The kingdom of Bhutan lies deep in the eastern Himalayas. It is surrounded by the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) of China to the north, and the Indian territories of Assam and West Bengal to the south, Arunachal Pradesh to the east and Sikkim to the west. The tiny landlocked kingdom has a total area of 46,500 km² and spreads between meridians 89°E and 93°E, and latitudes 27°N and 29°N

Bhutan has been listed as one of the top 10 biodiversity hot spots in the world. Bhutan has total forest coverage of over 70% with the constitution requiring 60% of the country under forest coverage for all times to come.

The array of flora and fauna available in Bhutan is unparalleled due to the conservation efforts along with favorable altitude and climatic range. Physically, the country can be divided into three zones:

Alpine Zone (4000m and above) with no forest cover.

Temperate Zone (2000 to 4000m) with conifer or broadleaf forests.

Subtropical Zone (150m to 2000m) with Tropical or Subtropical vegetation.

 The different type of vegetations in Bhutan are fir, mixed conifer, bluepine, chirpine, broadleaf mixed with conifer, upland hardwood forest, lowland hardwood forest, and Tropical lowland forests. Almost 60% of the plant species found in the eastern. Himalayan region is present in Bhutan.

Bhutan boasts of about 300 species of medicinal plants and about 46 species of rhododendrons. Some common sights for the visitors would be magnolias, junipers, orchids of varied hues medicinal plants, Daphne, giant rhubarb, the blue and trees such as fir, pine, and oak.

A wide range of rare and endangered animals can also be found frequenting the dense jungles and high mountains of Bhutan. Due to the country’s conservation efforts and its untouched natural environment, Bhutan has a  thriving populations of some of the rarest animals on earth and has thus been classified as one of the last biodiversity hotspots in the world. Some high altitude species are the snow leopards, Bengal tigers that are found at altitude ranging 3000 to 4000 meters, the red panda, the gorals and the langurs, the Himalayan black bear, sambars, wild pigs, barking deer, blue sheep and the musk deer.

In the tropical forests of Southern Bhutan, one can come across clouded leopards, the one-horned rhinoceros, elephants, water buffaloes, and swamp deer. You can even find the Golden Langur, a species of monkey that is unique to Bhutan.

Bhutan is also home to a variety of bird species. It is recognized as an area of high biological diversity and is known as the East Himalayan ‘hot spot’, the hub of 221 global endemic bird areas. The recorded number of bird species is over 670 and is expected to rise as new birds are discovered every season.

In addition, 57% of Bhutan’s globally threatened birds and 90% of the country’s rare birds are dependent on the forests. Bhutan has about 415 resident bird species. These birds are altitudinal refugees, moving up and down the mountains depending upon the season and weather condition. Migrating birds that migrate during the winters are the buntings, waders, ducks, thrushes and the birds of prey. Some 40 species are partial migrants and they include species such as swifts, cuckoos, bee-eaters, flycatchers and warblers. Bhutan is also home to about 16 bird species that are endangered worldwide. These include the White-bellied heron, Pallas Fish eagle and Blyth’s Kingfisher to name a few. Phobjikha valley in Wangdue Phodrang and Bomdeling in Trashi Yangtse are also two especially important locations for the endangered Black Necked Cranes.

As one of the ten global hotspots, Bhutan is committed to preserve and protect its rich environment through its government and environmental organizations. This commitment is apparent in the fact that the kingdom has the distinct honor of being one of the only nations whose forest cover has actually grown over the years.

Some of the proactive organizations working in Bhutan are:

National Environment Commission.

Royal Society for Protection of Nature.

Department of Forest and Park Services.

Nature Conservation Division.

Bhutan Trust Fund.

Donor Organization.

Association of Bhutan Tour Operators.



The relief of Bhutan can be divided into three altitude zones, namely, the Greater Himalayas of the north, the hills and valleys of the Inner Himalayas, and the foothills and plains of the Sub-Himalayan Foothills.

The Greater Himalayas

The towering Himalayan Mountains of Bhutan dominate the north of the country, where peaks can easily reach 7,000 meters (22,966 ft) above the sea level. Some of the best known peaks are Jichudrakey and Jumo Lhari. Permanent snow, glaciers and barren rocks form the main features of this zone. These snowy, glacial high lands are the sources for many of the rivers in Bhutan. At a little higher altitude, you will reach the tree line, the point where the vegetation changes from forest into small bushes of juniper and rhododendrons.

The Inner Himalayas

The valleys of Bhutan are traversed by the country’s five major river systems and their tributaries which ultimately drain to the Brahmaputra River in India. The valleys are linked by a series of passes (called “La” in Dzongkha, the national language of Bhutan). Between the Haa valley and Paro valley is the Chele La pass at 3,780 meters (12,402 ft), the highest pass crossed by a Bhutanese highway. The Lateral Road from Thimphu to Punakha crosses the Dochu La Pass at 3,116 meters (10,223 ft)), which features 108 chortens (stupas) built to commemorate the expulsion of Assamese guerrillas. To the east of Wangdue Phodrang is the Pele La pass at 3,390 meters (11,122 ft)). Continuing to the east along the main highway, other major passes include the Yotang La, Thrumshing La and Kori La passes. The vegetation in this zone is a mixture of broad-leaved and coniferous forest.

The Sub-Himalayan Foothills

Stretched along the southern border of the country, the Duar Plain drops sharply away from the Himalayas into the large tracts of sub-tropical forests, grasslands and bamboo jungles. The altitude of the southern foothills ranges from about 200 meters at the lowest point to 2000 meters. This zone is rich in dense and sub-tropical vegetation.


The climate in Bhutan is extremely varied, which can be attributed to two main factors-the vast differences in altitude present in the country and the influence of North Indian monsoons. The climate is very diverse, changing with elevation, producing striking meteorological contrasts and differing exposure to sunlight. The Southern part of the country has a hot and humid subtropical climate throughout the year. Temperatures can vary anywhere between 15-30 degrees Celsius (59- 86 degrees Fahrenheit). The Central parts of the country consists of temperate and deciduous forests, the climate is more seasonal with warm summers and cool and dry winters. In the far Northern reaches of the kingdom, the weather is much colder during winter. Mountain peaks are perpetually covered in snow and lower parts are still cool in summer owing to the high altitude terrain. 


Bhutan has four distinct seasons in a year. The Indian summer monsoon begins from late June to late September and is mostly confined to the southern border region of Bhutan. These rains bring between 60 and 90 percent of the western region’s rainfall. Annual precipitation ranges widely in various parts of the country. In the Northern border towards Tibet, the region gets about forty millimeters of precipitation a year which is primarily snow. In the temperate central regions, a yearly average of around 1,000 millimeters is more common, and 7,800 millimeters per year has been registered at some locations in the humid, subtropical south, ensuring the thick tropical forest, or savanna. 

Bhutan’s generally dry spring starts in early March and lasts until mid-April. Summer weather commences from mid April to June with occasional light showers and wind. The heavier summer rains last from late June to late September.  Autumn starts from late September or early October to late November and follows the rainy season. It is characterized by bright, sunny days and some early snowfalls at the higher elevations. 

From late November until March, winter sets in, with frost throughout much of the country and snowfall common above elevations of 3,000 meters. The winter northeast monsoon brings gale-force winds with lightning and thunder at the highest altitudes through high mountain passes, giving Bhutan its name – Drukyul, which means Land of the Thunder Dragon in Dzongkha (the native language). 

Average Temperatures in Bhutan

It should be noted that average temperatures are recorded from valley floors. There can be considerable divergences from the recorded figures depending upon elevation.