Bhutan

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Book with us by the end of this year to travel by 31st December 2022 and we’ll give you the flexibility to change your plans for free up to 45 days before you depart.

Largely untouched by the modern world, Bhutan is an enigmatic mountain kingdom of green valleys crowned with dzongs (fortresses) and chortens (shrines). As the country operates a strict entry policy, it’s essential that your trip is planned thoroughly. Our specialists will use their extensive knowledge to create a carefully arranged itinerary that’s tailored to your interests. We have also worked hard to find the best drivers and guides (the government requires all visitors are accompanied), who can enhance your holiday to Bhutan.

A journey through Bhutan will take you through rich forests, over high mountain passes and to some of the most biologically diverse national parks in the world. The cliff-hugging Tiger’s Nest is one of many white-walled monasteries that overlook yawning valleys, which burst into bloom with wildflowers in spring. And, you’ll find the Bhutanese welcoming in showing you their deeply Buddhist and traditional way of life, where Gross National Happiness is more important than gross domestic product.

The remote Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan is proudly independent, with strongly established traditions and deep-rooted religious beliefs. Our specialists have explored the country many times and can put together a detailed tailor-made itinerary for Bhutan to suit your interests. We’ll suggest what to see in Bhutan, from well-known chortens (shrines) to little-visited rural communities.

From Paro in the west you can visit the Tiger’s Nest Monastery, which precipitously sits atop a shelf on a cliff-face above Paro Valley. Explore the capital Thimpu’s markets and crisply painted chorten. Head east across the Dochu La pass to the green vales of Punakha to reach the 17th-century Punakha Dzong. The arrival of migratory black-necked cranes is celebrated each winter in the rural communities of Phobjikha Valley, while Bumthang Valley shelters royal shrines and celebrated temples. Cross the Thrumsingla Pass to the east and you find minority villages with traditional animalist beliefs.

Deeply spiritual Bhutan’s desire for happiness over superficial worth is reflected in its respect of tradition, apparent in the 17th century dress worn by all citizens, and the pristine countryside and towns. Though this remote Himalayan kingdom is no stranger to visitors, much of it is yet to be explored and there are many things to see and do.

Climb to the cliff-perched Tiger’s Nest Monastery near Paro, or visit the Phobjika Valley in winter to see the rare black-necked cranes that migrate from Tibet. Make time to explore the country’s dzongs, or fortresses, such as those in Trongsa and Punakha, and trek through the pastures of the Bumthang Valley, staying in farmhouse homestays.

Ideas for experiencing Bhutan

Experiences you have as you travel often hold the longest memories. As part of their research trips, our specialists seek out authentic ways to get to know Bhutan, and the best local guides. These activities reflect some of their best-loved experiences.

October to December is the ideal time to visit Bhutan as the air is clear and fresh with sunny skies.

January and February are colder, but from then until April the climate remains dry and pleasant and in late spring the famous rhododendrons bloom spectacularly, flooding the valleys with colour.

Heat and humidity increase from May, and from June to September the monsoon rains cover the mountains. If you're interested in seeing the rare black-necked cranes, we recommend visiting the Phobjikha Valley between late October and mid-February.

Bhutan Climate Guide

Destination Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Bumthang 9°C 4mm 10°C 8mm 13°C 26mm 16°C 48mm 19°C 102mm 21°C 194mm 21°C 226mm 20°C 186mm 19°C 129mm 17°C 46mm 13°C 9mm 10°C 2mm
Jakar 10°C 5mm 12°C 10mm 14°C 32mm 17°C 59mm 20°C 129mm 21°C 244mm 21°C 271mm 21°C 219mm 20°C 155mm 18°C 57mm 14°C 10mm 11°C 3mm
Paro 10°C 11mm 11°C 24mm 14°C 50mm 17°C 87mm 19°C 145mm 20°C 262mm 21°C 316mm 20°C 250mm 20°C 192mm 18°C 71mm 14°C 14mm 11°C 4mm
Phobjikha Valley 8°C 5mm 9°C 12mm 12°C 30mm 15°C 56mm 17°C 102mm 19°C 186mm 19°C 220mm 19°C 181mm 18°C 128mm 15°C 51mm 12°C 9mm 9°C 3mm
Punakha 15°C 13mm 16°C 18mm 20°C 60mm 22°C 114mm 24°C 263mm 25°C 514mm 25°C 597mm 25°C 441mm 24°C 326mm 23°C 102mm 19°C 16mm 16°C 6mm
Thimpu 10°C 10mm 11°C 21mm 15°C 48mm 17°C 84mm 19°C 149mm 21°C 273mm 21°C 325mm 21°C 256mm 20°C 193mm 18°C 70mm 14°C 13mm 11°C 4mm

