When to go to Bhutan?

The absolute ‘best time to visit Bhutan' is in Autumn, from late September to late November. The dry air and clear skies create the perfect view in the mountains during these months. The second ‘best time to go’ to Bhutan is spring, from March to early May. The temperature is rising, interesting colorful wildflowers emerge, but the sky may be cloudy during this time of the year.

It can be advisable to avoid traveling to the mountains of Bhutan from June to August and in January and December. The temperature can be low, the visibility bad, or trails and roads can be blocked due to rain or snow. However, January and December are a good months to visit Western Bhutan, for kayaking and rafting.

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The best time to visit Bhutan

Trekking in the mountains of Bhutan:
  • Best time (October and November): the best time for a trekking in the mountains of Bhutan is the period from late September to late November. Though it gets quite cold when the strong wind blows down from the mountains, the sky is bright and sunny during this period. In terms of weather and visibility, this is the absolute best time to go.
  • Second best time (March to May): the period from March to May is the second best time of the year for a trekking in the mountains of Bhutan. During this time of the year, the abundant magnolias and rhododendrons cover the mountain slopes, creating an astonishing view. The sky may be cloudy during this period, but a trekking can still be an enjoyable experience. Different varieties of birds come down from the colder climates and are ready to go back to their homes when the winter in those parts is over.
  • Period NOT to undertake a trekking (June to August): the months stretching from June to August are better avoided, when planning a trekking in the mountains. Showers of rain are very frequent during this time of the year, especially at night. The wet mountain slopes can make a trekking very slippery and dangerous. The sky remains cloudy and the weather is cold and wet with hardly any view at all. Flights can also get cancelled during this time, due to poor visibility.
  • January and December: also the months January and December are NOT a good time to for a trekking, since the passes can be blocked due to heavy snowfall.

A trekking in Bhutan can range from two days to a month. The most popular trekking routes last about 6 to 12 days.

Tropical Southern part of Bhutan:
  • January, February and December: the southern part of Bhutan is plain land and it has a tropical climate. It is hot and humid during the summer, completely wet during the rainy season and mildly cold during the winter. The best time to visit southern Bhutan is during the cooler months of January, February and December, after which the summer starts setting in. This is the time when orthinologists and bird watches make a beeline for Bhutan. As far as birds and birdwatchers are concerned, this country is a paradise with its 670 recorded species of birds. Ducks, thrushes, buntings, finches, waders and even birds of prey are some of the 50 species of birds that visit Bhutan during their migration from colder areas. Bee-eaters, fly-catchers, warblers, cuckoos and swifts makeup the partial migrant species of birds.

Western Bhutan:
  • January and December: as the passes in the upper stretches of Northern Bhutan get filled with snow, it is very difficult to visit that area during the months of January and December. This is a good time to visit Western Bhutan, where water sports like kayaking and rafting are on offer in the regions of Wangthankha and Punakha. The clear waters of the various rivers like Mo Chu, Paro Chu, Mangde Chu and others are formed from the melting ice of the Himalayan mountain ranges and ultimately meet the Brahmaputra River in India. The rafting and kayaking routes get selected from the best parts of these rivers.

Please, keep in mind that half of the total number of tourists visit Bhutan in the months September, October and November. Obviously, this is the best season of the year to travel to Bhutan, but also the most crowded and expensive one.

‘Tsechus’ are religious festivals which are held in Dzongs, temples and monasteries throughout the country. Try to visit a least one during your stay in Bhutan, as they are really enjoyable to experience (see the 'highlights' section).

The neutral months to visit Bhutan

The months of January, February and December are NOT a good time to visit Northern Bhutan for a trekking expedition, as the passes get filled with snow, making the area difficult to access. These months are ideal to visit the Western or Southern part of Bhutan.

The months May and September may be reasonable months to visit Bhutan, as the country is in the transition from the monsoon season to the dry season, or vice versa.

Better not to go to Bhutan

The rainy season in Bhutan lasts from June to August. The skies are overcast with low lying clouds and rainfall can occur throughout the night and day. Sometimes, there are long periods without rainfall, but the mountainsides of upper Bhutan are covered with rain-bearing clouds.

Weather and seasons of Bhutan

Bhutan has four climatic seasons:
  • Spring (March to May): warmer at the lower altitudes of Bhutan and a moderate temperature at the higher altitude areas. This is the season of flowers to blossom, creating an amazing colorful landscape.
  • Summer (June to August): completely part of the monsoon seasons: the weather is hot, humid and it rains almost daily.
  • Autumn (September to November): best time to visit: comfortable weather and perfect view in the mountains.
  • Winter (December to February): cool weather, cold nights and occasional snowfall at higher elevations. This is a good season to visit Western or Southern Bhutan.

