Season – it is one the most important factor we keep in mind while planning a trip to a lesser known country or location. But you would be amazed to know that as per us there is No ‘best season’ to visit Bhutan, because every season here is just perfect. Though Bhutan has categorized Dec, Jan, Feb, June, July and August as lean season, while Sept, Oct, Nov, Mar, Apr, May as peak season. But matter whichever season you choose to visit this resplendent country in, Bhutan will always welcome you with breath-taking landscapes, colourful festivities along with its fascinating buildings, monuments and monasteries.
Since Bhutan is located in the eastern Himalayas, classifying a general climate is a kind of a tricky task. Every city of the country has varying temperature in a single season. With the rise of every 100 meters of altitude, there is a drop of 7 degrees Celsius in the temperature. But yet, the seasons of Bhutan are widely classified into Spring (March, April and May), Summer / Monsoon (June, July and August), Autumn (September, October and November) and Winter (December, January, February). The Bhutan weather also varies when you navigate through the country. South Bhutan has a tropical climate whereas North Bhutan experiences extreme weather conditions with snowfalls at least three times during the winter season. East Bhutan is said to be warmer as compared to the western part of the country. The central part of the country has a subtropical weather.
Mentioned below is a detailed guide to help you plan your travel to Bhutan accordingly.
Spring Season (March to May)
Spring is actually one of the busiest seasons in Bhutan. In case you are planning your trip in between this season, you should remember to make prior reservations for flight tickets and hotel accommodations. If you visit during these months, you can admire the beautiful green valleys and the nature in full bloom. There are a number of events and tourist spots that you can check out in this season. A few of them are listed below.
- Paro Tshechu (April): Tshechu is an annual Bhutanese festival. The word Tshechu means, “tenth day”. The preserved culture of Bhutan is beautifully showcased during this festival throughout the country. The Paro Tshechu (held in Paro, of course) has the largest number of audience turnout. Here you can see the monks and laymen beautifully adorned in colourful costumes and mask. They perform the traditional dances of Bhutan, known as Cham. They depict the life story of Guru Padmasabhava through these dances. Witnessing the Paro Tschechu will indeed be a feast to your eyes (and to your Instagram feeds, too!).
- Jacaranda Blossoms at Punakha Dzong: Pungtang Dechen Photrang Dzong, also known as the Punakha Dzong is located at the junction of two rivers: Mo Chhu and Po Chhu. This is considered as one of the most majestic places of Bhutan. The Dzong is surrounded by lilac Jacaranda trees. This place is a must-visit in spring, when these trees are in full bloom.
- Bhumthang Owl Trek: It is a three-day, not-so-hard core trek at the Bhumthang valley, located in the central parts of Bhutan. You can enjoy the natural, untouched beauty of this valley best during the spring season.
Autumn Season (September to November)
The evenings during these months are mildly cold in Bhutan. Packing a light sweater or warmer should be enough to keep you warm and cosy. Every landscape in Bhutan looks magnificent during the autumn season. You can get a very clear view of some of the highest, unclimbed Himalayan peaks if you visit the country in between the mentioned months. Listed below are a handful of experiences you must gain if you visit Bhutan in the autumn season.
- Watch Jambay Lhakang Drup: It is a five-day festival held in Bhumthang, mostly in the month of October. During this festival, Terchham, naked fire dance is performed by some of the local villagers.
- Visit Tiger’s Nest: It is a monastery, which is also one of Bhutan’s most visited tourist spots. The monastery has a collection of buildings that are built on a cliff, nine hundred meters above the ground level. The sight from Tiger’s Nest is best seen during autumn weather.
- Watch Timphu Tshechu: Regardless of the season, you will always get a chance to witness the Tschechu festival.The festival is held in the months of October and November at Timphu, the capital of Bhutan.
- Trek on Mount Jomolhari: If you are an adventurous person and want to enjoy trekking, then visiting mount Jomolhari in the autumn is one of the best things that you can do. There is a ten to eleven-day trek where you can sight the best of Bhutan’s flora and fauna.
Summer / Monsoon Season (June to August)
These months are the hottest, wettest and most humid months in Bhutan. South Bhutan receives a heavy amount of rainfall whereas the northern part of the country is relatively dryer. People assume that this is not the best time to visit Bhutan. However, since many people do not travel Bhutan during this time of the year, the hotel accommodations and flight fares are cheaper and more affordable than usual. But why visit Bhutan if the weather is not at its best in this season? Although you cannot enjoy trekking, there are many more activities that are best done during this season.
- Punakha City Tour: Punakha is the older capital of Bhutan. You can explore the city during monsoons. It is located in such an area where it receives comparatively less rain showers. The city is famous for rice farming and hence the view of acres of land covered with what looks like a green carpet of paddy crops, is spectacular. Do not miss a visit to Chimi Lhakang Temple while in Punakha. The walls of this temple have absurd yet interesting phallic drawings.
- Taste Ema Datshi: Ema Datshi is the national dish of Bhutan. It is basically a stew of cheese and chilly. What makes it a must-have in this season is that the dish is prepared using chillies that are available only during the months of June to September. You can easily find this dish at a local restaurant or at restaurants that serve Bhutanese cuisine.
- Shop Bhutanese Items: Monsoon might affect the trekking routes, but it cannot affect your shopping schedules. While exploring the local markets, you can buy Woven bags, handmade Kira and Gho, Bamboo items, Thangkas, etc. for yourself and as souvenirs for your near and dear ones.
You can also visit temples and monasteries to admire the extraordinary architectural structures and experience a whole new level of mental peace.
Winter Season (November to February)
The temperature of Bhutan during these months is moderately cool. It is a pocket-friendly season to visit Bhutan. One of the major benefits of travelling to Bhutan during this season is that you can spot black-necked cranes that migrate to the country only during these months of the year. What are the places you will enjoy visiting in Bhutan in the winter season?
- Gangtey Monastery: This is one of the best places to visit in Bhutan in the month of December. It is situated 3000 meters above the ground level, in Gangtey village. If you take a drive to the Gangtey Monastry, you will get a spectacular view of enormous Black Mountains and the U-shaped Probjhika Valley (which, by the way, is where you have the highest probability to spot the black-necked cranes).
- Royal Manas National Park: Also called as the “Crowned Jewel”, Royal Manas National Park is the oldest national park of Bhutan. It is considered as the “conservation showpiece of the kingdom”.
- Buddha Dordenma: Located at a hilltop at the capital, Timphu, Buddha Dordenma is a 51 meters high statue of Gautam Buddha. What is unique about is, is the fact that there are about 1 lakh miniature Buddha statues built inside the main structure! You surely do not want to miss this tourist attraction in Bhutan.
- CheleLa Pass: It is one of the highest motor able points in Bhutan. The Chele La Pass separated Paro and Haa Valley. It is a 35 km drive from Paro. The view from this point is breath-taking. It is totally worth a visit!
Bhutan is a beautiful country, regardless of the season in which you travel there. You are guaranteed to have the time of your life on your trip to Bhutan. Make sure you have spare batteries for your cameras because as beautiful as Bhutan, its culture and its people are, you are unlikely to put your camera down! Happy travelling to you!