When to Travel to Bhutan
The Dragon Kingdom—rich in flora and fauna, in traditional arts and living Himalayan culture, in mountain views and hiking trails, among much else—is a destination that draws more than one type of traveler. GeoEx has been leading trips in Bhutan since 1985, sharing its natural beauty and cultural treasures with our travelers and granting unparalleled access to the most interesting temples, treks, and artisans. The Land of the Thunder Dragon is a spectacular destination year-round, although the weather varies dramatically depending on the elevation and season. The best time to visit Bhutan depends on what you're looking for.
From March to May, Bhutan's abundant flora is on full display and the weather is fantastic, mild with occasional mountain views. Though there is some rainfall, particularly as you get into May, temperatures top out around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Rhododendron forests fill with color an if you're lucky you may even spot the rare blue poppy, a three-foot tall species once thought only to be a myth. The Punakha and Para festivals draw many travelers at the time of year.
The long days of summer in Bhutan tend to be uncrowded, verdant, and less rainy than most visitors expect. Afternoon showers generally occur each day during the green season, with July and August receiving as much as 14 inches per month. However, the heavy rains often fall during the night, so while low clouds may hang on the hills and sometimes obscure views by day, it is also common to experience long periods without rain. If you want to escape the crowds, capture some great deals, see the country at its most lush green or enjoy the uniquely intimate Gangtey festival, this is the time to travel to Bhutan. It’s also a nice season to spend time at a spa or in a meditation room if you opt to stay at Bhutan’s more luxurious hotels.
Fall in Bhutan boast the largest festivals, pleasant temperatures, and world-class mountain vistas. From September to November, some of the largest Bhutanese festivals, including the Thimphu tshechu, take place. This time of year the weather tends to be idyllic, with highs in the 70s and little rain. Later in the season, the sky becomes clearer, revealing vivid mountain views. On a clear day at the top of the Dochu La (10,000-foot pass), 200 miles of Himalayan summits are stacked before you.
From December to February, you’ll find a pristine, private wonderland with the clearest skies of the year. Winter in the Himalaya can certainly be cold, especially at higher elevations. However, Bhutan is at about the same latitude as Florida and not as cold as many travelers expect. In the lower valleys, such as Punakha, temperatures can reach the 50s and even 60s. A winter visit to Bhutan means small crowds, spectacularly clear views of the Himalayan range, and a chance to see the endangered black-necked cranes.
Choose Your Bhutan Tour
Once you've selected the time of year you would like to go to Bhutan, it's time to start thinking about how you’d like to spend your time there, here are some considerations:
- Are you most interested in getting to know the essence of Bhutan? Seeing the highlights? Understanding its culture and history? Meeting the people who make Bhutan such a heartwarming place?
- Does your perfect vacation involve day hikes through sublime alpine scenery, then coming home to a comfy hotel each night?
- Would you like to experience one of Bhutan’s festivals, joyous expressions of its Buddhist culture?
- Do you prefer luxurious accommodations or sleeping in tents amid stunning mountain views?
- Are you fascinated by Buddhism and interested in learning more about its influence in Bhutan?
- Do you like the idea of trekking to revered mountain peaks and seriously remote, completely enchanting corners of Bhutan?
- Are you traveling solo or with traveling companions?