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20 Things to do in Thimphu

 
  • Get an amazing experience to explore because there are many spectacular places to visit in Thimphu. The splendid Trashi Chhoe Dzon gives a monastic view to the place and it is also a place which is a host of many colorful tsechu festival. You can even take a stroll by the the weekend markets which allow you to taste some of the finest dried fishes along with pork and other seafood items too.

    For daily worship you can visit one of the religious structures which are popularly visited by the daily worshippers of the place. When you looking for peace and tranquillity it will be best if you visit Buddha Dordenma which has a colossal statue of Buddha that provides an entry to the Thimphu valley.

    Here are some of the best things to do in Thimphu:

  • 01Junghi Handmade Paper Factory

    Image Credit :  Bob Witlox
    Making use of the traditional methods of producing paper, The Jungshi Handmade Paper Factory manufactures the most authentic and the best quality Bhutanese paper, which is popularly known as Deh-sho. The raw material used here for making paper is the bark of two species of trees i.e. the Daphne tree as well as the Dhekap tree.

    Another interesting fact to know is that the entire process making this handmade paper is done with ancient traditional procedures that are being practiced since ages. The visitors have an advantage to try their hand on the paper making craft and make some paper of their own. Other than Bhutanese paper, this factory also produces greeting cards and stationery.

    Image Credits : Carsten ten Brink



    Highlights
    : This factory also produces lampshades, cards, watermark paper, envelopes, and calendars, all made from the traditional Bhutanese paper and is located in Khuju Lam, Thimphu.

    Open from:
    8:30am to 5pm, Monday-Saturday.
  • 02Clock Tower Square (Thimphu)

    Image Credit :  Andrea Williams
    Clock Tower Square is a famous landmark in the capital city of Bhutan, Thimphu. The tower has total of four clocks one on each side and has some interesting and beautiful artistic carvings and paintings.

    There are dragons which are crafted by hands, truly depicting the Bhutan as Land of Thunder Dragon. Intricate flower designs add to the beauty of the tower. The structure is a splendid example of the country’s find architecture, traditions and artwork. Small three storied buildings surround the structure with shops and restaurants.

    Image Credits : Andrea Williams



    Highlight
    : Spend some time on the square to watch and admire the life of Bhutanese people. Savour the cuisines served at food joints nearby. Concerts keep happening in the square and if you are lucky, you will get to enjoy one.

    Location
    : The tower is located below Norzin Lam in the centre of the national capital of Bhutan, Thimphu.

    Timing
    : N/A

    Price
    : N/A
  • 03Tango Buddhist Institute (Thimphu)

    The Tango Bhuddist institute was founded by Lama Gyalwa Lhanampa in 13th century. The place is renowned for the beautiful monastery set in the backdrop of spending natural beauty. The institute houses many statues. An amazing place to go for hike or meditation, Tango Bhuddist institute offers a great view of the surrounding Thimphu valley.

    The ground floor of the institute is the temple of Trulku for worship of Buddha. It consists of a huge gold and copper Buddha statue. The second floor houses a gold and copper statue of Avalokiteshvara. The third floor also consists of temples, statues and relics.


    Highlights
    : Enjoy the exhilarating half day hike amidst the beauty of the lush green Thimphu valley to reach the Institute. Meditate in the institute for inner peace and harmony.

    Location
    : The Institute is located 14 kilometres from the capital city Thimphu.

    Timing
    : 08:00 AM - 05:00 PM

    Price
    : N/A
  • 04Changangkha Lhakhang (Thimphu)

    Image Credit : Denis De Mesmaeker
    Perched on top of a ridge above Thimphu, Changangkha Lhakhang is the oldest temple in Thimphu. The temple was built in 12th century and houses the central statue of Chenrizig, a manifestation of Avolokitesawara with eleven heads and thousand arms.

    It offers a stunning view of the surrounding Thimphu valley from the top. The structure is a fine example of Bhutanese faith, tradition and architecture. There are a number of black and golden coloured prayer wheels in the temple. The prayer book in this temple is larger than other Bhutanese manuscripts.

