Tiger's Nest monastery, Bhutan

Best time to visit Bhutan

Spring and autumn are the best times to visit Bhutan as far as weather is concerned, avoiding the excesses of winter and the summer monsoon, although there are regional variations which you should consider when planning your holiday.

From sub-tropical to alpine

Bhutan encompasses three main climate zones, the subtropical south, temperate centre and alpine north, mainly differentiated by elevation. Temperatures vary between these zones and from season to season, as shown below, to help you choose your best time to visit.

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Chortens at Dochu La pass, Bhutan © GQMarks

Bhutan's seasons

The four seasons of spring, summer, autumn and winter are apparent in Bhutan, each with its own weather conditions. Bhutan is a land of festivals and these take place throughout the year, with a few highlights mentioned below.

Cosmos flowers and traditional buildings in the Paro Valley, Bhutan © GQMarks

Spring

April and May are a lovely time to visit Bhutan, with mainly clear skies and sunshine. Temperatures begin to warm up, wildflowers come into bloom and there is a feeling of life returning after the winter months. Conditions are pleasant for trekking and walking with good visibility and panoramic mountain views.

Masked dancer at a traditional monastery festival, Bhutan © SHortebusch,Shutterstock

Summer

The months of June to August are the hottest and coincide with the annual monsoon with the south getting the most rain, heat and humidity, though rainfall occurs throughout the country. The valleys become lush and green and cloudy skies can be photogenic. Summer has a great many festivals including that at Haa with its well-known mask dance.

Black-necked cranes, Phobjikha Valley, Bhutan © LiQiang,Shutterstock

Autumn

Bhutan’s autumn months, September to November, are a great time to visit. The monsoon rains have ended, temperatures are less hot and the bright, sunny days are ideal for walks and treks. The weather gets markedly cooler towards the end of autumn and snow beings to fall in the mountains and high passes. The lively black-necked crane festival occurs in the Phobjikha Valley, also known as Gangtey Valley, in mid-November and the three-day Thimpu Tshechu festival takes place in the capital.

Two buddhist monks at Punakha Dzong, Bhutan © KMashkevych,Shutterstock

Winter

December to March is a period of high snowfalls in the mountains and the high passes are usually closed. At lower altitudes days are crisp and dry. This is a popular time to visit western Bhutan for sightseeing, local village tours and walks with valleys often carpeted with light snow and fine views of snow-clad mountain peaks. Dochla Tsechu and Trashigang Teschu are among the winter festivals. The rare black-necked crane arrive from Tibet to overwinter in the Phobjikha Valley.

Bhutan's weather by region

The weather varies from region to region and although spring and autumn are good times for all areas, winter can be a good to visit, and summer, despite the heat and rain, should not be altogether ruled out.

Bronze statue of Buddha in Thimphu, Bhutan © NWaila,Shutterstock

Western Bhutan

This is the most easily accessed and most visited region, site of the international airport at Paro and of the capital, Thimpu. These towns and Punakha dzong can be visited all year although you may prefer to miss the wet summer months. Early winter is an ideal time to visit the scenic Phobjikha Valley with the added bonus of possibly sighting black-necked crane.

River Jakar in the Chokhor valley, Bumthang, Bhutan © GQMarks

Central Bhutan

The best time to see the valleys of central Bhutan is in spring and autumn, when the weather is mild and the skies clear, perfect for outdoor pursuits. In spring flowers come into bloom and the autumn scenery is lush, benefitting from effects of monsoon rains. Winter is colder but dry with very cold nights. Summer with its rainfall and humidity is best avoided.

Eastern Bhutan © SBailey

Eastern Bhutan

Much of eastern Bhutan is at a lower altitude than the western and central regions and has a slightly warmer climate as a consequence. Spring and autumn are the preferred times to visit when you can expect warm to hot days and only a little rain. Winter is colder but dry In summer temperatures can become uncomfortably hot and the onset of the monsoon can render conditions difficult.

Chris-3
Talk to Christine - Travel Consultant

Call:  01473 890499

Start planning your tailor-made holiday now. Tell us what you want, and we will tailor make your perfect trip.

Client Rating for Bhutan 5/5 from 4 reviews