Month-by-month guide to travelling in Bhutan

Dec - Feb

Visiting Bhutan in December - February

From December to February Bhutan is at its coldest; especially in the mountains, but clear skies reward those who brave the low temperatures. The valleys are warmer and sunny with clear views of the incredible Himalaya. Due to colder temperatures, visitor numbers will be lower.

Mar - Apr

Visiting Bhutan in March - April

March and April are among the most popular times to travel as temperatures are pleasant and the valleys are abundant in nature; especially as all the flowers start to bloom. Early April witnesses the Paro Tshechu, so book ahead to get the best accommodation and flights.

Events & Festivals

  • Rhododendron season (March to May): Similar to Nepal, Bhutan's landscapes are at their best at this time of year before the monsoon arrives, with colourful rhododendrons carpeting the hillsides.
  •  Trekking in Bhutan (October to November and March to April): Trekking is a wonderful way to see the beautiful scenery of this wonderful, little-visited country. These months offer the best weather for mountain walks and overnight stays in characterful teahouses.
May

Visiting Bhutan in May

Temperatures increase in May, bringing humidity as well as cloud over the mountains. However, fewer visitors and lower prices can make it a perfectly viable time to visit. The rhododendrons should also still be in bloom - ideal for photographers and nature lovers.

Events & Festivals

  • Rhododendron season (March to May): Similar to Nepal, Bhutan's landscapes are at their best at this time of year before the monsoon arrives, with colourful rhododendrons carpeting the hillsides.
Jun - Aug

Visiting Bhutan in June - August

June to August (and sometimes into September) is monsoon season in Bhutan. Although showers can occur at night without spoiling daytime explorations, conditions aren't ideal for trekking. Sightseeing is still possible - just be prepared with a raincoat! It’s also ideal for retreating to a spa. Views are best in the mornings following night-time downpours.

Sep

Visiting Bhutan in September

September, October and November are ideal for hiking, seeing festivals (particularly the popular Thimphu Tshechu) and enjoying stunning views and pleasant temperatures. Expect it to be around 25°C in the sun, but there will be cooler temperatures in the evenings and at higher altitudes.

Oct

Visiting Bhutan in October

The majority of travellers (around 80% of all international visitors) want to visit Bhutan in October, so plan well in advance to ensure you get your preferred accommodation and good value flights.

Events & Festivals

  • Trekking in Bhutan (October to November and March to April): Trekking is a wonderful way to see the beautiful scenery of this wonderful, little-visited country. These months offer the best weather for mountain walks and overnight stays in characterful teahouses.
Nov

Visiting Bhutan in November

Black-necked cranes migrate from the Tibetan Plateau to the protected Phobjikha Valley each year. They remain in the region from late October to early February. In Gangtey, a special festival is held every November to celebrate the arrival of the birds. Plan ahead if you want to be a part of it.

Events & Festivals

  • Black-necked crane festival (November): These endangered birds migrate to spend each winter in the Phobjikha Valley. The festival celebrating their arrival takes place in in the courtyard of Gangtey Gonpa to promote their conservation.
  • Trekking in Bhutan (October to November and March to April): Trekking is a wonderful way to see the beautiful scenery of this wonderful, little-visited country. These months offer the best weather for mountain walks and overnight stays in characterful teahouses.

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