Located at an altitude of 2320m, Thimphu is one hour drive from Paro international airport. Home to approximately hundred thousand people, Thimphu is likely the smallest capital in the world and surprisingly, without any traffic lights. The small town is caught between tradition and modernization. While the town still inherits its age old indigenous local Bhutanese elements, one can also notice the gradual infrastructure developments. The city offers plethora of activities, places to see, hiking trails, trekking, shopping, eating out options and night life. While most of the restaurant offers bhutanese and Indian cuisines, of late many specialty restaurants such as Thai, Gourmet burgers, Coffee houses and Korean has also sprung up. The night life is usually vibrant during weekends, joints like Mojo Park, Viva City and Space 34 are widely popular amongst locals. Refer to our eating out & shopping option for more detail.
Seat of all the government offices, religious bodies and the Royal family of Bhutan, the picturesque valley of Thimphu offers some interesting places to see in Bhutan such as, Buddha Point, Memorial Chorten, Semtokha Dzong , The Institute of Zorig Chusum , Folk Heritage Museum, National Library , Institute of Traditional Medicine, Centenary Farmers’ Market and Tashichodzong . The majestic Tashichodzong is Thimphu’s most iconic landmark and houses His Majesty’s office. In addition the fortress also holds the annual Thimphu Festival. Please refer to our events calendar for dates and information on other events in the city. The outskirts of the city offers most amazing hiking trails especially towards Tango Chari monastery, Kuenselphodrang and BBS tower. The Druk path trek also be alternatively undertaken from Thimphu as against normal route of Paro to Thimphu.
There are abundant choices of hotels in Thimphu, be it luxury five star hotels to mid-range or budget hotels. Some prominent luxury hotels in Thimphu are Taj Tashi, Le Méridien and Amankora Thimphu. For detailed information please refer to out hotels in Thimphu link. It is recommend that hotels in Thimphu are pre-booked especially during peak period such as Thimphu Festival. PS: dont forget to take a personal picture and get it printed on a legal bhutanese stamp. One can get this done at Bhutan post office and may use to post letters or cards from Bhutan.
Places to see in Thimphu.
Memorial Chorten: Built in 1974 in the memory of Third King, Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, popularly regarded as father of modern Bhutan. It also serves as a place for Thimphu residents to pay their daily respect and circumambulate the stupa.
Tashichodzong: The fortress serves as the office of the King and also as the headquarters of monastic body of Bhutan. Bhutan's spiritual head resides here during summer. The fortress is a hallmark of Bhutanese architecture.
Simtokha Dzong: Located approximately four miles from Thimphu, this small Dzong, situated on a lofty ridge, is the first fortress among the chain of fortresses built around the country by Shubdrung Nawang Namgyal in 17th century.In 1961 the Third King of Bhutan converted the fortress into an Institute for traditional studies for lay student to be trained as Bhutanese Language teacher.
National Library: The history of Bhutan lies imprinted in archaic texts that are preserved at the National Library. Besides thousands of manuscripts and ancient texts, the library also has modern academic books and printing blocks for prayer flags.
Painting School: This institute teaches the techniques of traditional paintings, sculptures and other forms of traditional arts and one can view the students at work.
Indigenous Hospital: Commonly known Institute of traditional medicine. The rich medicines abundant in Kingdom are prepared here. The institute also imparts the art of herbal medicines to would-be practitioners.
Folk Hetitage Museum: Housed in a 19th century farmhouse, the museum displays the living style of the 19th century Bhutanese family. The premises also houses an authentic Bhutanese restaurant.
Textile Museum: This museum displays the colorful and intricately hand woven old and new textiles of Bhutan.
Weekend Market: If you are in Thimphu during weekends, then you should not miss a visit to the weekend market. Vendors from throughout the region arrive on Friday afternoon and remain selling their goods until Sunday night. It's an interesting place to visit, where village people bring their products to sell such as vegetables, foodstuffs and handicrafts at the northern end of the market is a collection of stalls called the indigenous goods and handicrafts section. Here you will find locally produced goods, including religious objects, baskets, fabrics and different hats from various minority groups.
Zoo: Takin is believed to be crafted by a Divine Madman – Drukpa Kinley. This animal’s appearance resembles a cow from behind and goat from the front. It is worthwhile taking the time to see these strange animals. It’s a five-minute walk from the road to a viewing area where you can take advantage of few holes in the fence to take photographs.
Tango Temple: With approximately 12 kilometers drive from Thimphu one will arrive at the starting point of Tango hike. It takes about an hour to arrive at the temple and requires about about 900 feet of climbing. Built in 12th century by Gyalwa Lhanampa, at present it serves as the monastic school for buddhist philosophy, metaphysics, mathematics, poetry and many other buddhist studies.
Chari Monastery: A short distance beyond the turn-off to Tango Temple the road ends at Dodina (elevation 26003). A walk of about 1 ½ hrs leads to Cheri Goemba (Cheri Dorji Dhen). The trail starts by crossing a lovely covered bridge that spans the wang chuu. A silver chorten inside the goemba holds the ashes of the shabdrung’s father.
Buddha Point: This iconic landmark is located approximately five kilometers from the city at Kuenselphodrang. Buddha point houses the statue of the tallest sitting Buddha in Asia. The place is a popular place for locals to unwind or go for a walk. From the point one can have 360 degree view of Thimphu city.
Trophel Tours & Treks is accredited by Tourism Council of Bhutan (License No: 1030972) and member of Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and Global Sustainable Tourism Council.