10 Best things to do in Thimphu, Bhutan

Best places in Thimphu - ImageImage Source: pixabay.com

As the capital of the Royal Kingdom of Bhutan, Thimphu is a must visit for a glimpse into the city life in this quiet and serene country. Over the years, this small city has transformed into a busy, energetic and eclectic version of its former self. It is a place that has opened its arms and welcomed tourists from around the world. On any given day you can see a mix of camera-toting holiday makers walking down its humble streets alongside red-robed monks, traditionally garbed locals and the fashionably clad youth of the city. Thimphu has much to offer in terms of experiences, from modern amenities to tranquil monasteries, quaint cafes to buzzing bars, local markets and boutiques. Breathtaking views and beautiful monuments add to the charm of this place. Fortunately the commercialization in Thimphu is limited as international food and retail chains are not permitted to set up here, thereby, keeping the rich local flavours thriving.

Let's explore the Best things to do & Top experiences in Thimphu:

1. Get swept up in the Festive Fervor

If you are fortunate enough to visit Thipmhu at the time of one of the many Buddhist festivals, you are truly in for a treat. The streets are alive with festive spirit as brightly colored prayer flags usher you throughout the city.All around people wearing their best traditional clothes congregate as they make their way to the celebrations. The dance performances, with beautiful costumes that tell of legends and stories of Bhutanese culture and the monks that perform them, are a visual delight. It is truly an unforgettable and enriching cultural experience.

Buddhist festivals - ImageImage Source: Anja Disseldorp/Flickr

2. Take in the stunning Valley View

Thimphu is situated in a beautiful valley and there are several vantage points one can visit to take in the stunning views.One such spot is the Changkangkha Lakhang, a beautiful temple that is best visited for sunset views of the valley bathed in golden light.

Sunset view - ImageImage Source: Xiaojun Deng/Flickr

3. Gaze upon the Beautiful Buddha

From the moment you enter Thimphu, you will spot a gigantic Buddha statue set upon a mountain from various points around the city. An iconic monument, The Buddha Dordenma is one of the tallest seated Buddha statues in the world and a must visit. The temple is still under construction and upon completion will house over 100,000 smaller Buddha statues. The views from atop the mountain are an added bonus!

Buddha statue - ImageImage Source: Doug Knuth/Flickr

4. Shop for Silks, Souvenirs & More

The streets of Thimphu are lined with several souvenir shops and boutiques that sell silk scarves. Prayer wheels, colourful prayer flags, handcrafted Buddha idols and host of other artisan products can be purchased here. Avid stamp collectors can also visit the Thimphu post office to acquire some of Bhutan’s world-famous stamps. Also, a must visit is the Weekend Market that has stalls by vendors from all over Bhutan. From the freshest fruits and veggies to handcrafted trinkets, the market is a treasure trove for a keen shopper.

Shopping in thimphu - ImageImage Source: Juliette's/Flickr

5. Explore the Wilderness & Wildlife

The Motithang Takin Preserve is the home of the national animal of Bhutan, the Takin. It is an unusual animal, usually described as having a mix of goat and moose like features. The animal is native to Bhutan and is also found in small numbers in the neighboring countries of India and China. A chance to spot this rare species that has baffled taxonomist is an experience one can only chance upon in Thimphu!

Wildlife in thimphu - ImageImage Source: Caleb See/Flickr

6. Give Archery a Shot and Hit The Bullseye

Head to the Archery stadium and watch the keen shots of the players as they compete in the national sport. Archery is taken very seriously in the country and is deeply steeped in their culture and history. Everything from the costumes to dances that surround this sport is a treat for those of us whose idea of sports is a game of football or cricket!

Hit the bullseye -  ImageImage Source: vimeo.com

7. Experience the Sacred Spirituality

Visit the National Memorial Chorten and feel the calm positive energy that envelopes the area. Bhutan is a deeply spiritual nation and the people of the country are a shining example of it. At the Memorial people of all ages and several visitors to the city congregate to pray and it is inevitable that you too will get swept up in the mystique and tranquility.

