Dig into the charm of the capital of Bhutan
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About Thimphu Tourism
Thimphu city was not always how we see it now. Before 1960, it was nothing but a cluster of hamlets in the Valley of Raidak River in the Himalayas. But ever since Bhutan witnessed its reformation and the Wangchuck dynasty took over the country as its constitutional monarchs, Thimphu welcomes every tourist with open arms. Albeit, Thimphu does not have an airport of its own, it relies on the Paro International Airport for its air conveyance.
The Tashichho Dzong is the principle landmark of Thimphu. A dzong is a monastery-fortress complex for Buddhists, which is used for multiple purposes – education, worship, the residence of officials and so on. Tashichho Dzong is a majestic edifice with white walls and red and golden peaks. But it is more than a magnificent attraction. It is an abode of the king’s throne along with the residence and seat of the monk body of the country. There are some essential government offices inside as well. For public, its garden and the gallery with the most beautiful mandala paintings and wooden carvings are open. The Memorial Chorten erected in the loving memory of the Third King of Bhutan is a gathering spot for entire Thimphu. Whether one wants to pay respect to the mausoleum or simply stroll around, taking in the urban fabric of Thimphu – this is a place to visit for sure.
Among other things included in Thimphu tourism are the Buddha point stature, the Takin Preserve, and the Folk Heritage Museum. A lesser known place is Simply Bhutan, which is a museum built on the theme of a Bhutanese village. It features demonstrations and models of the everyday life of rural Bhutan, their traditions, and their contribution to the country. There are heart-warming cultural performances as well to learn and savour.
Besides getting on a Thimphu city tour, one can taste the local cuisine, shop the local market and meet the locals. Other than the national emporiums, the shop situated at the Zorig Chusum School of Art in Thimphu also has a good collection of art, craft, and painting and handicraft items created by the students. Since handmade indigenous items make up the core of shopping in Thimphu, one should not give these places a miss. A Bhutan city tour is not complete without a visit to the farmer’s weekend market. If anyone is interested to see the real avatar of Thimphu and not just its monuments and monasteries, then this is the place to be. A Thimphu tourism in Bhutan includes a little glimpse of the nightlife of the city as well. Thimphu city at night goes through quite a makeover. When visits to the dzongs and religious places die down, the clubs and pubs like Mojo Park, Vivacity, and Club Ace spread their wings. While some of them have brilliant party ambiance, others have great locations for lovely music.
These places are the ones to visit for Thimphu city tour. For the offbeat experience, one needs to taste the local cuisine, shop the local market and see the local people. Other than the national emporiums, the shop situated at the Zorig Chusum School of Art in Thimphu also has a good collection of art, craft, and painting and handicraft items created by the students. Since handmade indigenous items make up the core of shopping in Thimphu, one should not give these places a miss. A Bhutan city tour is not complete without a visit to the farmer’s weekend market. If anyone is interested to see the real avatar of Thimphu and not just its monuments and monasteries, then this is the place to be. Thimphu Bhutan tourism should ideally also include a little glimpse of the nightlife of the city as well. Thimphu city at night goes through quite a makeover. When the visits to the dzongs and the religious places die down, the clubs and pubs like Mojo Park, Vivacity, Club Ace spread their wings. While some of them have brilliant party ambiance, some of them are great locations for some lovely music.
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Places To Visit In Thimphu
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Simtokha Dzong In Thimphu
The Simtokha Dzong is one of the first Dzongs built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel in 1629 and is said to be the first Dzong in Bhutan whose entire structure has survived for so long when compared to the other Dzongs in the country. Simtokha Dzong Bhutan occupies a key strategic location in the Thimphu valley and guards the e...
Changangkha Lhakhang In Thimphu
Changangkha Lhakhang Bhutan, built in the 12th-century temple, is the oldest temple in Bhutan and has been visited daily by the locals for the past 800 years. Although the exact date or year of its foundation is unknown, history of Changangkha Lhakhang suggests Phajo Drugom Zhigpo as the person who also founded the Drukpa ...
Motithang Takin Preserve In Thimphu
The Motithang Takin Preserve is a wildlife preserve for the national animal of Bhutan, takin. It is located in the Motithang district of Thimphu and is a place of great significance and local folklore in Bhutan. The 8.4 hectares of forest was fenced to be used as a preserve after the Takin was declared the national animal o...
- Motithang Takin Preserve
Jigme Dorji National Park In Thimphu
Jigme Dorji National Park is the second largest protected forest area of Bhutan, and also one of the most favoured tourist destinations. The forest is named after the Late Dragon King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, the monarch of Bhutan from March 30, 1952 – July 21, 1972. He was the first king to open up the country to the outside...
