Bhutan Destination Guide

Best time to visit Bhutan

The climate in Bhutan is extremely varied and attributed to differences in altitude and the influence of the north Indian monsoons. Bhutan's generally dry spring starts in early March and lasts until mid-April. Summer weather commences in mid-April with occasional showers and continues to late June. From late June through late September, heavy summer rain and high humidity is experienced in the South region.
Autumn, from late September to late November is characterized by bright, sunny days and some early snowfalls at higher elevations. From late November until March, winter sets in, with frost throughout much of the country and snowfall common above elevations of 3,000 meters. The winter northeast monsoon brings gale-force winds at the highest altitudes through high mountain passes.

Visit Bhutan in December - February
December, January, and February are the coldest months in Bhutan. Skies are clear and on a good day, you can see the spectacular views of the Himalayas.

Visit Bhutan in March and April
March and April are two wonderful months to see Bhutan with the start of the Rhododendron season (March to May). Temperatures are dry and pleasant. If you are planning a trek in Bhutan, this will be an ideal time. Time with your visit to coincide with the Paro Tshechu.

Visit Bhutan in May
May brings higher humidity and cloudy skies.

Visit Bhutan in June, July and August
Monsoon season in Bhutan brings dark clouds and heavy rains. It is still possible to visit, but
conditions are not suitable for trekking.

Visit Bhutan in September, October and November
October is the peak season month in Bhutan. This is a popular time for trekking, hiking,
spectacular scenery and enjoying festivals. In November, a special festival is held annually in Gangtey to celebrate the arrival of the black-necked cranes from the Tibetan Plateau to Phobjikha Valley .

Best time to go

Paro

The Paro Tshechu usually takes place in early April. This is the best opportunity for you to meet the King and Queen of Bhutan as they make their way to the festivities.

Weather (monthly averages)

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
 Average minimum temperature
-5.8℃ 1.5℃ 0.6℃ 4.6℃ 10.6℃ 14.1℃ 14.9℃ 14.7℃ 11.7℃ 7.4℃ 1.4℃ 1.7℃
 Average maximum temperature
9.4℃ 13.4℃ 14.5℃ 17.6℃ 23.5℃ 25.4℃ 26.8℃ 25.3℃ 23.4℃ 18.7℃ 13.9℃ 11.2℃
 Average hours of sunshine
7 7 8 8 7 6 4 4 5 7 8 7
 Average rainfall in mm
9 10 34 81 180 416 549 406 259 84 11 5

Thimphu

The Thimphu Tshechu takes place in late September and is a fantastic spectacle not to be missed. The Thimphu Tshechu also occurs about the same time as Wangdi Tshechu.

Weather (monthly averages)

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
 Average minimum temperature
-2.6℃ 0.6℃ 3.9℃ 7.1℃ 13.1℃ 15.2℃ 13.4℃ 15.8℃ 15℃ 12.4℃ 5℃ 01.1℃
 Average maximum temperature
12.3℃ 14.4℃ 16.4℃ 20℃ 22.5℃ 24.4℃ 18.9℃ 25℃ 23℃ 21℃ 18℃ 14.5℃
 Average hours of sunshine
8 7 8 8 7 6 4 5 5 7 8 7
 Average rainfall in mm
25 33 31 58 122 246 373 345 155 38 8 13

Punakha

Punakha, located at an altitude of 4,000 metres, enjoys warm and humid summers and cold winters.

Punakha Dromche & Tshechu in February - The Punakha Dromche & Tshechu is a week-long celebration of the founding of Bhutan in the 1600s. The festivities take place around the ancient capital and most beautiful dzong in Bhutan

Weather (monthly averages)

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
 Average minimum temperature
4.2℃ 6.3℃ 9.2℃ 11.2℃ 14.2℃ 19.5℃ 21.6℃ 19.8℃ 20.4℃ 19℃ 13℃ 8℃
 Average maximum temperature
16℃ 19.6℃ 21℃ 24.4℃ 27.2℃ 32℃ 32℃ 31.4℃ 30℃ 27.8℃ 22.3℃ 15℃
 Average hours of sunshine
8 7 8 8 7 6 5 5 5 7 8 8
 Average rainfall in mm
15 18 68 133 328 639 743 534 394 120 17 7

Trongsa

The Trongsa Tshechu takes place in the Trongsa Dzong between December and January. This festival has some of the most elaborate festival costumes.

Weather (monthly averages)

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
 Average minimum temperature
-0.2℃ 0.4℃ 4.4℃ 6.6℃ 11.6℃ 13.6℃ 15.3℃ 15℃ 14.2℃ 11.7℃ 6.4℃ 2.5℃
 Average maximum temperature
13℃ 14℃ 16.7℃ 20℃ 21℃ 22.2℃ 25.3℃ 23.8℃ 22.6℃ 21.8℃ 19.8℃ 18.2℃
 Average hours of sunshine
8 7 7 8 7 7 6 6 5 6 7 8
 Average rainfall in mm
9 14 51 95 225 419 446 341 249 88 14 5

Bumthang

The best time to visit Bumthang is from the end of May to the end of Sep. This region is not too affected by the monsoon. It gets very cold in winter.