    Image Credits : Bob Witlox



    Highlights
    : In the evening, this place offers an opportunity of witnessing the spectacular sight of setting sun on the city. Drop by the paper workshop on the way to temple to view the process of making papers.

    Location
    : Located in Thimpu, it is just 10 minutes drive from the main market.

    Timing
    : 08:30 AM - 05:00 PM

    Prices
    : N/A
  • 05Simtokha Dzong

    Image Credit : Carsten ten Brink
    Built to subdue an evil spirit that was harassing the travelers of the region, Simtokha Dzong was made after the Gyal Gyad Tshel Institute of Ralung(Tibet). Its central tower has 12 sides, contains the bedchambers of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel and Jigme Namgyel, who are two of the most important figures of Bhutan history.

    The houses of Dzong posses countless paintings and statues of Buddha, religious figures, and other deities including the eight manifestations of Shakya Gyalpo- the Buddha of Compassion, Guru Rimpoche, Jampelyang- the Bodhisattava of Wisdom and many others.

    Image Credits : Andrea Williams



    Highlights
    : There is a monastic school, a storeroom, and a chamber to store weapons. To the left, there is a water fortress called Chu Dzong, which is used as a prayer hall for the students. At the junction, there is a Chorten from Zhabdrung’s

    Time:
     Open from 9am to 5pm and spring and autumn season is the best time to visit this place.
  • 06National Library

    Image Credit :  Hriday
    National Library of Bhutan or NLB was established in 1967 and possesses a wide collection of 6100 Bhutanese and Tibetan books, xylographs and manuscripts as well as 9000 printing boards and wooden printing blocks for religious books. It has one of the largest holdings of Buddhist Literature in the entire world.

    It has a dedicated collection and promotes religious and cultural heritage of Bhutan in the form of ancient printed resources related to history, religion, traditions, and culture of Bhutan.

    Image Credits : Andrea Williams



    Highlights
    : The building is two-storied with staff accommodations, administrative offices along with technical equipments like computers, microfilm section, separate room for wooden books and much more.

    Located in: 
    Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan.

    Open from :
    9:30 am to 5:00 pm (Monday to Friday) in March to October and 9:30 am to 4:00 pm in November to February and remains closed on government holidays and weekends. It is a complete representation of Buddha.
  • 07The Folk Heritage Museum

    Established in 2001, The Folk Heritage Museum is a three-storey timber building that looks like a traditional farmhouse and seems like it has been furnished about a century ago. It provides the tourists, an insight into the Bhutanese lifestyle and material culture.

    For the ones who are keen to have a glimpse of interesting rural life of Bhutan, this place is probably the best for them to visit.This almost living museum is included in the guided tour and has many interesting facts that one might love to be familiar with.


    Highlights
    : Brokpa yak-hair spider hats, antique noodle express leopard skin bags and the restaurants serving Bhutanese cuisine.

    Located in: Pedzoe, Lam in Thimphu, Bhutan, it opens from 9:00 am to 4:45 pm (Monday to Friday) and 10:00 am to 1 pm (Saturday and Sunday).

    Price
    : It costs Nu 25 for SAARC nationals and Nu 150 for adults.
  • 08Trashichhoedzong

    Image Credit : Hriday
    First built in 1216 AD by Lama Gyalwa Lhanangpa, Trashichhoe dzong is above Thimphu where Dechen Phodrang now stands. This splendid city is on the west bank of the Wang Chhu and fits perfectly into valley providing the city both monastic weights as well as splendor. It hosts the biggest annual bash of the city and the sight is next to a carnival spreading colorful festivities all around.

    The outer structure is two-storey and has three-storey towers at the four corners bulging out over the walls and covered by golden red roofs that present a view that is worth watching. Beautiful gardens and well-maintained lawns surround the impressively large structure.