- National Park
Memorial Chorten In Thimphu
Memorial Chorten is perhaps the chief landmark of the city centre of Thimphu. A chorten is a Buddhist Tibetan-style mausoleum erected in the memory of someone. It has a white edifice with golden embellishments and a pagoda-like golden crest at the top. The Memorial Chorten in Thimphu is the tomb consecrated in the loving me...
Things To Do In Thimphu
Your list of the best things to do, compiled on the basis of actual traveler experiencesView All
Weekend Market In Thimphu
The weekend market Thimphu is a permanent space on the western bank of the Wang Chu River. Located to the north of Changlimithang Stadium, the Thimphu weekend market runs every Friday to Sunday. The vendors start reaching the market from Thursday, and the market remains alive till late Sunday night. The market offers almost...
- Local market
Hiking In Thimphu
Hiking tour Thimphu is one of the best ways of exploring the natural locales of the destination. Thimphu is the summer capital of Bhutan and is surrounded by lush greenery and beautiful surroundings. The town is located in the Thimphu valley, and the beauty of the surrounding area is incomparable. The unique location of Bhu...
Changlimithang Stadium In Thimphu
Changlimithang Stadium is the national stadium of Bhutan and was inaugurated in 1974. The stadium has a total capacity of 15000 and has been renovated time and again to add facilities and features to the stadium with the most recent renovation being in 2016. Located in the city of Thimphu, the stadium was built to commemora...
- Unlimited Fun
Dochula Pass In Thimphu
Situated at a height of 3100 meters, Dochula Pass is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Bhutan. In a broader sense, it is a route that lies between Bhutan’s present capital Thimphu and older royal capital Punakha. This pass was once part of a couple of ancient trade tracks, like Dochula Nature Trail or Lumitsawa A...
- Dochula Pass
How to Reach Thimphu
Read about the best & quickest routes to save time & money, as suggested by our travelers
India to Thimphu flight is the best way to get to the city. But there are not many Indian cities that have direct flights to the airport in Paro, which is the closest and only international airport in Bhutan. Kolkata is the only city with daily flights from Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport to Paro airport, operated by Druk Air. Druk Air is the flag-bearer national carrier of Bhutan. Their tails have the iconic Druk Dragon of Bhutan, also seen on their flag. Mumbai, Delhi and Bagdogra airports too have direct flights, operated by Druk Airways. But they operate only twice or thrice a week. Some of these flights, mainly Mumbai and Delhi to Thimphu (Paro), have long layovers at other countries like Bangkok or Kathmandu, which is wastage of time and money. So if you cannot avail or afford a direct flight to Paro from any other city, catch a flight to Kolkata and from there fly to Paro in 1.30 hours without any hassle, and then take a taxi or hired car to Thimphu which takes another hour and half. The whole journey gets over in 3 hours as opposed to long layovers. This is the best and most convenient way to get to Bhutan from any Indian city.
There is no rail line that connects India with Bhutan. But there are Indian Railway stations which will get you real close. Hasimara station in North Bengal is only 17 kilometres from the Bhutan border at Phuentsholing, which means it is around 180 kilometres away from Thimphu. Hasimara can be reached from Sealdah station of Kolkata or NJP station of Siliguri. To go from Hasimara to Thimphu, one can avail taxis or private cars or bus service, which takes a little more than 5 hours.
The only state which has multiple land routes to Thimphu is West Bengal. There is Kolkata to Bhutan Volvo bus service from Esplanade area every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday leaving at 7 PM. Driving in a personal car from Kolkata to Thimphu will be a little too much. But if someone is going from Guwahati or Siliguri to Thimphu, the few hours road journey is worth it for all the money saved. The routes from West Bengal take the tourists through the Jaigaon-Phuentsholing border entry. From there, Phuentsholing to Thimphu bus service or car ride takes around 6 hours. There are Bagdogra to Thimphu and Siliguri to Bhutan bus service as well from Tenzing Norgay Bus Stop or NJP station.
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FAQ's of Thimphu
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Citizens of which countries can go to Thimphu without a visa?
Every country, including Indian citizens, need permission to travel to Thimphu. However, people from India, Bangladesh, and the Maldives can visit the country without any visa or passport. However, identity proof is a mandatory document.
What is the currency of Thimphu?
The main currency of Thimphu is Ngultrum. But Indian money, except the new 500 and 2000 INR notes, are also accepted.
Which airport has the cheapest flights to Bhutan from India?
Kolkata has the cheapest and most frequent flights to Bhutan compared to all other cities.
Is there an airport in Thimphu?
No, Thimphu has no airport. It is supported by the Paro International Airport in Paro.
Which is the most popular food in Thimphu?
Ema Datshi (chilies and cheese), red rice and the drink Ara are the classic food items of Thimphu.
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