Geography

Land

Mountain-ranges.jpg

Bhutan (locally Drukyul and officially the kingdom of Bhutan) is perhaps one of the most fascinating South Asian countries to visit. This tiny Himalayan kingdom is home to roughly 750,000 people. As a landlocked country, the history of Bhutan survives in the form of ancient fortresses (Dzongs) and sacred temples perched on steep cliffs and mountain tops. Stupas, historic sites, traditional villages all have played crucial roles in shaping the course of its history. 

This fabled land is beautifully nestled between two giant neighbors-China in the North and India in the South. Bhutan’s capital and largest city is Thimphu

Bhutan, about the size of Switzerland, encompasses many different land use patterns. More than 72 percent of its land is forest while cultivated agriculture land constitute only 3 percent.  The landscape includes a variety of diverse geo-eco zones ranging from plains as low as 160  meters rising to towering peaks of more than 7000 meters elevation. 

Bhutan reveals an astonishing wealth of natural beauty that consists of a bewildering variety of flora and fauna. The country has a vast repository of  exotic valleys and mountains crisscrossed by a network of swift flowing rivers. Many highly endangered species of birds and animals makes Bhutan an adventurers dream come true for the die-hard lovers of nature. The array of flora and fauna available in Bhutan is unparalleled due to a wide climatic range and a national commitment to conservation that perhaps makes Bhutan one of the last remaining biodiversity hotspots in the world. 

Climate

The climate in Bhutan varies with elevation, from subtropical zones in the south to temperate zones in the central to polar zones in the north. The country experiences five major seasons: spring, summer, monsoon, autumn and winter. The great geographical diversity combined with an equally diverse climatic condition contributes to Bhutan’s outstanding range of biodiversity. The inner Himalayas experience a  temperate climate. Most places are pleasant all the year round with cool nights. The northern mountain ranges are snow-clad and cold throughout the year. The peaks are sources of our rivers which drain into the Indian plains. The mountains also act as a barrier to the cold winds and regulates the monsoon wind patterns. The average annual rainfall is 1,000 mm, but precipitation varies by eco-climatic zones. Thimphu on average experiences  650 mm of annual rainfall. 

There is no seasonal constraint on traveling in Bhutan. Even in  the  severest winter months (December and January) there is a  bright sun and splendid views. Summer months are humid and overcast with occasional landslides and road blockages.  

The best seasons to visit Bhutan are during spring (March-May) and autumn (September-November). These seasons marks the beginning of many festivals occurring throughout the country. The spring is a flowering season. The autumn season offer the clearest skies and best views of the magnificent mountains and beautiful valleys. Nonetheless, one can visit Bhutan anytime during the year.