National Memorial Chorten, Thimphu - ImageImage Source: Wikimedia Commons

8. Gobble up a bowl of Tasty Thukpa

Thukpa, an originally Tibetan noodle soup, is popular all over this region of Asia especially in Bhutan and Nepal. There are vegetarian and non-vegetarian varieties with beef, chicken or pork. Foodies and first time visitors to Thimphu must sample a cup or bowl of this delicious hot steaming soup on a cold night. From fine dining restaurants to street side vendors, you are never very far from Thukpa in Thimphu!

what to eat in Thimphu - ImageImage Source: Wikimedia Commons

9. Discover the unique Art, Craft and Culture

All across Bhutan you will come across stunning examples of Bhutanese art and crafts. From painted houses to intricate statues and handicrafts, Bhutanese culture is expressed in every form. Visit the National Institute of Zorig Chusum also known as "The Painting School" to see the students learn the traditional forms of art and craft which is an integral part of their religious and cultural heritage. Also must visit are the Heritage Folk Museum, Voluntary Artists Studio and the National Textile Museum.

Painting School Thimphu - ImageImage Source: Arian Zwegers/Flickr

10. Rejoice with the Revelers, Rockers and Ravers

If you like a little less quiet on your holiday, Thimphu has a host of fun bars and nightclubs for the party animals! The youth of Bhutan love their rock and electronic music and the hotspots in town have something for everyone from live bands to foot-thumping EDM. Party the night away or enjoy a rock concert in this Himalayan country and feel right at home as you dance to familiar tunes.

Nightclubs in Thimphu - ImageImage Source: The Mojo Park/Facebook

Thimphu is a beautiful little city with a big big heart and no traveller has come away disappointed. The city in all its subtle beauty awaits you and the experience will leave you feeling enriched, rejuvenated and counting down to your next trip here!

Author: Bhoomi Shah
If life is a journey, let me capture its every frame. This line aptly describes my dreams and aspirations. An ardent traveller, a foodie by birth, a lover of life and a simple person at heart.My dream is to travel every corner of the world and my jo...

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Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Thimphu, Bhutan

Must see places in Thimphu ranked on popularity. Here is the complete list of best attractions in Thimphu and point of interests to visit.

  1. Dochula Pass

    # 1 of 46 Things To Do in Thimphu | Added 3052 times in trip plans
    Dochula Pass

    Tags: Mountain, View Point, War Memorial

    Address: 30km from Thimphu, Trashigang-Semtokha Highway, Hungtso, Bhutan

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    The most well-known pass in Bhutan, Dochula Pass towers at a whopping 10, 000 feet above sea level and offers visitors a postcard-like panoramic view of the Himalayan peaks on clear, winter days. With...Read more

  2. Buddha Dordenma

    # 2 of 46 Things To Do in Thimphu | Added 4118 times in trip plans
    Buddha Dordenma

    Tags: Landmark, View Point, Monument, Statue

    Address: Buddha Point, Above Changzamthok district, Bhutan

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    Faith manifests itself in the form of a large watchful guardian in Bhutan – standing tall at a whopping 51.5 meters, cast in bronze and gilded in gold, this is one of the largest Buddha statues ...Read more

  3. Motithang Takin Preserve

    # 3 of 46 Things To Do in Thimphu | Added 4173 times in trip plans
    Motithang Takin Preserve

    Tags: Wildlife Sanctuary

    Address: Motithang district of Thimphu, Bhutan

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    A short distance up the road to the Bhutan Broadcast Service TV tower viewpoint is a trail that will take you to a large fenced enclosure that was originally established as a zoo, located in the Motit...Read more

  4. Tashichho Dzong

    # 4 of 46 Things To Do in Thimphu | Added 4229 times in trip plans
    Tashichho Dzong

    Tags: Religious Site, Architecture , Monastery

    Address: Chhagchhen Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    Perched majestically on the western bank of the Wangchu Riverwith a commanding view of theThimphu valley, the Tashichho Dzong or Thimphu Dzong is known as the ‘the fortress of the auspicious rel...Read more

  5. Thimphu Chorten

    # 5 of 46 Things To Do in Thimphu | Added 1780 times in trip plans
    Thimphu Chorten

    Tags: Memorial, Street Market

    Address: Chhoten Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan

    Timings: 07:00 am - 09:00 am Details

    The Memorial Chorten, or the Thimphu Chorten, welcomes you at the entrance with traders selling souvenirs, carvings and incense. This Tibetan-style chorten is one of the most prominent religious landm...Read more

  6. Royal Textile Academy Of Bhutan

    # 6 of 46 Things To Do in Thimphu | Added 3633 times in trip plans
    Royal Textile Academy Of Bhutan

    Tags: Museum

    Address: Royal Textile Academy of Bhutan, P.O. Box: 1551 Chubachu, Thimphu, Bhutan

