Why Bhutan is an all year round destination
The Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan possesses an abundance of marvels, offering magnificent vistas, remarkable architectural structures, delectable cuisine, varied wildlife, rich cultural heritage, and distinct seasons. Throughout the entire year, each season—winter, spring, summer, and autumn—exudes a unique charm that makes Bhutan an ideal destination for travel.
Whether it be the vibrant festivals, clear skies unveiling Himalayan peaks, the thriving biodiversity, or the picturesque snowfall, Bhutan guarantees a memory-filled experience that is bound to linger for a lifetime. This article outlines the reasons why Bhutan, in all four seasons, is an attractive destination for tourists.
WINTER: Winter in Bhutan spans from December to February. Although it rarely snows in Thimphu and Paro, it is advised to carry warm clothing as temperatures are often in the low digits. Here are a few of the highlights that Bhutan's coldest months present:
1. Punakha Dromche and Tshechu:
Winter is a time for numerous festivals in Bhutan. The Dochula Tsechu, celebrated annually in December at the renowned Dochula Pass, commemorates the Bhutanese warriors' victory over the Tibetan invaders. Eastern Bhutan hosts the Trashigang Tsechu at the Trashigang Monastery, among other events. Besides these, Bumthang hosts several smaller festivals worth attending.
2. Black crane festival:
Winter brings an opportunity to marvel at the Himalayan Mountains and observe the influx of birds and animals. The endangered Black-necked cranes typically arrive in mid-November and stay until the end of February. Key places for sighting these majestic birds include the Gangtey Monastery in the Phobjikha Valley, the Bomdeling Birds Sanctuary in Tashi Yangtse, and the area of Chummey in Bumthang. Despite being a non-religious event, the festival marking the arrival of these cranes holds significant cultural value.
3. Dochula Pass:
Renowned for its expansive view of the Himalayas, Dochula Pass is a must-visit spot. Many mountains towering over 7,000m are visible from the pass, making it an awe-inspiring sight. In winter, the skies are extremely clear so it’s a very good time for photography as you can usually witness a 360 degree view of the Himalayas.
Running from March to May, the spring season in Bhutan offers a pleasant weather and clear skies. Here are the top attractions during this season:
1. Jacaranda blossoms at Punakha Dzong:
The Punakha Dzong, one of Bhutan's most scenic fortresses, lies at the confluence of two rivers – Pho Chu and Mo Chu. Coupled with the enchanting violet hues of blooming Jacaranda trees, it is a sight to behold.
2. Rhododendron Festival:
This festival celebrates the blooming of the stunning Rhododendron flower across Bhutan. The event showcases traditional games, cultural programs, and an exhibition of arts and crafts.
3. Outdoor adventures:
Spring is an excellent time for engaging in outdoor activities such as trekking, cycling, river rafting, and kayaking. The pristine valleys of Bhutan offer various options suited to all skill levels.
The summer season, from June to August, allows visitors to appreciate the lush green landscapes and paddy fields. Key highlights of this season include:
1. Haa Festival at Haa Valley:
This festival celebrates the Bhutanese way of life, local cuisines, and cultures amid the high-altitude alpine forests, meadows, and lakes.
Despite the rainfall, trekking in summer can offer a memorable experience for adventure enthusiasts with numerous trails to choose from. The landscape is covered in lush greenery and the waterfalls are flowing.
3. Leisurely experiences:
For those who enjoy watching rainfall while sipping on a hot beverage, summer is the perfect season to visit. While it does rain in the summer, rainfall is not usually too heavy and it normally rains for a few hours per day. After that, the weather turns offering warm days and cool nights.
Autumn, from September to November, is one of the most popular seasons to visit Bhutan. The weather is pleasant with sporadic light rains. Here's what this season has to offer:
1. Clear skies and pleasant weather:
With clear skies and a soothing climate, autumn provides the perfect backdrop for exploring Bhutan.
2. Tiger’s Nest:
The iconic Paro Taktsang or Tiger's Nest Monastery is a must-visit in this season. Accessible only by foot, the trek to this cliffside monastery offers astounding views.
3. Scrumptious Harvests:
Enjoy local delicacies and home grown harvests, with most fruits and vegetables being local, organic and delicious.
Regardless of whether you prefer the tranquillity of the rains, the richness of flora and fauna, awe-inspiring architecture, or vibrant festivals, Bhutan has something to offer for all year round. We trust this guide has provided you ample motivation to pack your bags and embark on a journey to this pristine Himalayan Kingdom.