 

Weather (monthly averages)

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
 Average minimum temperature
-5.1℃ -1.4℃ 3.5℃ 3.9℃ 9.5℃ 13.4℃ 13.6℃ 13.7℃ 12.1℃ 5.9℃ -0.5℃ -2.3℃
 Average maximum temperature
10.8℃ 10℃ 16.2℃ 18.7℃ 21.3℃ 22.5℃ 24.1℃ 23℃ 21.6℃ 19.5℃ 16.1℃ 12.3℃
 Average hours of sunshine
8 8 8 8 7 6 5 5 6 7 8 8
 Average rainfall in mm
6 11 29 69 157 294 383 252 181 66 11 3

General travel tips

BANKS
Bhutan has five commercial banks all of which provide Internet banking services. The commercial banks are Bank of Bhutan Limited, the Bhutan National Bank, the Bhutan Development Bank, the Druk PNB and the Tashi Bank.

BEST VIEW FROM FLIGHTS
The scenery of the mighty Himalayas from the flights to Bhutan is a treat. To get the best scenery of the Himalayas you are recommended to ask for seats on the left side of the plane while flying into Bhutan. You can ask for seats on the right side of the place while flying out of Bhutan.

CLOTHES and WHAT TO PACK
Bhutan is a mountainous country and altitudes and weather change within short distances. Be prepared to experience drastic weather variations
In general summers are warm with average daily temperature ranging from 20 to 25 degrees Celsius, while winter temperatures are usually below 15 degrees Celsius.
The northern regions of the country are colder than the more tropical south. Trekkers will need to bring appropriate warm clothes and comfortable hiking boots (well broken in) preferably with ankle support and weather-proof to complement the weather and rugged terrain.

Others suggested items to pack:

• A pair of sunglasses
• Sunscreen lotion
• Hat
• Umbrella
• Camera
• Spare camera batteries
• Flash light (with spare batteries)
• Travel sickness tablets
• Antiseptic cream
• Anti-histamine cream
• Anti-diarrhoea pills
• Altitude sickness medication it trekking above 3000m
• Insect repellent
All tourists are expected to dress decently when visit formal institutions in Bhutan like monasteries, Dzongs (fortresses) and government offices. In such places, you can dress up in long trousers and full-sleeved tops. You would also be expected to remove your caps or hats as a mark of respect.

ELECTRICITY
It is recommended that you bring flat-to-round pin converters. Most hotels offer multi plug sockets. Bhutan is a carbon neutral destination.

GRATUITIES
Tipping is a purely personal matter and it is recommended that you place the gratuity in an envelope.

HEALTH: 
INOCULATIONS
Before embarking on a trip to Bhutan, please seek advice from your doctor with regard to vaccinations and appropriate medication you should have prior to your travels. As a minimum you should have tetanus, typhoid and hepatitis A inoculations.

LANGUAGE and COMMUNICATIONS
Bhutan has a good network of telecommunication facilities. Most hotels offer Wi-Fi internet access. Bhutan has a comprehensive mobile (cell) phone network with global roaming.
Bhutanese speak a variety of languages with Dzongkha being the national language and one of the most widely spoken. English is also spoken by the majority of Bhutanese.
Bhutan has a good team of interpreters and licenced guides that are well versed in local history and possess good communication skills. All guides are tested and certified by the Tourism Council of Bhutan.

MONEY
The currency of Bhutan is the Ngultrum (Nu.) It is pegged at par to the Indian Rupee, which is also accepted as legal tender in Bhutan. INR (Indian Rupees) denominations of 500 and 1000 are not accepted in Bhutan. ATMs are located within all main towns throughout Bhutan, where money can be withdrawn using a Visa or MasterCard

PHOTOGRAPHY
Bhutan offers immense opportunities for photography. Capture images of the landscape, the panoramic views of the mountain ranges, rural life, flora and fauna, distinctive Bhutanese architecture and the exterior of Dzongs and Chortens in particular.
Check with your guide before taking pictures or filming inside Dzongs, temples, monasteries and religious institutions as in some area photograph/filming is not permitted.

SAFETY AND PRECAUTIONS
Bhutan is one of the safest countries in the world however you should still exercise caution when visiting. Please ensure that your belongings especially your passports, cameras, wallets and purses are properly secured. Please refrain from leaving such items within sight in locked vehicles while sightseeing.
Avoid drinking tap water which has not been boiled or ice cubes in drinks at all times as most water sources in Bhutan are untreated.

SHOPPING
Some popular handicraft items available for purchase are hand-woven textiles of raw silk or silk carved masks of various animals, woven baskets of cane and bamboo, wooden bowls known as Dapas, handmade paper products or finely crafted silver. Other items you may be interested in are the exquisite Buddhist thangkha paintings or Bhutan’s wide array of colourful and creative postage stamps.

SMOKING RESTRICTION
Bhutan was the first country in the world to ban the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products in the country and has a stringent Tobacco Act in place. You can bring in a maximum of 200 cigarette sticks subject to a custom duty of 200 percent.
There are smoking places in most hotels and restaurants and you are advised to be mindful of smoking in public places.

TIME- The Standard time in Bhutan is 6 hours ahead of GMT.