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    The Royal Textile Academy of Bhutan is housed in a striking building, blending modern architectural appearance with Bhutanese designs seamlessly.Built to preserve and promote weaving, an integral part...Read more

  7. Choki Traditional Art School

    # 7 of 46 Things To Do in Thimphu | Added 2740 times in trip plans
    Choki Traditional Art School

    Tags: Shopping Center, Arts And Crafts

    Address: Kabesa Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    This art school is just a sheer delight for a visit. Established in 1999, it fulfils a cleverly-crafted dual objective – it educates children whose formal education was discontinued due to socio...Read more

  8. National Institute For Zorig Chusum

    # 8 of 46 Things To Do in Thimphu | Added 2582 times in trip plans
    National Institute For Zorig Chusum

    Tags: Arts And Crafts

    Address: Street Pedzoe Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan

    Timings: 10:00 am - 03:30 pm Details

    The National Institute for Zorig Chusum is another of the Bhutanese government’s initiative to preserve local art and culture –commonly referred to as 'the painting school', offers four to...Read more

  9. National Folk Heritage Museum

    # 9 of 46 Things To Do in Thimphu | Added 3613 times in trip plans
    National Folk Heritage Museum

    Tags: Museum, Shopping Center

    Address: Street Pedzoe Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan

    Timings: 10:00 am - 04:30 pm Details

    Very close to the National Institute of Zorig Chusum, this living museum of Bhutanese folk heritage or the Phelchey Toenkhyim is not to be missed. Within the traditional three-storied Bhutanese house ...Read more

  10. Jigme Dorji National Park

    # 10 of 46 Things To Do in Thimphu | Added 1021 times in trip plans
    Jigme Dorji National Park

    Tags: National Park, River, Walking Area

    Address: Gasa, Bhutan

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    Nestled in the Eastern Himalayas, the Jigme Dorji National Park is the second-largest and one of the oldest protected area in Bhutan and was gazetted as a wildlife sanctuaryin 1974, and the status upg...Read more

  11. Tango Buddhist Monastery

    # 11 of 46 Things To Do in Thimphu | Added 1175 times in trip plans
    Tango Buddhist Monastery

    Tags: Hiking Trail, Architecture , Monastery

    Address: 14km North of Thimphu, Bhutan

    Timings: 07:00 am - 11:00 am Details

    The word ‘Tango’ means ‘horse head’ in the Bhutanese language, in conformance the deity Hayagrive (locally also referred to as Tandin) deified in the monastery. This is a nice ...Read more

  12. Thimphu Centenary Farmers Market

    # 12 of 46 Things To Do in Thimphu | Added 3275 times in trip plans
    Thimphu Centenary Farmers Market

    Tags: Market, Shopping Center

    Address: Main Town, Near the Wang Chhu River, North of Changlimitang Stadium, Thimphu, Bhutan

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    A weekend in Thimphu is incomplete if you don’t visit the Thimphu Centenary Farmer’s Weekend Market. One of the largest domestic farmers’ markets in the country, it is always bustlin...Read more

  13. Phajoding Monastery

    # 13 of 46 Things To Do in Thimphu | Added 2788 times in trip plans
    Phajoding Monastery Image

    Tags: Religious Site, View Point, Monastery

    Address: Thimphu, Bhutan

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    At a bracing 13,000 feet, the Phajoding Monastery is a Buddhist monastery that is a 3-hour hike from the nearest road overlooking the capital city of Thimphu. Founded by Phajo Drugom Zhigpo, it was on...Read more

  14. Changangkha Lhakhang

    # 14 of 46 Things To Do in Thimphu | Added 1550 times in trip plans
    Changangkha Lhakhang

    Tags: Shopping Center, Monastery

    Address: Changangkha Lhakhang Footpath,Street Sevina Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan

    Timings: 07:00 am - 10:00 am Details

    Immensely popular amongst the local Bhutanese, the Changangkha Lhakhang temple is perched regally upon a ridge above central Thimpu, south east of Motithang. Established in the 12th century by Lama Ph...Read more

  15. Le Meridien, Thimphu

    # 15 of 46 Things To Do in Thimphu | Added 2 times in trip plans
    Le Meridien, Thimphu

    Tags: Hotel

    Address: Chorten Lam, Thimphu 11001, Bhutan

    You don’t need to search more for absolute luxury as the Le Meridien Thimphu delivers the same in its best form. Located in the heart of the capital of Bhutan, this 5-Star hotel offers the best ...Read more

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