Bhutan, The Land of the Thunder Dragon, is an extraordinary little kingdom in the Himalayas that lies in between India and Tibet. With stunning landscapes, Bhutan is a dream for all lovers of nature and the outdoors. But it is the country's strong sense of tradition and culture, passionately preserved to the present, that holds the enduring image that most travellers will endear to.
Vajrayana Buddhism influences every aspect of Bhutanese life, its teachings form the very essence of a distinct identity that belongs to its population of 750,000, who incidentally are the surviving believers of this ancient school of Mahayana Buddhism.
Another unique characteristic that defines Bhutan is its own emphasis on the country's Gross National Happiness index, which highlights the importance of economic growth and development, cultural preservation, environmental sustainability and good governance, to name a few. By virtue of these guiding principles, Bhutan has taken a strict stance concerning environmental preservation to protect the country's flora and fauna—that is just as rich as its Buddhist traditions. Bhutan might be a poor nation compared to many in the world but its fertile lands, small population and its unorthodox emphasis on happiness makes it a richly balanced country. It is this blend of pristine nature with social harmony in a deeply spiritual land that has earned the gentle kingdom of Bhutan the title ``The Last Shangri-la``.
Mar - May
Jun - Aug
Sep - Nov
Dec - Feb
Spring is clearly the season for rebirth and reawakening as apple, pear, cherry and peach trees blossom from March to April while forests of rhododendrons flower right through to May. Only the lucky ones get to witness the jacarandas bloom at Punakha Dzong because they appear only for a month. It stays rather cold in March with temperatures ranging from 0-16°C and gets warmer in April and May with temperatures as low as 4°C and as high as 26°C.
The summer months of Bhutan see more rain than usual, though it is a common misconception that summer in Bhutan is also its “monsoon season”—it only drizzles lightly with showers not lasting longer than an hour; the rain does get slightly heavier when autumn looms. While it is easier to access the sought-after sights and spots, the summer climate allows for seasonal produce like the rare Matsutake and Chanterelle mushrooms to flourish. With bushier trees and thicker grass lushly regrown over the hills and mountains of red clay soil, green is very much the colour of the season. Temperatures range from a low of 13°C to a high of 30°C.
With paddy fields all golden, autumn is the time to harvest. Markets are filled with the freshest produce and the festivals are a spectacle to behold. Temperatures stay relatively warm till October, when it gets as cold as 5°C and as warm as 25°C.