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Best time to trek Bhutan KANDOO | BHUTAN TEMPLE

Best time to trek in Bhutan

Along with deciding which route you want to trek, deciding when you want to go are the two most important decisions you need to make planning a trip to Bhutan.  Weather will be a big factor in this but we would recommend that you also think about the other things you might want to do while you are there including the possibility of experiencing one of the Bhutanese festivals which are a must-see if they fit in with your schedule.

Weather in Bhutan for trekking

bhutan temperatures SmallAlthough Bhutan is closer to equator than Europe it still lies in the Northern Hemisphere and has a severe winter. Nearly all of the country is above 2000m and this amplifies the effect on temperature of the seasonal changes and as you go higher into the mountains the winter period is very cold. The chart opposite is the temperature in Thimpu, the capital city, which sits in a valley so you can expect a lot colder than this higher up.

Although most of the trails remain open, trekking is very difficult and is not recommended as snowfalls make paths slow and dangerous. The high passes on the Snowman trek in Bhutan are particularly affected by snow, so treks  on this route do not operate during this period. Generally, if you choose a trek during this season, make sure to pack warm gear and a very highly rated sleeping bag.

Bhutan starts to emerge from the coldest part of winter in the middle of February with temperatures increasing progressively. Rain becomes less frequent with each passing month and increasingly tends to be brief when it is present. In Bhutan, this is still the quieter period and is markedly less busy than the Autumn months of September and October. This makes it a great time to visit.

JUNE TO AUGUST

June, July and August are the Monsoon season in Bhutan which means heavy rainfall, almost every day. The graph on the left is cm of rainfall on average every month and the graph on the right shows the actual number of days when it rains. During this period, paths turn to mudbaths and leaches appear in their thousands making trekking very unpleasant. As a result, Kandoo does not operate group treks during this season although we can arrange a private trek for 2 or more people if these are the only dates that fit into your schedule.

Bhutan rainfall Smallrainy days BHUTAN Small

SEPTEMBER TO NOVEMBER

September, October and November are the most popular moths for trekking in Nepal. As the monsoon passes, temperatures remain quite high but the humidity declines to comfortable levels and most days are rain free.  None of the trails ever really get busy, so this is not a concern,  but the main tourist hotspots like the Tiger's Nest will be extremely busy during this period.

 Summary of weather in Bhutan

February to May
sunshine showers icon
As Bhutan moves out of its winter the weather starts to get warmer and showers are generally brief and infrequent. This is a good time to trek with temperatures increasing as you move from February and getting much warmer in April and May. Dry, quiet and getting warmer
June to August
rain icon
With the arrival of the monsoon, temperatures rise, humidity goes through the roof and daily downpours in the afternoon are the norm. Unless you particularly like being wet this is a not the best time to trek. Monsoon season
September to November
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The busiest trekking season in Bhutan starts in September and lasts into the early days of December when temperatures fall away rapidly. Warm, dry days and clear, chillier nights become the established pattern and rain showers are brief and light.
Warm, dry and clear
December to January
sunshine snow icon
As the days get shorter the temperatures drop dramatically and with increased precipitation there are regular snowfalls which make for beautiful mountains but difficult trails. Trekking at this time of year can be exciting but only with the best of warm weather gear. Cold and frequent showers

Festivals in Bhutan

Festival in BhutanAlthough Kandoo is fundamentally a trekking business, we always try to see the very best of a country if we have travelled a long way to get there. In Bhutan one of the very best things to see is one of their many festivals. In Bhutan the festivals are called ‘Tshechu’s’ which actually means ‘tenth day’ and all monasteries, temples and Dzongs hold one Tshechu every calendar year.  

As the translation suggest, all the festivals happen on the 10th of a month and celebrate the birthday of Guru Rimpoche, one of Bhutan's most revered priests. For some reason although the day is always the 10th, the month of the festival changes for each temple so whenever you are thinking of trekking there is probably a festival somewhere. For more information about the festival calendar see here

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Rachel Miller

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