Photos by Lincoln Potter

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Climate

Bhutan has four distinct seasons.

Each has its advantages and disadvantages for the visitor. Notice should be taken of the predictable weather patterns before making decisions when to visit. Remember even predictable weather can vary dramatically in different areas and in 24-hour periods. The southern plains close to the Indian border are warmer and more tropical than higher central valleys.

Spring is arguably the most beautiful time of the year in the kingdom. The fierce cold that characterises the winter months tends to subside towards the end of February (around Bhutanese New Year, Lhosar). Rhododendron begins to bloom, first in the warmer east. At the height of spring, the end of March, the whole kingdom comes to life with the spectacular flaming red, pink and white of the rhododendron blossom.

The annual monsoon from the Bay of Bengal affects the south and central regions. The north is inhabited in the summer months when nomads return to the higher plains to tend to their yak herds.

The end of the monsoon, also a popular time to visit, marks the closing months of summer. The days are filled with glorious cobalt skies and warm weather.

The autumn months of September to November bring shorter days and cooler evenings. The days remain lovely with crisp clear skies. Views over the high Himalayas are usually only possible from September to March.

Come the end of November and the weather takes on its winter coat. The days remain crisp and the nights turn cold. The southern areas, being much lower, have a more temprate climate and considerably warmer winters.

Clear skies in the winter months bring with them cold weather but it’s also the best time of the year to view the snowcapped peaks of the high Himalayan mountains