    Image Credits : Hriday



    Highlights
    : It is the venue for famous Buddhist celebration and

    Open
    s From: 5-6pm, Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm, Saturday and Sunday and till 5pm in the winter season and is located in Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan.
  • 09Weekend Market

    Image Credit : Michael Foley
    With stalls on both the sides of the Wang Chhu river, the Weekend Market hails vendors from all over the region who start arriving here on Thursday or Friday and remain till Sunday night which is why it has been popularly named as Weekend Market. There is a wide variety of fatty pork, dried fish, and homemade soft cheese.

    Not only can this, but also during the winter months, shoppers even pick up a leg of Yak. Seasonal fruits like Jackfruit, curly fem fronds called nakey or bananas are available as well. Also, look out for the cereals like tsampa, red rice and ground roasted barley in the cereal segment.

    Image Credits : Nagarjun Kandukuru



    Highlights
    : Incense area, filled with different aromatic raw ingredients, pink cubes of saffron used to flavor the holy water used in the pilgrims. It is one of the famous markets of Thimphu, Bhutan and opens on Saturdays and Sundays.
  • 10Visit Dochula Pass (Thimphu)

    Image Credit : Göran Höglund (Kartläsarn)
    Dochula Pass is a scenic spot located more than ten thousand feet above sea level, while going from Punakha to Thimphu. It is one of the most renowned destinations for tourists in Bhutan. The place offers a panoramic view of the surrounding snow laden mountains and the breathtaking view of the colourful flags fluttering in the wind and 108 Chortens. Druk Wangyal Chorten was constructed by Her Majesty Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuk.

    The chortens and Druk Wangyal Lhakhang temple with beautiful ornate details against the lush green forest backdrop make this spot famous among locals and tourists alike. The Dochu La Wangyal Festival where the colourful mask dance can be witnessed also makes this place illustrious.

    Image Credits : Ratan Sebastian



    Location: The Pass is located at a height of 10,171 ft on east-west Road from Thimpu to Punakha.

    Best time/season: March to May and September to November

    Approx Price: N/A

    Difficulty Level
    : N/A
  • 11Visit Buddha Dordenma (Thimphu)

    Image Credit :  Michael Foley
    One of the largest Buddha statues in the world, Buddha Dordenma is a masterpiece of architectural wonder. The massive bronze statue is more than 50 meters in height and is gilded in gold. Apart from this it also houses 125,000 other Buddha statues that are placed surrounding the Buddha Dordenma statue. Sitting royally atop a great meditation hall, this Buddha statue exudes peace and tranquillity.

    The project has been believed to be prophesized as early as eight century in a sacred treasure kept by Guru Padmasambhava. It is a representation of manifestation of human faith and everlasting peace and happiness for all human beings.

    Image Credits : Xiaojun Deng



    Location: The Statue is on top of a mount in Kuenselphodrang Nature Park and marks the southern entrance to the valley of Thimphu.

    Best time/season
    : The early morning light makes it best for clicking photographs and enjoying the beauty.

    Approx Price
    : N/A

    Difficulty Level
    : N/A
  • 12Visit Tashichho Dzong (Thimpu Dzong) (Thimphu)

    Image Credit : Andrea Williams
    Tashichho Dzong is a remarkable architectural structure which currently is the house of the throne room and seat of the government. More commonly known as the Thimphu Dzong, it is also called the ‘fortress of glorious religion’. The impressive structure with white washed walls, golden, red and black wood and lush gardens on a backdrop of blue sky and flourishing green valleys, emanates a look of splendour.

    The Dzong was built in 1641 by Zhabdrung on the grounds of Dho Ngon Dzong which was earlier built by Lama Gyalwa Lhanangpa. The Dzong caught fire a few times in the history first in 1968 and later again in 1869, which could be considered a mystery.

    Image Credits : Andrea Williams



    Location
    : The Tashichho Dzong is located near the Thimphu town on the west bank of Wangchhu River and offers magnificent view.

    Best time/season
    : March to May and September to November.

