The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan makes for the perfect vacation in the hills. The place is not only magical but mystical, full of history and distinct Buddhist culture. Its capital city of Thimphu thus becomes every traveller’s dream to witness the Bhutanese ways of life. Located in the western part of the country, Thimphu occupies a valley. The city is prominent as the administrative seat of the King, with a long list of various Buddhist sites, monasteries, museums and other places to visit in Thimphu.
So, if you wish to make the most of your Thimphu sightseeing tour, read on about these best places in Thimphu!
10 Places To Visit In Thimphu For A Surreal Affair
While there are a lot of places to visit in Thimphu, here’s a list of 10 best which you ought to see on your next trip there. Take a look!
- Trashi Chho Dzong
- Changangkha Lhakhang
- Weekend Market
- Tango Goemba
- National Memorial Chorten
- Motithang Takin Preserve
- Dechen Phodrang
- National Library of Bhutan
- Simply Bhutan
- National Institute for Zorig Chusum
1. Trashi Chho Dzong
Also known as Tashichho Dzong, or simply, Thimphu Dzong, this is surely one of the most interesting places to visit in Thimphu. This grand fort also serves the venue for country’s biggest annual festival tsechu. The dzong is not the original Thimphu Dzong as the palace has been destroyed in fires almost five times till date. Last renovated in 1962 by the then King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, the fort has the secretariat, offices of the King and other officials and ministers as well as the throne room. Known for its signature white-red-gold combination of colours and tiered roofs, the place offers a deep insight into Bhutanese past.
Timings: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM (Sat – Sun), 5:30 PM – 6:00 PM (Fri – Sun)
2. Changangkha Lhakhang
A popular Buddhist temple, this place was first built in the 12th century under the guidance of Lama Phajo Drukgom Shigpo from Tibet. The place is especially visited by parents to receive blessings for their newborn children. The white fortress-like structure makes it one of the most popular tourist places in Thimphu holiday. The interiors are full of murals depicting different stories. You can also get an astrology reading done here. The quiet and serenity of the place, with a lane full of black-gold prayer wheels, will add to the whole mystical aura of your visit here.
3. Weekend Market
Quite literally, this market is held on the weekend at the banks of river Wang Chhu. Different shopkeepers from Thimphu and neighbouring area start arriving in the city on Thursday evening and leave on Sunday night to set up their stalls for the market. This is one of the best places to visit in Thimphu to get a thorough idea of culture, food and local lifestyle. You can pick some incense, saffron and other herbs from local vendors. Apart from that, different Bhutanese and Tibetan food items like dried fish, pork, ground barley, red rice, cheese, wild honey etc. also are available here. You can also shop for souvenirs from the Handicrafts Market, which is a stone’s throw away from here.
Timings: 7:00 AM – 8:00 PM (Sat & Sun)
4. Tango Goemba
Originally built in the 15th century by Lama Drukpa Kunley, Tango is another Buddhist site in the city. Renovated in 2016, the place serves as a centre for Buddhist studies. You would have to trek uphill for about forty-five minutes to reach the place. The chapels, meditation cave, living quarters at Tango are one of the most interesting places to see in Thimphu. You can also witness a crystal here brought in from Tibet which is used specifically for meditation.
Suggested Read: 10 Popular Tourist Places In Bhutan
5. National Memorial Chorten
Probably one of the most popular Thimphu points of interest, this chorten features as a daily place of worship in many natives’ lives. Built in the Tibetan style as a memorial to the third Bhutanese King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, the place is known for its whitewashed walls and golden tiered roofs. One of the most popular places to visit in Thimphu, this Memorial Chorten is visited every day by elderlies, kids and other people on their way to offices, schools and back home. You will find beautiful mandalas and murals here. The large prayer wheels are coloured red in this chorten which see hundreds daily who meditate here.
Planning your holiday but confused about where to go? These travel stories help you find your best trip ever!
Real travel stories. Real stays. Handy tips to help you make the right choice.
