Some of the festivals you can witness during Spring are,
- Punakha Drubchen and Tshechu: This takes place in March and it celebrates the founding of Bhutan in the 1600s. The highlights of this festival are the picturesque Punakha Dzong. And the dramatic recreation of Bhutan’s 17th century battle with the Tibetan army.
- Paro Tsechu: This is one of the most popular festivals in Bhutan which takes place during April. It is also the best time where you get to meet or see the Royal family. They usually take part during the 3rd and the last day of the festivities.
- The Ura Yakchoe festival: This takes place in Bumthang during May. During this festival, you can enjoy the renowned Ura Yakchoe dance, display of a sacred and important relic and get blessings.
Tips to Travel During Spring
- Don’t forget to carry a camera to capture some amazing scenic pictures of Bhutan at its best.
- Carry a hat, sunglasses, and light clothes and enjoy the beauty of Bhutan on foot.
- Trek wherever possible
- Because it is the peak season, do plan in advance to get your choice of flight and accommodation.
Another popular time to visit Bhutan after Spring is the Autumn that starts from September and extends till November.
The cool temperatures are ideal for hiking and attending festivals. Moreover, there is no rainfall and nature is equally majestic and rewarding at this time.
September is the first month of the autumn season in Bhutan. During the first week of September, you can see the last traces of monsoon.
During October, Bhutan experiences about 80% of its international visitors. In October the landscape that you normally see in the beautiful hues of green turn gold.
It is also the time when the local farmers harvest their rice crops. Also, the interesting part is Late October sees the arrival of the endangered black-necked cranes.
November is the ideal month where you get to witness the black-necked cranes in their natural habitat. By November, these endangered birds complete their annual migration.
They migrate from the Tibetan Plateau to the protected Phobjikha Valley each year. To add, there is also a festival around the endangered birds in November. It takes place in Gangtey.
By November, the temperatures start to drop and ranges from 10 to 12 degrees Celsius.
Festivals in Autumn
Some of the festival you will witness during Autumn are
- Black-necked crane festival: This festival celebrated the arrival of the endangered black-necked cranes. This festival takes place in the courtyard of Gangtey Gonpa to promote the conservation of these beautiful birds.
- Jambay Lhakhang Drup Festival: This takes place during the last week of October to early November. This festival lasts up to 5 days and fulfils two purposes. One is the tribute to Guru Rinpoche. And the other is the commemoration of an establishment of Jambay Lhakhang in the 7th century.
- Thimphu Tsechu: This is a grand festival that takes place in the modern capital of Bhutan, Thimphu. Wangdue Tshechu takes place around the same time as Thimphu Tsechu. Hence October offers a great chance to witness two different Tsechu in a single visit.
Tips to Travel During Autumn
- Carry light clothes and all essential trekking amenities and explore the place on foot as this is the season.
- Advance booking of flight and accommodation is necessary due to peak season rush and crowd.
NOTE: Bhutan follows the Bhutanese lunar calendar. Hence, the dates of the Tsechus do fall at different times of the months every year. To make sure you don’t miss them, inquire ahead of your booking.
Bhutan is a perfect holiday destination. It is a perfect amalgamation of great natural beauty along with cultural and historical importance. There, you also get to immerse in Bhutan’s colorful tradition and customs.
The best time to travel to Bhutan often depends on what you expect from your visit. Hence with the above information, choose and plan the trip that best suits you.
Traveling to Bhutan is possible any time of the year and every season has its own perks. Yet Autumn and Spring are the best time for Bhutan tour.
For further question or queries, please feel free to contact us.