The perfect time to visit Bhutan depends on your reasons for coming. The best seasons weather-wise for general travel are spring (March and April) and autumn (October and November), but it will also depend on whether your main goal is trekking, avoiding the crowds or attending a specific festival.

In general, October is the single most popular month for foreign visitors to Bhutan, closely followed by April.

There are some hotel discounts in the off-season winter months of December to February and monsoon months of June to August but in general, there's not a huge seasonal price difference for tours. Here's everything you need to know about picking the perfect time to visit Bhutan.

October is the single best month to visit – unless you dislike crowds

With its perfect combination of comfortable temperatures, clear skies, spectacular festivals and good trekking, October is the single best month to visit Bhutan – that's why it's the most popular month for international visitors.

The downside is you'll encounter large groups at the more popular sights and throughout western Bhutan, as well as more trekking groups in camping areas. Don’t worry, though, there are still plenty of spots that you can enjoy by yourself. Even at its busiest time, the crowds in Bhutan can't compare to neighboring Nepal or India.

Mid-March to May is the best time to see spectacular rhododendron blooms

Springtime in the eastern Himalaya brings not only delightful weather but entire hillsides of pink, red and white rhododendron blooms, as well as the dramatic spiky blooms of Bhutan’s many red silk cotton trees. Temperatures are warm but not hot, the skies may not be quite as clear as October or November but the fields are greener and snow still shrouds the higher peaks.

April is the second most popular month for foreign visitors, most of whom visit the beloved Paro tsechu (masked dance) festival (usually in late March/early April). Early in the season is also a great time for day hiking sections of the low-altitude Trans Bhutan Trail – treks into higher elevations are best left until late April and May.

Trekkers on their way to Maurothang, Bhutan
The right weather is imperative for a safe trek in Bhutan © Pascal Boegli / Getty Images

April, May, October and November are the best months for trekking

The spring and autumn (fall) seasons are easily the best times to go trekking in the Bhutanese Himalaya. Spring brings colorful blooms but also more rain and mud than autumn, as well as more snow on the higher passes. Autumn offers clearer Himalayan panoramas and pleasant daytime high temperatures of around 20°C (68°F).

Avoid trekking during the monsoon season (June to mid-September) when leeches, damaged roads and raging river crossings make trekking too much of an adventure to be considered fun. September is also a soggy, cloudy month. March is worth considering for lower-altitude treks such as the Saga La and Bumdrak routes.

November is the best month to spot black-necked cranes

By early November up to 600 black-necked cranes have established their winter home in Bhutan’s beautiful Phobjikha Valley, making it one of the best places globally to spot these beautiful and auspicious birds. The cranes stay in the valley until March but November offers the most comfortable viewing conditions before winter temperatures drop below freezing.

Most of Bhutan is visitable during the winter months of November to February, except for the high mountain passes of the main trekking areas – these are snowbound until late spring. There are very few tourists in winter and not much (if any) snow in the main valleys, making it a potentially lovely, and quiet, time to visit. Just be sure to pack plenty of warm clothing.

February to March is the best time to beat the crowds

Lower-lying areas such as the subtropical Punakha Valley and most of eastern Bhutan are already comfortably warm in February, making this a great time to visit these regions. However, winter snow still lingers in the higher, colder valleys of places like Phobjikha and Bumthang in central Bhutan. Head out to eastern Bhutan in February and you can enjoy the fabulous Chorten Kora festival, which attracts pilgrims from across eastern Bhutan and India’s Arunachal Pradesh.

The Punakha Drubchen Festival in late February is another of Bhutan's most dramatic festivals, reaching a crescendo with the recreation of a 17th-century battle with Tibet that features hundreds of costumed warriors. A three-day tsechu (masked dance festival) then follows.

Bhutanese Man shows a Chinese tourist how to make a marigold wreath
Bhutan's beautiful wildflowers are used to decorate everything © Edwin Tan / Getty Images

July is the best time to spot alpine wildflowers

The monsoon months of June to mid-September are not the best time to visit Bhutan. Rain clouds block out the Himalayan peaks, the daily deluge plays havoc with mountain roads, and domestic flights are frequently delayed. But there are some upsides!

The high-altitude wildflowers in mountain valleys such as Haa are at their peak and this is the only time to spot the almost mythological blue poppy, as well as beautiful anemones, primula and irises. Bhutan, and the eastern Himalaya in general, receives more rainfall than anywhere else in the Himalaya and boasts a much higher rate of biodiversity. The monsoon months also bring wild mushroom season, as well as summer festivals in little-visited places like the lovely Haa Valley.

Bhutanese festivals

Whenever you visit, do your best to structure your itinerary around one of Bhutan's spectacular and colorful religious festivals. Large crowds of Bhutanese attend the festivals, dressed in their finest traditional robes for the social highlight of the year, and a motley crew of holy men and hucksters also set up shop.

Most festivals are scheduled according to the lunar calendar and dates are only confirmed by astrologers a year or so in advance. Check the website of Bhutan's Department of Tourism and major tour operators for the latest dates.

The most popular of Bhutan’s many tsechus (masked dance festivals) are held in Paro and Thimphu in April and September respectively, and though they are spectacular affairs they do attract a lot of tourists.

Head out to smaller regional tsechus in places like Haa, Gasa, Mongar and Trongsa and you'll likely instead be the guest of honor as the only foreigner in town. The best of Bhutan’s secular festivals is October’s Royal Highland Festival in remote mountainous Laya, which features horse races, traditional music and even yak beauty contests.

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