Best time to visit Bhutan

Updated: 12th June 2019

Tiger's Nest Monastery in Bhutan - Best time to visit - On The Go Tours
Visit Tiger's Nest Monastery in the spring months of March to May

Seasons and Weather

With its location in the Himalayas and the variation in altitudes that this brings, Bhutan experiences a widely varied climate. Bhutan's climate is also influenced by the Indian monsoons that bring rain at certain parts of the year.

The monsoons in Bhutan are from June to September with heavy rains and high humidity with it being hottest in the south. Autumn is from October to November when it's generally sunny with some snow at higher elevations. Late November to early March is dry with pre-monsoon showers starting in May.

The best time to visit Bhutan is during the spring months of March to May when the valleys come alive with flowers in bloom. The Himalayan peaks are at their most visible with the clear skies of October and this is the best time for trekking though temperatures will be on the cold side. June to August is considered the low season due to the rains, which makes trekking less of an option. However, travelling in low and shoulder seasons will warrant lower hotel rates.

Thinking of visiting Bhutan? Download a copy of our Indian Subcontinent brochure for inspiration.

Climate | Paro

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Temp Min °C-17-15-10-5-13542-5-12-16
Temp Max °C11471012121311853
Rainfall (mm)48162124407572341441
Paro Tshechu mask dance - Bhutan - On The Go Tours
A mask dance during the Paro Tshechu festival in Bhutan

Festivals and Events

Steeped in mystery, Bhutan was off the travel radar for centuries before opening its arms to visitors and sharing its fascinating history and traditions with the world. Nothing showcases the beauty and wonder of Bhutanese culture better than its array of festivals, which bring the country to life and fill the streets with colour and music. To help you make the most of your time in Bhutan, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite festivals.

Paro Tshechu

This religious festival takes place across the country but is of particular note in the city of Paro. The event is held in a temple or monastery and sees entire communities come together to watch mask dances and other various forms of entertainment. These dances all tell a story and are a fine example of Bhutan’s rich oral traditions. It is believed that by attending a Tshechu and witnessing the mask dance, an individual will receive blessings and wash away their sins.

Ura Yakchoe

According to legend, there was once an old woman sitting outside her house when a lama visited her and asked for a drink of water. She went to get one and when she returned he had disappeared, leaving behind him a sack containing a statue. This statue is now displayed every year so that people can receive blessings, and the local people celebrate by performing the ‘Ura Yakchoe’, a dance for which they are known throughout the country.

Nimalung Festival

The Nimalung Festival is hosted within a magnificent two storey temple that contains a statue of the Guru Rimpoche and is decorated with elaborate murals of Nyingmapa and Drukpa traditions. During the festivities, a stunning Thongdrol (gigantic hand-painted scroll) of Guru Rimpoche is displayed for everyone to see. Measuring nine by twelve metres, this colossal painting is said to cleanse those who gaze upon it of their sins.

Want to know more about Bhutan? Check out our latest blog posts

Tour of the Dragon

Not for the faint-hearted, this is one of the toughest single day bike events in the world. Set at high altitude and covering a distance of 268km through mountain passes, to say that this race is a challenge is putting it mildly. Racers set off at 2am and usually reach the final destination in Thimphu by about 6pm, where there is an awards ceremony at 7pm. Do you have what it takes to compete in this adrenaline pumping event?

Jomolhari Mountain Festival

What started as a small community initiative has grown into a significant event on the Bhutanese calendar as the Jomolhari Mountain Festival has gained popularity. Its purpose is to promote awareness of the elusive and endangered snow leopard in order to prevent it from potential extinction. Festivities that take place during the day include sports, snow leopard themed folk songs, dancing and showcasing locally made handicrafts.

Black Necked Crane Festival

The Black Necked Crane Festival is a significant festival in Bhutan that was created in order to promote awareness and understanding of the importance of conserving these majestic birds. Plays, dances and songs are all performed by local children and adults as the community celebrates the arrival of the bird that plays a major role in their lives during the winter months.

Upcoming events

To help plan your visit to Bhutan, here's an overview of the festivals and events taking place over the next year. This is by no means an exhaustive list, so if you're thinking of heading to Bhutan outside of these dates and want to know what's on, check out this comprehensive list.

2019:

July 10th-11th - Nimalung Festival (Bumthang)
October 14th-15th - Jomolhari Mountain Festival (Dangojang)
November 11th - Black Necked Crane Festival (Gangtey Gonpa)

2020:

April 4th-8th - Paro Tshechu (Paro)
May 4th-8th - Ura Yakchoe (Ura Valley)

There's also a number of national holidays in Bhutan and on these dates many businesses and some tourist sites will close for the day so plan your visit accordingly.

See Also

For further help planning your trip to Bhutan, take a look at these handy resources:

Best Places to Visit - top 10 destinations in Bhutan
Tourist Visas - what you need to know before you go
Top Travel Tips - Bhutan's food, currency and info on health

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