    Approx Price
    : N/A

    Difficulty Level
    : N/A
  • 13Royal Textile Academy of Bhutan (Thimphu)

    The Academy is an amalgamation of contemporary architecture and Bhutanese culture and heritage. Under the wings and government of Her Highness, Ashi Sangay Choden Wangchuck, this integral piece of Bhutan is an attraction of many tourists. The academy is a non profit org encouraging in preserving the oldest culture of Bhutan, Weaving.

    The academy also exhibits their woven clothes made for the royals to the tourists and plays videos throughout the day showcasing how to drape and wear their traditional outfits, gho and kira. The academy is built to encourage women empowerment and hence free training is provided for their welfare.



    Highlights
    : Host exhibitions on finest work of hand woven, embroidered, and appliqué clothes; presents demo on production of finest garments, Museum portraying rich Bhutanese culture and the belongings of the royals; a souvenir shop that sells beautiful artefacts of the kingdom.

    Location
    : Thimpu

    Timings
    : Monday to Friday 9 am to 5 pm
  • 14Motithang Takin Preserve (Thimphu)

    Image Credit : Caleb See
    This Preserve was basically a zoo but in the later years became the largest preservation of a very unusual mountain animal, Takin. The origin of the animal involves a myth that includes a religious backround. It states that a saint with an epithet, who was considered ‘a divine mad man’, created this animal with head of a goat and body of a cow.

    The 4th king did not believe in enclosing animals in zoo hence he established a natural preservation for this special creature. The preserve also shelters barking deer and sambar deer.

    Image Credits : Caleb See



    Highlights: A perfect way to capture endangered species as photographers are allowed to click pictures of the wilds from a close proximity. This preserve is most suitable for wildlife enthusiast.

    Location
    : Motithang Dist.,Thimpu

    Timings
    : Early mornings are perfect to spot and capture Takins as that is the hour they come out;

    Hours
    : Every day, except Sundays

  • 15Choki Traditional Art School (Thimphu)

    Image Credit : Arian Zwegers
    This is no ordinary school, but this institute teaches under privileged children from different background and age. The school was established by Dasho Choki Dorji in memory of the 4th King of Bhutan. The school teaches skills like weaving (ThagZo), Sculpting (Jinzo), Lhadri (Painting), Carving (Pap) and embroidery (Tshem Zo). Bhutan nurtures its culture and heritage with care and passion.

    Choki Art School is an example of this kingdom’s fine tradition. The dedication and harmony the school management portrays is worth praising. The school runs mainly on donation and the education, food and lodging are free.

    Image Credits : Carsten ten Brink



    Location
    : Thimpu

    Highlights
    : you can observe how the handicrafts are being made; the students there act like guides and tours with you around the institute. It also has an authentic gift shop, where art products made by the students are sold.

    Working hours: 8:30 am – 4:30 pm (Monday to Friday), 8:30 – 4:30pm (Saturdays)
  • 16National Institute for Zorig Chusum (Thimphu)

    Image Credit : Stefan Krasowski

    Bhutanese are known to preserve their natural resources, and culture and heritage quite seriously. It is really a pleasure to visit their educational institutes because they exhibit authentic values. Institute of Zorig Chusum is one such place where Bhutan traditional art is taught.

    This beautiful heritage teaches 13 special types of art form; hence the place is also known as ‘the painting school’. The school promotes crafts to those who have a knack for painting and the like.

    Image Credits : Andrea Williams



    Highlights
    : A tour to the institute will take you back to art and craft forms that have become extinct in other countries. Wood carving, canvas painting, furniture painting, clay art making and different kinds of embroideries are few of the art forms you will find here. The place is a dream of every photographer as it does not lack color and charm.

