Must do things in Thimphu
Jungshi Handmade Paper Factory
If you’re someone who loves exploring the traditional hubs of new places, then visiting Jungshi Handmade Paper Factory can be the most suggested things to do in Thimphu.
The Jungshi Handmade Paper Factory is a reputed and renowned place that deals in the production of the typical Bhutanese paper, Deh-sho. The manufacturers follow an old, traditional technique to generate paper from dekap trees, rather than the modern method.
Tourists visit this place to catch a live illustration of the conventional process of papermaking. They also enjoy using the unique tools in the factory. Visitors also purchase the traditional Bhutanese paper and carry it home as an interesting and unique souvenir.
Location: Khuju Lam Street, Thimphu, Bhutan
Timing: 8.30 AM to 5 PM (Monday to Saturday)
Price: No Fee
Bumthang Owl Trek
The Bumthang Owl Trek is considered to be amongst the wildest and most intriguing activities in Thimphu. On this trek, you are bound to run into hundreds of these majestic birds. Listening to them hooting at night is a very different experience. This three-day long trek takes you around the Bumthang and Choekhor valleys.
You will get a chance to meet the nomadic Khep and Brokpa tribesmen, cross the Drangela Pass (11,000 ft.), get amazing views of Mt. Gangkarpunsum (24,000 ft.), and see the beautiful Zampalam Chuedek, and Tharpaling Gompas.
Location: The trek starts at Manchugang, Wangdue Phodrang District
Timing: March-May and September- Mid November
Prices: BTN 1,50,000, INR 1,50,000
Trek to Jomolhari Mountain
If you are having a tough time figuring out what to do in Thimphu that can be adventurous and fun, try trekking to Jomolhari Mountain. Jomolhari happens to be the most famous trek in the country. Almost the entire trek passes via a tiny portion of Jigme Singye National Park and Lingshi.
In the course of trekking, you can take a glimpse of a broad spectrum of flora and fauna in the landscape. The main attraction of this activity is the magnificent sight of the Jomolhari Mountain from Jangothang, the base camp of Jolmolhari
Location: Trek starts from Paro and ends at Thimphu
Timing: April to June & September to November
Price: Nu 150,000 to Nu 226,500 per head
Go to Dochula Pass
Trekking at the Dochula Pass is one of the most adventurous activities to do in Thimphu. An uphill drive of 40 minutes from the city, this spot can never be missed out. Dochula Pass shelters around 108 chortens that are constructed in the loving memory of the soldiers of Bhutan who lost their lives in the war of 2003 against Indian insurgents.
Tourists visit Dochula Pass to take a mesmerizing glimpse of the Himalayas, standing at this spot. The place also makes for an excellent picnic site for the locals.
Location: The pass from Thimphu to Punakha
Timing: 6 AM to 5 PM (All days)
Price: No Fee
The Simtokha Dzong is located atop a hill overlooking the entire city of Thimphu. This 16th century Dzong has an interesting legend of a demon vanishing into a rock here. This was the first ever Dzong to have both a monastery and an administrative office.
This place has ancient carvings and painting, considered to be the most beautiful in Bhutan. The pillars have installations of tails of tigers and guns hanging.
Location: Old road between Paro and Phuentsholing
Timings: Monday- Sunday: 9:00 am- 5:00 pm
Prices: There is no entry fee
Get to know Bhutan at National Library of Bhutan
There is no better way to get to know a country, especially one that is as rich as Bhutan culturally and artistically, than by reading. The National Library has a collection of hundred-year-old manuscripts, scrolls, and books.
This library houses the world’s largest book weighing 68 kilograms and over 2 metres in height. The library is located amongst lush green hills and blue skies, making it one of the most picturesque libraries in the world.
Location: PO Box 185, Pedzoe Lam, Thimphu
Timings: Monday- Friday: 9:00 am- 1:00pm and 2:00 pm- 5:00 pm
Prices: BTN 20, INR 20
Druk path Trekking
This is a quaint trek that allows trekkers to walk on the ancient trading routes taken by the local Bhutanese people centuries ago. This five-day long trek, connects the valleys of Paro and Thimphu, traverses through some of the most beautiful routes.
