March is the first month of spring in Bhutan. Temperatures increase after the cold winter, but altitude has a huge effect on weather across the country. The southern parts of Bhutan bordering India are subtropical and can get pretty hot in March. The town of Gelephu, near the Royal Manas National Park, for instance, sees temperatures between 59 and 84° F (15 and 29° C) in March, and often gets even hotter.
Conditions in the mid-hills are more pleasant, with the conditions in Punakha (4250 feet/1300 m.) being cool but comfortable in March. Average temperatures range from 52 to 72° F (11 to 22° C). The capital Thimphu, which is higher at 7200 feet (2200 m.), sees cooler temperatures year-round, which in March range from 61 to 39° F (4 to 16° C).
Skies are generally clear in March, meaning you're likely to be treated to good mountain views, whether you're trekking or touring by car.
Crowds & Costs
March is the start of Bhutan's spring peak season. Because traveler numbers are restricted by the high Bhutan visa costs, nowhere in the country is every very crowded (with the exception of some festivals held at monasteries!), but if you're traveling to Bhutan in March you should expect to pay higher prices for tour packages.
It's also a good idea to book flights as far in advance as possible, as there are limited connection points for flights into Bhutan (Delhi, Kathmandu, and Bangkok), so flights with convenient connections can book out quickly.
Where to Go
With lingering cool temperatures at higher altitudes (which is a lot of Bhutan!) and less comfortable conditions in the southern lowlands, March is an ideal time to stick to the towns and more accessible regions of Western Bhutan. Thimphu, Paro, and Punakha/Wangdue offer a range of cultural and natural attractions. Travelers keen to get active can enjoy some beautiful hikes on this tried-and-true circuit.
What to Do
Spring is generally a great time to go trekking in Bhutan, thanks to the clear skies and great views. However, because the temperatures at higher altitudes can still be very cold in March, and most treks in Bhutan require camping (rather than staying at teahouse accommodation like in neighboring Nepal), many less experienced or dedicated trekkers might want to avoid long treks in March.
There are many options for day hikes throughout Bhutan, where you can stretch your legs and enjoy beautiful countryside and mountain views, and then return to a warm hotel at night. A great compromise between comfort and activity is to join a tour that combines day-long hikes with cultural sightseeing.
Events in March
Punakha Dromchoe, late February or early March. This three-day religious festival in the Punakha Valley is preceded by a reenactment of a 17th-century battle, complete with costumed warriors.
Paro Tsechu, late March or early April. One of Bhutan's many colorful Buddhist festivals with masked dances. This one is especially popular as it falls in peak tourist season, so book early if you want to see it.
Gasa Tsechu. Another Buddhist festival with masked dances, this one also includes the unfurling of a large painting, called a thondrol.
Traveling to Bhutan in March? Check out these great itineraries
Nature and Culture in Bhutan - 10 Days. This comprehensive tour provides a great overview of Bhutan's cultural and natural attractions, and March is a pleasant time to get out and about outdoors.
Bhutan Trails, Wildlife, and Culture - 10 Days. Wildlife enthusiasts won't want to miss the chance to learn about Bhutanese birds and animals while also spending time at some of it's best cultural attractions.
Bhutan Highlights: Thimphu, Punakha, and Paro - 6 Days. Travelers with limited time in Bhutan will enjoy checking out the monasteries, temples, palaces, and other attractions in the towns of Thimphu and Paro, and the natural beauty of the Punakha Valley.