Bhutan has several types of climates: sub-tropical, tropical and alpine. The Southern part of Bhutan is low-lying and has a typical subtropical climate. The weather is hot and humid all year. The temperature in this region varies from 30 C during the day, to 15 C at night.

The central and Eastern parts of Bhutan have a climate that is more of a tropical nature, with summers that are warm during the day and cool during the nights.

The Northern part of Bhutan falls in the lower reaches of the Himalayan mountain ranges and has an alpine climate. The winters are severe and even the valleys can become freezing during nighttime, when there are winds blowing down the mountains and through the passes at the force of gales. The average rainfall during the winter months of December, January and February is only 20 mm per month, which increases a lot during the rainy season. See the weather pictures below for a good overview.

Temperature and precipitation overview (°F) Temperature and precipitation overview (°C)
Weather of Bhutan (°F) Weather of Bhutan (°C)

Map and current weather of Bhutan

Drag the yellow iconStreetview iconto a location on the map for the "Google streetview" mode.
Click on the weather icon to see the forecast for the next days.
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Best time to visit specific highlights of Bhutan

    The famous religious festivals that are held every year in the monasteries, temples and dzongs are called ‘Tsechu’. These religious festivals are held at different times of the year in different cities and locations, to celebrate various things and are one of the main attractions of Bhutan.

  • Thimpu Tsechu: is held at the capital city of Thimpu usually from the 6th to the 8th of October. This is the most famous of all the Tsechu festivals held in Bhutan. The festival coincides with the arrival of the migratory birds like the black-necked cranes and others. The theme of the festival is the combination of various dances performed by the monks.
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  • Paro Tsechu: is held in the city of Paro in the month of March. It covers the days from the 15th to the 19th day of March with people coming from all over the country to participate in the festivities. The festival closes with the display of a painting called Thanktha that has been embroidered using Buddhist art. This painting is considered to be so holy that anybody can cleanse himself of all sins just by looking at it.
  • Takin Festival: gets celebrated in the town of Gasa, about 5 hours away from Thimpu by road. It's organized from 21st to 23rd of February in the Gasa Dzongkhag located inside the “Jigme Dorji National Park." This festival commemorates the Takin; that is the national animal of Bhutan. This majestic animal has become an endangered species in other parts of the world, but it can be found in plenty in Bhutan.
  • Punakha Drubchen: is a festival that is held from the 8th to the 10th of March in Punakha. This city is in Western Bhutan and is the home of the chief monk of Bhutan named Je Khenpo. This festival commemorates the victory of the Bhutanese people led by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, who unified the Bhutanese people into one state. The participants in this festival dress up in their ancient costumes and enact the battle.
  • Nimalung Tsechu: gets celebrated near the village of Chumey in the Bumthang region of Bhutan. It is held from the 5th to the 7th of July besides the two-storied temple that has a statue of Guru Rimpoche. A huge scroll painting or Thongdrol of Guru Rimpoche measuring 9 meters in length and 12 meters in width is set up as a display to the devotees who believe that their souls could be purified from all sins by looking at it. The festivities consisted of dances with masks and spectacular and colorful costumes.
  • Trongsa Tsechu: takes place from 30th December to the 1st of January. It gets held in the city of Trongsa that is in central Bhutan and can be reached from Thimpu after journeying for two days. The first and the second kings of Bhutan used to rule from this city at one time. The dzong where the festival gets celebrated is a massive building with multiple levels and commands a strategic point between the central and eastern parts of Bhutan.

Below you find 2 recommended travel adventures in Bhutan, organized by G Adventures.

Bhutan Adventure Wonders of Bhutan
Bhutan Adventure Wonders of Bhutan

People who want to leave shortly, can find good last minute deals here: save up to 25% on Last Minute Adventure Travel Packages

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Pay special attention to

  • Altitude: keep in mind when you visit the mountains of Bhutan, that the sudden change in altitude and rarefied air can cause Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). Give yourself time to acclimatize to the higher altitude, to keep fit.
  • Clothing: it can be severely cold at higher altitudes of Northern Bhutan. Make sure that you carry several layers of clothing, to be able to coop with the large change of temperature at high altitude during the day.
  • Photography: cameras are not allowed in some places, especially inside the monasteries, temples and dzongs. Keep in mind the local customs, before taking pictures.
  • UV radiation: protect yourself against UV radiation, especially at high elevation.
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Do you have a question about visiting Bhutan? Or do you want to share your knowledge of Bhutan with other travelers? Please, visit our Bhutan forum.

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