This trek takes you through lush rhododendron, pine, and juniper forests, yak pastures, apple orchards, and high-mountain passes like Phume La, and monasteries. On the way, you will meet the nomadic yak herders and see mountains like Mount Jomolhari, Jichu Drake, and Gangkar Puensum.
Location: The trek starts from Ta Dzong and Damchena village, Paro
Timings: September- November
Prices: BTN 48,000, INR 48,000
Shop at Weekend Market
Shopping at the weekend market is undoubtedly the most fun-filled activities to do in Thimphu. The sellers of different goods enter into the city on Thursday itself and stay up until late Sunday. A host of tempting Bhutanese delicacies are sold in this market. Visitors enjoy shopping for wild honey, dried fish, homemade cheese, saffron, and incense sticks. Other commodities available in the market include – white and red rice, fruits, herbs, and spices. The entire market is segregated into different parts based upon the kinds of products sold.
Location: Chhogyal Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan
Timing: Anytime during the day (Saturday and Sunday)
Price: Depends on what you buy
Dagala Thousand Lakes Trek
The Dagala Thousand Lakes Trek is a six-day trek that lets you spend time in the beautiful wilderness of the regions of Gur, Labathama, and Talakha. You will get a chance to see some of the most amazing lakes here.
This is a slightly difficult trek, which will let you pass through high mountain passes like Pagalabtsa (13,000 ft.) and Labajong (14,400 ft.).You will walk through remote Bhutanese village and closely see the lifestyle of the villagers away from the civilisation.
Location: The trek starts from Genekha, between Paro and Thimphu highway
Timing: April- June, and September- October
Prices: BTN 17, 350, INR 17, 35
Witness the Buddha Dordenma
Visiting Buddha Dordenma is one of the most important things to do in Thimphu in order to catch a truly mesmerizing glimpse of the breathtaking Thimphu Valley. Situated atop a medium-sized hill in the Kuenselphodrang Nature Park, the site shelters a huge bronze figurine of Lord Buddha in the seated posture. The statue measures near about 51 feet in height. The body of the statue manifests around 125,000 tiny figurines of Lord Buddha.
Visitors come here to pay their respect and admire Bhutan’s largest statue, the Buddha Dordenma.
Location: Kuenselphodrang, Thimphu, Bhutan
Timing: 9 AM to 5 PM (All days except Monday)
Price: No Fee
This three-day long trek takes you through lush rhododendron and pine forests to the most iconic landmark of Bhutan- The Tiger’s Nest. You will also see the Sang Choekar Monastery.
Location: The trek starts from Sang Choekar Buddhist College, Thimphu.
Timings: March-May, and September- November
Prices: BTN 3,500, INR 3,500
Soi Yaksa Trek
The Soi Yaksa trek is one of the most popular trek activities in Thimphu with climbs up to 15,000 ft. known for its breathtaking views of snow-capped mountains of the Eastern Himalayan mountain ranges of Mt. Jomolhari and Mt. Jichu Drake. The six-day trek follows mostly off-road and uninhabited routes.
Since not many people live on these trek routes, you will find them to be extremely peaceful and closest to the wilderness. During the trek you will pass many nomadic people’s camps and herds. There are chances of spotting the elusive blue sheep also on the way.
Location: The trek starts from Sharna Zampa, Thimphu
Timings: March- June, and September- November
Prices: BTN 1,56,000, INR 1,56,000
Spend your day at Simply Bhutan
Here, you can learn how to make arak (the local alcohol), take pictures in traditional Bhutanese clothing, buy souvenirs, and attempt archery. One should not miss tasting the local food here.
