Bhutan is best known for its natural beauty, rich culture, and Buddhist heritage. In this Himalayan country, you’ll find the best of both worlds: unspoiled wilderness and a thriving capital city. It is a great year-round destination because it offers something for everyone. If you’re looking for a quiet and relaxing getaway, the best time to visit Bhutan is during the off-season, from January to March. The country is less crowded and there are plenty of opportunities for nature walks, bird watching, and meditation.
Geography and climate of Bhutan
Bhutan has three distinct climatic regions, north, central and south. There are significant climatic differences between these regions.
- Northern Bhutan
Northern Bhutan is one of the most sparsely populated and least developed regions in the country. It is home to some of the most rugged mountains, and best trekking routes in Bhutan. The cold weather in the north part of Bhutan is a result of the altitude and the latitude. The high altitude and the cold winds from the Himalayas make the weather very cold. The coldest months are January and February. In these months, the temperature can be as low as -5 degrees Celsius.
- Central Bhutan
The weather in central Bhutan is generally mild with temperatures ranging from 18-25 degrees Celsius throughout the year. The summers are warm with some rainfall while the winters are cold and dry with occasional snowfall. However, the temperature can drop to below freezing point in the higher elevations. The central and eastern regions offer travelers some little known treasures of Bhutan.
- South Bhutan
The weather in the south is warmer than in the north. The summer temperatures range from 25-30 degrees Celsius and winter temperatures are around 10 degrees Celsius. There is more rainfall in the south compared to the north. There are a few secret tourist places in this region.
Here are some tips to help plan your trip to Bhutan so that you can enjoy the best of what it has to offer.
Summer In Bhutan
Summer (June-August) in Bhutan is a great time to visit if you’re looking for warm weather and clear skies. The temperatures are usually in the mid-30s with very little rainfall. This is also the best time to go trekking, as the trails aren’t as crowded and the views are unbeatable.
It is the time when the crops are harvested and people celebrate with religious activities and festivities. The main festival of summer is the Tshechu, which is a three-day event that takes place in every district of Bhutan.
- Why visit in summer?
There are many reasons why you should visit Bhutan during the summer. For one, the weather is mild and pleasant, and the temperatures are perfect for sightseeing and outdoor activities. The landscapes are also at their best during the summer, with lush green hills, pristine valleys, and snow-capped mountains all visible in the clear air. This is also the best time if you plan to do a bike trip in Bhutan.
- Tips for packing
Be sure to pack your bags with clothes for warm weather. The temperatures can be quite hot in central and south Bhutan. Lightweight cotton clothes are the best. Bring sunscreen and hats or sunglasses to protect you from the sun.
Winter In Bhutan
Winter (December-February) is the best season to visit Bhutan if you are looking to experience a cold climate and snow-capped mountains. The average temperature ranges from 2-10 degrees Celsius and many parts of the country become covered in snow.
The Punakha Winter Festival is one of the most popular festivals in Bhutan. They celebrate the victory of good over evil and are a time for family and friends to come together and enjoy food, music, and dance.
- Why visit in winter?
The cold climate and snowfall make for a picturesque landscape and provide a unique experience for travelers. There are almost no tourists during this season, so you can take your time and enjoy the country.
- Tips for packing
Be sure to pack heavy winter clothes to survive sub-zero temperatures. Bring winter care lotions, thermals, gloves and necessary medications for cold and fever.
Spring In Bhutan
Spring (March-May) is a great time to visit if you’re interested in sightseeing and nature walks. The flowers are in bloom, the temperature is mild, and there are fewer tourists in the beginning.
This is when the country comes alive with a variety of beautiful flowers in bloom. You can enjoy wonderful nature walks and explore the countryside while enjoying the lovely sight of flowers in every direction.
- Why visit in Spring?
During the annual Paro Tshechu festival, you can get a glimpse of the Bhutanese royal family. The king and queen make an appearance during the festivities. If you’re lucky, you might also catch a glimpse of the royal children.
- Tips for packing
Be sure to pack clothes that are both comfortable and versatile. Temperatures can vary greatly during the day, so bring sunscreen and hats or sunglasses to protect you from the sun.
Autumn In Bhutan
Autumn (September-November) is the best time to visit if you want to see the autumn foliage. The temperatures are cool and comfortable, and there are plenty of festivals happening throughout the country.
The Black-necked Crane Festival is a major event in the Bhutanese calendar. The best time to visit Bhutan to witness this festival is usually in the month of November when the black-necked cranes descend on the Phobjikha Valley.
- Why visit in Autumn?
The temperatures are cool and comfortable, and the landscapes are at their best with the fall foliage in full bloom. There are also many festivals happening throughout the country during this time. The Jambay Lakhang Drup festival in Bumthang is one of the major tourist attractions.
- Tips for packing
Be sure to pack clothes for cool weather. The temperatures can be quite cold in some parts of the country. Bring sunscreen and hats or sunglasses to protect you from the sun.
Excited about the Bhutan trip?
There is no wrong time to visit Bhutan, as the country has so much to offer all year round. However, if you’re looking to experience a certain climate or see specific attractions, then there are the best times of the year to visit that you should consider. No matter when you choose to visit, be sure to pack your sense of adventure – you’re in for a wild ride! Check out my travel stories on Bhutan where I share my experiences of living in this beautiful country for a year.
Read more – The Reason I Keep Visiting Dochula Pass