Thimphu is the bustling capital city of Bhutan. It is the fastest-growing city in Bhutan as well as one of the fastest-growing capital cities in the world. Thimphu, situated at an altitude of 2400m, is the centre of government, religion and commerce. The capital is a unique city with unusual mixture of modern development alongside ancient traditions. Although not what one expects from a capital city, Thimphu is still a fitting and lively place. It is home to the Kings and the Royal family members, civil servants, expatriates, politicians, business persons and monks.
- National Memorial Chorten
Memorial Chorten was built on 28th July 1974 in the memory of Bhutan’s third King, His Late Majesty, King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk. The paintings and statues inside the monument provide a deep insight into Buddhist philosophy. Meet the elderly generation in circumambulation at this Chorten.
The “fortress of the glorious religion” was initially erected in 1641 and rebuilt by King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in the 1960s. The dzong is the impressive result of a redesign of the original medieval structure sanctioned by the third king, HM Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, when he moved Bhutan’s permanent capital to Thimphu. The Dzong houses main secretariat building, which houses the throne room of His Majesty, the King of Bhutan. The National Assembly Hall is housed in a modern building on the other side of the river from the Dzong. During the warmer summer months, the monk body headed by His Holiness, the Je Khenpo, makes its home in the Dzong.
- Simtokha Dzong
Simtokha Dzong, five miles from Thimphu, is the Kingdom’s oldest dzong, now used as The Institute for Language and Cultural Studies. It was built in 1627 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal.
- Changangkha Temple
The Temple is situated on the top of the small hill above Thimphu city. It was built in the 13th century by the illustrious Lam Phajo Dugom Zhigpo. The central statue here is Chenrezig in a manifestation with 11 heads. The temple is considered the spiritual home of children born in the Chang valley.
- Thangtong Dewachen Nunnery
Thangtong Dewachen Nunnery popularly known as Zilukha Anim Dratshang is the only nunnery in the Capital. It is located above Zilukha Lower Secondary School, overlooking Tashichodzong in Thimphu valley and is a few minutes’ drive from the town. It was built in 1976 by the 16th emanation of Thangtong Gyalpo, Drubthob Rikey Jadrel.
- National Library
The National Library was established in the late 1960s primarily to conserve the literary treasures which form a significant part of Bhutan’s cultural heritage. It now houses a vast collection of books and research documents of Buddhist studies. Besides thousands of manuscripts and ancient texts, the library also has modern academic books and printing blocks for prayer flags.
- Institute for Zorig Chusum
The age-old styles of Bhutanese thangka painting, wood carving, sculpture, appliqué, and metal work are taught in this Institute. It is commonly known as the Painting School and on a visit; one can see students at work producing intricate design on cloth.
- National Institute of traditional medicine
The rich herbal medicines made from medicinal plants abundant in the kingdom are prepared and dispensed here. The Institute is also a training school for traditional medicine practitioners. The complex is closed to visitors due to considerations of hygiene, but one can still walk around and visit the showroom.
- Folk Heritage and National Textile Museums
These museums, established in 2001, provide fascinating insights into Bhutanese material culture and way of life. The Folk Heritage Museum with a three storied, 19th century traditional house provides you a glimpse of the Bhutanese lifestyle, and artifacts from the rural households. One can come across typical household objects, tools and equipment.
- Traditional Paper factory
In this factory we can see paper process in which the bark of two Himalayan shrubs; Daphne and edgeworthia undergoes a multi-stepped process to produce paper of excellent quality.
- Handicrafts Shops
There are various Handicrafts Emporiums in town displaying a wide assortment of colourful, hand woven textiles and other craft products. One can pick up small items as souvenir.
- Weekend Market
From Thursday afternoon till Sunday evening most of Thimphu’s scant population and many valley dwellers congregate on the banks of the river where weekend market is held. A wide range of foodstuffs and local arts and crafts are sold at the market. A visit to the market provides great photo opportunities, as well as the chance to mingle with local people and perhaps buy souvenirs.
- Sangay Gang Hill
A short drive from the Thimphu town will take you to the Sangay Gang hill. It is the view point and infact the best place for photographers. One can also have a view on the beautiful mountains forming the valley of Thimphu. On the way, there is a small zoo where the national animal of Bhutan, the Takin is preserved.
- Buddha Point
Buddha point is also another place from where we can have overview of the Thimphu Valley. It is again short drive from the Thimphu Town. In that place, one can witness the largest statue of Buddha in the country.
- Thimphu’s central post office
The central post office, known as Bhutan Post office is located in the heart of the town. The post office has the wide and diverse collection of stamps. The office also provides various postal services.
- Tango Goemba
Tango Monastery is roughly 14 kilometers away from Thimphu town. The word Tango literally means ‘horse head’ and is derived from the deity Tandin (Hayagriva) that features the head of a horse. The revered place of Hayagriva was first recognized by Guru Rinpoche in the eighth century. In 1222 A.D. Phajo Drugom Zhigpo visited the place. Tango was later visited by many other notable Buddhist saints including Lama Drukpa Kuenley – “the Divine Mad Man”. The present day monastery was built in 1689 by Gyalsay Tenzin Rabgyal at the age of 51.
- Cheri Goemba
Cheri Monastery was established in 1620 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the founder of the Bhutanese state. About 15 Kilometer away from the town, it stands on a hill above the end of the road at Dodeyna. It takes about an hour to walk up the steep hill to reach the monastery from the road.
- Phajoding Goemba
A couple of hour walk uphill from Motithang is the Phajoding Goemba. It was built in 15th century by Lama Shacha Rinchen (who introduced Drukpa Kagyupa school in Bhutan in the 13th century). Further walk from the monastery will take you to the several magnificent lakes including popular Lake Dung Tsho.