Location: GPO Building, Chang Lam, Thimphu
Timings: Monday to Friday: 9:00am- 5:00 pm, Saturday: 9:00 am-12:00 pm, Sunday closed
Prices: BTN 200, INR 200
Other Things to do in Thimphu
Visit Memorial Chorten
Memorial Chorten is one of the most iconic landmarks of Bhutan and is a magnificent sight. This is a monument dedicated to world peace and a visit to this place is amongst the must things to do in Thimphu. The monument is painted in stark white and golden spires.
Set against the lush green hills, this place is very serene and peaceful. It is dotted with beautiful paintings, murals, and sculptures. The locals place their highest faith in this memorial and you will see elderly monks circumventing it and paying homage.
Location: Chhoten Lam, Thimphu
Timings: 7:00 am- 9:00 pm
Prices: BTN 300, INR 300
Experience Wildlife Motithang Takin Preserve
One of the most exciting things to do in Thimphu is heading to Motithang Takin Preserve to spend some time with Takins. The Takin is believed to have been created by a mad saint using a goat’s head and a cow’s body. This peculiar animal has a special place in the culture of Bhutan.
Apart from takins, the Motithang Takin Preserve also shelters barking deers and sambars. The place usually attracts wildlife and nature lovers, who flock here to enjoy watching the animals and doing wildlife photography.
Location: Motithang, Bhutan
Timing: 9 AM to 4 PM (All days)
Price: INR 100
Explore the Folk Heritage Museum
This museum is built in an actual Bhutanese house and is considered amongst the top activities in Thimphu. This is a recent addition to Thimphu landscape to educate visitors about the simple and rustic lifestyle of Bhutanese people, their clothes, and daily use things.
This place has beautifully replicated a rural village’s setting complete with millet, wheat, and paddy fields. It holds a 100-year-old hot stone bath, alcohol brewer, rice pounder, etc. giving you a glimpse on the way of life that is escaping from us.
Location: Pedzoe Lam, Thimphu
Timings: Monday- Friday: 10:00 am- 4:30 pm, Saturday: 10:30 am- 1:00 pm, Sunday: 11:30 am- 3:30 pm
Prices: BTN 150, INR 150
Take a Visit to the Goldsmiths Workshop
If you ask what to do in Thimphu, one of the obvious suggestions you will receive is to visit the Goldsmiths Workshop.
Run by the government, Goldsmith's Workshop is perhaps Thimphu’s richest building. Each day hundreds of silver and copper items are manufactured in this place. From melting metals to hardening – visitors can witness the whole jewelry making process here. In addition to jewelry, the workshop also specializes in producing other metal products, including monasteries’ toranas. Visitors to the Goldsmiths Workshop can also purchase small jewelry items directly from the craftsmen.
Location: Gold Smith Workshop, Thimphu, Bhutan
Timing: 9 AM to 1 PM and 2 PM to 5 PM (Monday to Friday)
Price: No Fee
Take blessings at Dechen Phodrang Monastery
Literally meaning ‘Palace of the Bliss’, this 12th-century monastery transports you into realms of serenity and calmness that is characteristic of the Buddhist culture. Inside the complex, around 500 monk students reside and study. A site protected by UNESCO, the upper floors hold a huge statue of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and other protective deities. This floor only allows men to enter.
Location: Gaden Lam, Thimphu
Timings: 8:00 am- 7:00 pm, all days of the week
Prices: There is no entry fee
Go on a tour of The Textile Museum
Most of the local Bhutanese people still subsist on weaving. The Textile Museum is an ode to this traditional art. The museum houses royal weaves known as Ghos and Kira. This place is a must-see for people interested in the heritage of the arts & crafts of the country.
It houses traditional looms and clothes including clothes and raw materials. The museum shop sells souvenirs and books for you to pick to get to know more about this dying art.
Location: Near the National Library of Bhutan, Thimphu
Timings: Monday- Saturday: 9:00 am- 5:00 pm
Prices: BTN 250, INR 250
Stroll at Centenary Farmers Market
This market is a wonderful assortment of the sights, sounds, and flavours of the rustic and rural Bhutan. This is a huge farmers market with around 400 shops that sell everything organic and natural. You can pick up fish, fruits, spices, cheeses, local wines, honey, cherry-peppers, local handicrafts, jewellery, prayer wheels etc.