    Working hours
    : 10 am to 3:30 pm (weekdays) and 10 am – noon on saturdays

    Location
    : Thimpu

  • 17National Folk Heritage Museum (Thimphu)

    If you want see a glimpse of Bhutanese traditional lifestyle, their values and heritage, Folk Heritage Museum is the ideal place for you. The museum was established in 2001 and is set in a 3 storied timber and rammed earth building which still hold its authenticity. The museum artefacts transforms seasonally. Every time you visit, you will get to see something unique and new.

    Image Credits : Stefan Krasowski



    Highlights
    : Demo of different practices such as Markhu Tsene (oil extraction), Ara Kayne brewing, Zaw Ngowni, Tham Dhungi (pounding and roasting rice) and lot more. Ambience takes you back to 150 years old Bhutanese life with millet, paddy and wheat fields surroundings, vegetable gardens and 100 years old Kitchen.

    Location
    : Thimp

    Price
    : Others- nu 150 and SAARC nationals – nu 25 Working hours: weekdays – 10:30 am to 4:30 pm; Saturdays – 10:30 am to 1 pm; Sundays: 11:30 am to 3:30 pm

    Extra info
    : Lunch and dinner buffet provided for group of 5 and more
  • 18Handicrafts market (Thimpu)

    The handicrafts market of Thimphu is also known as the Authentic Bhutanese Crafts Bazaar. The shops crafted from bamboo are lined neatly in row at a mile’s stretch, selling colourful and beautiful authentic handicraft of Bhutan. There are almost hundred shops in the market selling various souvenirs, authentic handcrafted apparels, bags, masks and many more items.

    The shopkeepers mostly are Bhutanese women who welcome you with a warm smile. The products are all procured from the local villages. The market aims to preserve the Bhutanese culture and promote their traditions and handicrafts.. It is a market where you can spend hours in shopping.

    Image Credits : Nagarjun Kandukuru



    Highlights
    : Look for beautiful attires with embroidery, souvenirs like carved wooden items, scroll painting, decorative items woven from bamboos, and beautiful jewellery made of gold, silver and precious stones.

    Location
    : The market is located at the centre of Thimphu below Norzin Lam.

    Timing
    : N/A

    Price
    : N/A
  • 19Motithang Takin Preserve in Timphu

    Image Credit : Denis De Mesmaeker
    Motithang Takin Preserve is a wildlife reserve region to preserve and protect the national animal of Bhutan, Takin. Initially the place was a small zoo which was disbanded by the fourth king of Bhutan.

    However, when the mammals were released in the wild, the takins avoided dwelling in the surrounding forest and kept coming back to streets.
    Therefore, the whole area was declared as a preserve. It is a major tourist attraction owing to its scenic beauty and interesting wild life.

    Image Credits : Denis De Mesmaeker



    Highlights
    : Apart from Takins, you can also find sambars and deer. In a few houses inside the preserve women do weaving work and it is nice and cheap to buy scarves and other apparels from them.

    Location: The Motithang Takin Preserve is located in the Motithang district of Thimphu. It is 15 minutes drive away from the Thimphu bus station.

    Timing
    : 09:00 AM - 06:00 PM

    Price
    : 34 BTN.
  • 20Thimphu Chorten (Memorial Chorten) (Thimphu)

    Image Credit :  kartografia
    Memorial Chorten is one of the most important religious places for Bhutanese people where they worship daily. Throughout the day people walk round the perimeter of the Chorten as a holy ritual. Built in 1974, it is an outstanding illustration of Buddhist culture and architecture.

    The whitewashed structure is crowned by a golden spire and is carved with intricate patterns. The spire emanates with the golden glow with the first ray of morning sunlight. The Chorten houses detailed paintings and numerous Buddha statutes.

    Image Credits : Birger Hoppe



    Highlights
    : On going inside the Chorten, you can climb to the top to go out on the third floor terrace which is quite a tranquil place.

    Best time to visit
     : The Chorten is in the morning with the golden spire glowing in the sun rays.

    Location
    : The Chorten is located on Doeboom Lam in Thimphu near the Indian Military Hospital.

    Timing
    : 07:00 am - 09:00 am

    Price
    : N/A