Bhutan is at the same latitude as Miami and Cairo. The climate varies widely depending
on the elevation. In the southern border areas it is tropical; at the other extreme,
in the high Himalayan regions, there is perpetual snow. Temperatures in the far south
range from 15°C in winter (December to February) to 30°C in summer (June to August).
In Paro the range is from -
Rain occurs primarily during the southwest monsoon season from June to September. Bhutan bears the brunt of the monsoon, receiving more rainfall than other Himalayan regions – up to 5.5m a year. During the monsoon, heavy rain falls almost every night; in the day there may be long periods without rain. Low clouds hang on the hills, obscuring views and, if they are too low, forcing the cancellation of flights at Paro airport.
When to go
Climate, and therefore season, is certainly a consideration when planning your trip to Bhutan, especially if you are trekking. However, Bhutan’s altitude range, from subtropical valleys to alpine peaks, and its busy festival calendar means you can pretty much visit Bhutan at any time of the year to explore its attractions and witness colourful festivals.
Autumn is the ideal time for trekking and for travelling throughout the country from
late September to late November, when skies are generally clear and the high mountain
peaks rise to a vivid blue sky. While the climate is best in autumn, in Bhutan an
umbrella is usually never far from reach, and no matter when you go, there is likely
to be rain periods. Autumn is also the time of the popular Thimphu tsechu (dance
festival) and heralds the arrival of the black-
Winter is a good time for touring in western Bhutan, bird-
Spring, from March to May, is recognised as the second best time to visit Bhutan for touring and trekking. Though there are more clouds and rain than in the autumn, the magnificent rhododendrons, magnolias and other wildflowers are in bloom and birdlife is abundant. You can get occasional glimpses of the high peaks, but these are not the dramatic unobstructed views possible in autumn. Spring is also the time of the magnificent Paro tsechu.
Summer, from June to August, is the monsoon season. And what a monsoon! During these
three months 500mm of rain falls in Thimphu and up to a metre falls in the eastern
hills. The mountains are hidden, the valleys are shrouded in clouds, and roads disappear
in heavy downpours and floods. Summer is still a great time to visit Paro, Thimphu
and other parts of western Bhutan. In the mellow monsoon light, the vivid green rice
paddies contrast with the dark hills and the stark white dzongs to produce picture-
A major factor in choosing a time to visit Bhutan, and one that may override considerations
of weather patterns, is the festival schedule. These colourful events offer a first-