Here, you also buy traditional Bhutanese fragrances and incense sticks to take back home. You can interact with the farmers who are always more than happy to share their stories.
Location: North of Changlimithang Stadium, Thimphu
Timings: Tuesday- Sunday: 7:00 am- 7:00 pm
Prices: There is no entry fee
Take blessings at Zangto Pelri Lhakhang
Zangto Pelri Lhakhang is considered to be the replica of the heavenly abode of Guru Rinpoche. Interestingly, Dasho Aku Tongmi, the author of the national anthem of Bhutan, built this in the 1990s. Nestled amongst lush green expanses, this private chapel is a beautiful sight in itself.
It houses statues as high as 4 metres. The chapel also showcases the skull of an elephant that was found while digging its foundations during the construction process. The chapel is illuminated beautifully during the night-time.
Location: Near the weekend market, Phuentsholing, Thimphu
Timings: Monday- Sunday: 8:00 am- 6:00 pm
Prices: There is no entry fee
Eat at Cloud 9 Restaurant
If you’re a foodie, one of the best activities to do in Thimphu is to relish on some yummy dishes at Cloud9 Restaurant.
Cloud9 is a modern and up-market restaurant located in the center of Thimphu. The place serves appetizers, international cuisine, and wine. It is famous among the foodies for its handcrafted burgers, local beer, and wood oven pizza. Visitors usually flock to the place for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner.
Some of the major attractions of Cloud9 Restaurant are its nice and cozy interior, polite staff, delicious food, and extensive food menu.
Location: Ghaden Khanzang Bldg 42, Phendey Lam Thimphu, Bhutan
Timing: 9 AM to 10 PM on weekdays and 7.30 AM to 10 PM on weekends
Price: Nu 240 to 790
Visit Tango Goemba
Visiting Tango Goemba is one among the most recommended things to do in Thimphu. Situated to the North of the Thimphu Valley, Tango Goemba holds a religious significance and has been a place of worship since the twelfth century. That being said, however, this monastery is now promoted as a hub for Buddhist learning. In the name ‘Tango Goemba’, the term ‘Tango’ implies ‘horse head’. The name is inspired by the original shape of the rock outcrop, which apparently looks like the head of a horse.
Tango Goemba boasts unique and elegant Bhutanese architecture and is totally worth visiting.
Location: Thimphu, Bhutan
Timing: 7 AM to 11 AM (All days)
Price: No Fee
Watch the Sunset at Changangkha Lhakhang
If you’re a nature lover, then taking a glimpse of the sunset at Changangkha Lhakhang can be one of the best things to do in Thimphu.
Situated on a hill at a distance of 2km from the center of Thimphu, Changangkha Lhakhang happens to be the oldest site of worship. This shrine shelters a truly mesmerizing figure of Chenrizig. The mythological character Chenrizig, is believed to be the incarnation of a primary God of Bhutanese Buddhism, Avalokitesvara.
The monastery forms a good vantage for tourists who want to take a panoramic view of the breathtaking Thimphu valley. Visitors enjoy watching the sunset at dusk from this spot. The beautiful scenery is worth capturing and preserving forever.
Location: Changangkha Lhakhang Footpath, Thimphu, Bhutan
Timing: 8.30 AM to 5 PM (All days)
Price: No Fee
Attend a Concert at Clock Tower Square
Situated in the center of Thimphu, the Clock Tower showcases 4 clocks on each side of a rectangular column. All the four walls are engraved with mesmerizing dragon images along with some stunning floral designs. This design signifies the reputation of Bhutan as the “Land of Dragons” as well as manifests the breathtaking floral valleys of the country.
Almost all the open-air shows and concerts of Thimphu are conducted at Clock Town Square. So, if you are unable to figure out what to do in Thimphu, just head to this destination and enjoy watching a concert.
Location: Hogdzin Lama, Thimphu, Bhutan
Timing: Open 24 hours (All days)