When is the best time to visit Bhutan?
The best time to visit Bhutan is autumn, from late September to end November.
Winter is excellent for birding in the south as well as rafting. From December to February, there is often snow in the higher regions and occasional snow in else where. Spring, from March to May, is recognized as the second best time to visit for trekking while June to August marks the monsoons.
A major factor in choosing the best time to visit Bhutan, while overriding weather patterns is the festival schedule. They offer a first-hand glimpse of Bhutanese life and provide an opportunity to see the inside of the great dzongs (a Buddhist monastic castle). Find out when religious celebrations are celebrated; Bhutan follows the lunar calendar so the dates could vary.
This is winter season in Bhutan, so expect temperatures between 26 and 53°F. But the days will be sunny, with clear skies offering great visibility.
- Most of the high altitude treks are closed at this time, but some lower altitude ones will be open such as the Samtengang winter trek from Punakha and Nabji Korphu trek in central Bhutan
Winter is still prevalent in the country, but expect temperatures to slightly increase towards the end of the month, heralding the arrival of spring.
- Watch the rare black-necked creek in Phobjikha Valley and try to spot tigers, leopards and Asian wild dogs in this most important game reserve of Bhutan
With spring setting in by the middle of the month, this is one of the best times to visit the country, as the rhododendrons start covering the hillsides, making for a truly spectacular natural landscape.
- Visit the charming town of Paro, home to Mt. Chumolhari, some of the oldest monasteries like the dramatic Taktsang Lhakhang, temples, and the country’s only airport
April is one of the best months to visit Bhutan. Temperatures are pleasant, there isn’t much humidity and the flowers are blooming, making for truly scenic conditions.
- Participate in the revelry of ‘Paro Tsechu’, a religious dance festival held over nine days at Rinpung Dzong in Paro
- Visit the spiritual monastery town of Bumthang, one of the most important religious centers in the country
The monsoons aren’t too far off and consequently, May is marked with high levels of humidity and rainfall in varying degrees across the country.
- Visit the Tashichho Dzong in the capital of Thimpu, a Buddhist monastery, fortress and also the seat of the government of Bhutan
The monsoons set in towards the end of the month, so expect heavy rainfall in the latter part of the day. Humidity levels will be high and visibility low in many areas, which rules out high-altitude treks.
- Visit Haa Valley in western Bhutan for its pristine natural beauty and stellar examples of ancient Buddhist architecture
This is one of the least visited months of the year in Bhutan owing to heavy rainfall and poor visibility. If you do decide to visit Bhutan during July, make sure you have plenty of rainwear!
- Learn about the intricacies of Bhutanese cuisine at the home of local. And don’t forget to relish the dishes you cooked to get an authentic taste of Bhutanese food!
Heavy rains continue to lash most of the country, but they aren’t as heavy as the July rains. Expect temperatures across the country to fluctuate owing to the changing altitudes.
- Visit Phuentsholingm at the base of the Himalayan foothills, home to stunning mountain views, unique lifestyles and ancient wooden monasteries
The rains begin to abate and high season picks up towards the end of the month as the hot and sticky conditions reduce and pleasant temperatures kick in.
- Savor stunning views of the Himalayas in Punakha Valley, with the Punakha Dzong standing majestically in front of this breathtaking backdrop
Autumn sets in around this time making this one of the most popular times to visit the country with pleasant temperatures and clear visibility. The high altitude treks usually open now, offering breathtaking views of the Himalayas.
- If you are in Thimpu, watch the Thimpu Tsechu festival, among the biggest celebrations in the country, with its many masked dances, full of color and festivity
Expect warm, sunny days in the early part of the month, but towards the end of November, temperatures will start falling and you could see a smattering of snow in the higher Himalayas.
- Visit Trongsa, the ancestral home and impregnable fortress of Bhutan’s royal family with its Dzong architecture, fragile environs and culture
Winter is in full flow in this month, so expect nighttime temperatures drop to below freezing in Thimpu. The valleys though are warmer, and the rainfall is scarce, offering clear views of the Himalayas. If you are willing to brave the cold, this is a good month to visit Bhutan!
- Visit Phobjikha Valley, a U-shaped glacial landscape, set against the backdrop of the towering Black Mountain Range, popular for its biodiversity, scenic splendor and cultural uniqueness
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What to Pack for Bhutan
Modesty in dress is strongly encouraged for men and women. Long skirts, long sleeves, higher necklines, warm and light clothing are all recommended items to pack. Shorts and vests are discouraged and definitely shouldn’t be worn during visits to monasteries and dzongs. Hats must be removed during these visits as well. Traveling in the mountains means a wide range of temperatures during the day. During the day it can be quite warm, while night time temperatures can drop dramatically. Crossing over a pass requires an extra layer of clothing just for an hour or two. The wide range of temperatures do not make packing easy. The best solution is to wear several layers, such as a cotton shirt, pullover, cardigan and jacket, which can be taken off or added as needed. Do not take delicate clothes: conservative sportswear is the appropriate style for a traveler in Bhutan. Even in summer you will need a sweater or a light jacket in the evenings.
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Enchanting Travels made planning this vacation a breeze. I didn’t stress at all during the trip, especially since there was also someone there to help with international transfers. All of our guides spoke English well and were quite accommodating.
Enchanting Travels employs people who really know how to listen to their clients and provide an exciting itinerary that is also safe and flexible. Everyone we worked with, from Brenda and Lavina to our guides Mr. Pongthep and Sangay, and our chauffeur Kengua, were professionals who seemed to really enjoy showing us their beautiful and exciting countries.
Go to Bhutan now! We don’t believe it is really going to stay this way for long. And it really is unique right now. Building laws require that dwellings be built in the traditional fashion and this makes for the most beautiful and original vistas. No one goes to Bhutan for the cuisine.
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