6. Motithang Takin Preserve
The best place in Bhutan to observe Takin, the national animal, this preserve was, in fact, a zoo some years back. Then the fourth King of Bhutan decided against the establishment as he felt the idea of a zoo was not in sync with the Bhutanese culture and their idea of environment as well as religion. As the zoo was dismantled, the animals being held there were freed to go back in the wild. Interestingly, the flock of Takin, which lived in the zoo, had been tamed, resulting in them roaming around the city of Thimphu for food. It was then decided to put them back into the preserve. Best time to visit this place, which is one of the top Thimphu tourist attractions, is in the mornings when the animals gather around the fences to feed.
Suggested Read: 9 Compelling Reasons To Plan A Trip To Bhutan While Autumn Lasts
7. Dechen Phodrang
Ranking high on the Thimphu places to visit lists, this is the site of the original Thimphu Dzong. Built in the 12th century, the dzong here was destroyed in a fire. Dechen Phodrang is now a state school, which teaches around 250 students. The main chapel here is full of murals and paintings going back 800 years.
8. National Library of Bhutan
The answer to the usual what to see in Thimphu is hands down this National Library. The place was built in 1967 with the sole purpose of preserving ancient texts. This is the one place which houses most enlightening and interesting things to see in Thimphu. The architecture here is beautiful in typical Bhutanese tradition. Most books here are on handmade paper, preserved between wooden pieces or wrapped in silk. You can also spot different blocks used in printing.
Timings: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM (Mon – Fri)
Entry fee: No charge
9. Simply Bhutan
A must-visit place in Thimphu, Simply Bhutan is a living museum which gives the tourists a taste of Bhutanese lifestyle. You get to dress up, distil arak, try your hand at archery – in short everything that the natives do. The museum has an inspiring program of engaging Bhutanese youth in the preservation of local culture, one of the four tenets of Gross Happiness Product that the Wangchuks and Bhutan itself has come to embody.
Timings: 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM, 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM (Mon – Sat)
Entry fee: INR 200
10. National Institute for Zorig Chusum
This painting school offers various courses ranging from four to six years to teach students 13 different types of traditional arts from Bhutan. Students learn painting furniture as well as thangkas (religious paintings), woodcarving, embroidery as well as statue making. The demonstrations made by the students are mesmerising and you will no doubt be impressed by their diligence and discipline. You can also buy pieces made by students in the showroom here.
Timings: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM, 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM
Entry fee: INR 100
Thimphu sightseeing cost depends a lot on your itinerary and operator. If it is your first time in Bhutan, it is best to book a tour to cover all the places to visit in Thimphu. So, plan your Bhutan trip with TravelTriangle to make sure a comfortable experience awaits you in this dreamy Himalayan land!
Disclaimer: TravelTriangle claims no credit for images featured on our blog site unless otherwise noted. All visual content is copyrighted to its respectful owners. We try to link back to original sources whenever possible. If you own rights to any of the images, and do not wish them to appear on TravelTriangle, please contact us and they will be promptly removed. We believe in providing proper attribution to the original author, artist or photographer.
Frequently Asked Questions About Places To Visit In Thimphu
A. Thimphu is the capital of Bhutan. However, the only international airport in the country is in Paro. It is well connected by regular flights from Delhi, Kolkata, Gaya, Bangkok and Kathmandu. You can hire a taxi from Paro airport to Thimphu which will take you 1 and a half hours to reach.
A. Thimphu is well known for being the capital city of Bhutan. It is also the largest city in the country. The spectacular 15th century Tango Gompa is also which is the most sought after site in all of Bhutan.
A. The best time to visit Bhutan is from October till December. The skies are clear and sunny during this time and it’s not to cold unlike in January and February when the chill could be a bit too unbearable. You can also visit the country during spring time from March to mid May when the hills of Bhutan are laden with blooming Rhododendron flowers.
A. The largest city of Bhutan, Thimphu has a population of 1.15 lakh according to 2017 census.
A. Bhutan’s currency Ngultrum (BTN) has the same value as Indian National Rupees (INR). The denominations of ₹100 and ₹50 can be used for small transactions in Bhutan. However, the 500, 1000 and 2000 Indian notes are not allowed for transactions in Bhutan.
Looking To Book A Holiday Package?
Book memorable holidays on TravelTriangle with 650+ verified travel agents for 65+ domestic and international destinations.
People Also Read: