Environment and Climate

ENVIRONMENT

Bhutan occupies fascinating corner of the globe. Environmentalist and Researchers have long considered the eastern Himalaya to be an area critically important in terms of global biological diversity. Add to this the legacy of isolation, the sheer inaccessibility of much of the country, low human population and a traditional reverence of nature, and you have the ingredients for a singular showcase of nature conservation within a region increasingly impacted by overpopulation and indiscriminate development. 

The natural environment is mostly in undisturbed and pristine form. With a nationaly policy and law to always maintain 60% of the country under forest cover, the future of Bhutan's rich biodiversity is secure. Currently about 65% of the country is under forest cover and more than 26% of the land is under the protected areas comprising of four national parks. About 9% of the land fall under biological corridors in which wildlife sanctuaries and nature reserves connect protected areas.

CLIMATE

Bhutan's climate varies widely depending upon elevation. In the southern region it is tropical, with a monsoon season and eastern part is warmer than the west. The central valleys of Punakha, Wangduephodrang, Mongar, Trashigang and Lhuntshi enjoy a semi-tropical climate with cool winters, whereas Paro, Thimphu, Trongsa and Bumthang have relatively harsher climate including snowfall in winter.

In the valleys where most tourist activities are concentrated, the winters (mid-November to mid-March) are dry with daytime temperatures of 16 – 18 degree centigrade while evening and early morning are cold with night time temperature sometimes falling below zero.

Spring lasts from mid-March to the beginning of June, with temperatures warming gradually to 27-29 degree centigrade by day and about 18 degree centigrade at night. However, cold spells are possible up until the end of April, with a chance of new snow on the mountains above the valleys. Strong, gusty winds start blowing almost every day from noon to early evening . The first storms break, and they become more and more frequent with the approach of the monsoon which arrives in mid-June.

The country receives abundant rain especially in the south, as it gets full face of monsoon coming from the Bay of Bengal. To which its mountains form a barrier. At the end of September, after the last of the big rains, autumn suddenly arrives and sky gets clear, a brisk breeze picks up and temperature starts falling towards freezing at night although bright sunshine continues to keep the days warm. Autumn is the magnificent season that lasts until mid-November and it is the best time to visit this fascinating mountain Kingdom.