Bhutan, the enchanting little country of happy people, spicy food, beautiful monasteries and splendid sceneries, is a place worth travelling to. I can guarantee you will leave this country feeling energetic, recharged and spiritual. So are you wondering when is the best time to visit Bhutan so you can experience all the fun?
WHAT IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT BHUTAN
1. SPRING: MARCH – MAY
The weather is pleasant during these months and Bhutan is vibrant and lively as ever. It’s also the time for the biggest festival Paro Tshechu. This is also a good time for trekking and rafting; adventure enthusiasts can have a great experience.
2. AUTUMN: SEPTEMBER – NOVEMBER
Autumn is the season of changing colours. The clear skies of Bhutan give a panoramic view of the majestic Himalayan range. This is the most traditional season of Bhutan and hence has a number of Tshechus (festivals) in different cities. The atmosphere is lively and full of energy.
3. MONSOON: JUNE – AUGUST
Do you enjoy the rainy season? The lush green foliage, the beautiful grey clouds! Bhutan in Monsoon is extremely scenic but you might face problems like road blockages and flight cancellations.
4. WINTER: DECEMBER – FEBRUARY
The winters in Bhutan are freezing ! The mountains are covered in snow and the temperature falls really low that is, from -5 deg. C to 15 deg. C. Bhutan in winters is magical! But only if you’re comfortable with that cold. If you can enjoy the weather, winter is the best time to go!
WHY YOU MUST VISIT THIS COUNTRY?
Bhutan is for the spiritual, the adventure enthusiasts, the foodies, the nature and wildlife freaks, the shopaholics and the culture lovers. There is a wide range of activities and things you can do in this country. It’s vibrant, serene and full of life! The peaceful monasteries, the colourful Tshechus (festivals), the flavourful food and the spectacular view are all very inviting.
THE EXCITING FESTIVALS OF BHUTAN
If you want a very authentic experience then you must visit during the time of the Tshechu (monastic festivals). During these festivals all the communities come together and celebrate with pomp and joy.
The Tshechus are monastic and religious festivals celebrated on the 10th day of the month according to the lunar calendar. It’s celebrated on a large scale where all the communities come to seek blessings. There are religious dances called Cham dance where dancers wear colourful masks and enact different stories. The most popular Tshechus are the Paro Tshechu and Thimphu Tshechu. The amalgamation of all the locals and travellers makes it even more exciting and fun.
1. PARO TSHECHU
The Paro Tshechu is one of the largest and most lively festivals in the city of Paro. It’s celebrated in the spring season and people from different districts throng to Paro to indulge in the festivities. The festival is entertaining because of the Cham dances and other religious activities. On the last day of the festival the monks present a beautiful embroidered painting known as Throngdrols. An impressive number of cultural art pieces are displayed and it’s a spectacular experience for the tourists. It’s said that if you see the Throngdrols at least once then all your sins get washed away.
2. THIMPHU TSHECHU
Thimphu being the capital of Bhutan celebrates the biggest and most grand Tshechu. Its celebrated in the autumn season. People from all over Bhutan come to Thimphu to join the celebrations.
There are a number of Cham dances that are performed during this Tshechu like Zhana Nga chham (Dances of the 21 Black Hats), the Tungam chham (Dance of the Terrifying Deities) and the Durdag (Dance of the Lords of the Cremation Ground). Tshechus are observed as holidays or time off from work hence everyone is in a festive mood and ready to have a good time.
Thimphu Tshechu is a great experience for a traveller as you get to observe the way the locals celebrate and you can join in and celebrate with them.
3. THE BLACK NECKED CRANE FESTIVAL
The Black Necked Crane is one of Bhutan’s most treasured possessions; it’s an endangered bird that this country has been trying to preserve. Thus, the Black Necked Crane Festival is an annual festival celebrated to remind and encourage people to conserve and protect our environment. Its celebrated in the Pobhjikha valley during the autumn season. There are lots of fun dances and activities performed by the children and other locals. It’s a time to rejoice and spread awareness at the same time.
4. THE TAKIN FESTIVA
Takin is the national animal of Bhutan and this festival is celebrated so that travellers and tourist can spot this beautiful animal in its natural habitat at the Jigme Dorji National Park. The festival is made for the nature and wildlife loving adventure seekers! The tourists have a wonderful experience as they go on long treks, feast on authentic Bhutanese food and get to observe the natural beauty of this country.
5. THE NOMAD FESTIVAL
If you’re a cultural junkie and love exploring different tribes and varied cultures then you’re going to have a ball at this festival . The Nomad festival is held in the Bumthang Valley. All the tribes and nomads come together to share their stories and lives with you! Its a very vibrant festival and you can buy various handicrafts and even try on their ethnic attire. So don’t miss this one out because you’re in for a lot of culture and fun!
There are many more festivals like the numerous Tshechus of different villages and towns within Bhutan. Few other festivals like Chorten Kora and Gomphu Kora are also celebrated with as much vigour and spirit.
MUST VISIT PLACES
1. THE TAKTSUNG PALPHUG MONASTERY
Also known as the Tigers Nest, this monastery is perched on a cliff 900 meters high. It overlooks the Paro valley and the majestic Himalayas. After parking your vehicle there’s an 8 km hike north to the monastery. On your hike you’ll cross a chapel of butter lamps and a waterfall near the Snow Lion Cave. The Taktsung Monastery is one of the popular attractions for a traveller. Legends say that Guru Rinpoche appeared on a Tigress and introduced Buddhism to Bhutan in this Monastery.
2. PUNAKHA DZONG
It’s the second biggest dzong or moastrey of Bhutan. Also known as Pungtang Dechen Photrang Dzong meaning ‘The Palace of Great Happiness’. It’s located at the convergence of the two rivers Po Chhu and Mo Chhu. It’s a 3 hours drive from Thimpu and is the second oldest dzong in Bhutan. Due to its location it always has a pleasant climate and is surrounded by beautiful lilac jacaranda trees. The Punakha Dzong displays the ancient yet splendid architecture and is a must-visit!
3. DOCHULA PASS
It’s situated on the way from Punakha to Thimphu. The pass is breathtakingly beautiful. Providing thrilling drive and a panoramic view of the Himalayas. The Dochula Pass is usually cloudy and foggy but on a clear day the view is spectacular! This pass has a very holy aura as the Druk Wangyal Lhakhang Temple is situated at the tip of the pass. The 108 Chortens (Buddhist shrines) that line the pass are also beautiful and invite lot of travellers to just sit and sip some hot Su Jaa (Butter tea) in winters.
4. CHELE LA
The highest motor-able pass of Bhutan is the Chele La Pass. If you are seeking thrill and adventure then you must go to this pass. This pass is situated between the Haa and Paro valley. Its 3988 meters high and passes through a thick forest that offers a lovely view of the vibrant flowers like the rhododendrons. On a clear day you can also spot the Jumolhari and the Jichu Drake. The pass is decorated with vibrant prayer flags throughout the year which give it a very spiritual aura.
5. TRONGSA DZONG
Surrounded by thick forest and a wide variety of wildlife, Throngsa is located in the heart of Bhutan. A nature and wildlife lover would fall in love with this place. The Throngsa Dzong was the place from where first and the second Kings ruled the country. The Dzong is well fortified and is surrounded with temples and courts. Tourists who are interested in the history of Bhutan must visit Throngsa to learn more.
Read more about the enchanting country of Bhutan, and share with us your experiences in the comments below!
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