Bhutan is the definition of a magical kingdom. Nestled in the Eastern Himalayas, Bhutan is known for its scenic mountains, beautiful valleys and distinctive architecture. Naturally, there are many places in Bhutan that are of interest to tourists. This is especially true of Thimphu, the largest city and the capital of the country. Lined with monasteries, dzongs and dzongs, all set in the beautiful valley of the Raidak river, there are quite a lot of things to do in Thimphu. So if you are wondering what to do in Thimphu, here are some great ideas:
20 Things To Do In Thimphu For A Unique Trip
While there are a lot of things to do in Thimphu, here’s a list of the 10 best ones that can make your holiday in Bhutan more magical and memorable!
- Jungshi Handmade Paper Factory: Try Making Bhutanese Paper
- Clock Tower Square: Attend A Concert
- Tango Buddhist Institute: A Day-Hike
- Changangkha Lhakhang: Watch The Sunset
- Simtokha Dzong: Admire The Artwork
- National Library: Read About Bhutan
- Tashichho Dzong: Learn About Buddhism
- Royal Textile Academy: Learn To Weave
- Motithang Preserve: Spot A Takin
- Bumthang Owl Trek: Get Into The Wild
- Jomolhari Mountain: Trekking
- Dochula: Pay Your Respect
- Simply Bhutan: Learn About Bhutanese Lifestyle
- Folk Heritage Museum: Explore
- Centenary Farmers Market: Shop Local Produce
- Bhutan Postal Museum: Explore Stamps
- Jiva Spa: Rejuvenate Yourself
- Chig-ja-gye: Savour Bhutanese Cuisine
- Changlimithang Archery Ground: Learn Archery
1. Jungshi Handmade Paper Factory: Try Making Bhutanese Paper
Called Deh-sho, Bhutanese paper is made from the local trees of daphne and dhekap trees. The Jungshi factory is reputably the best place that manufactures this type of paper, made using an age old method instead of the modern way. Visitors to the paper factory are given a demonstration of the paper making process, and they are also invited to try their hand at some of the unique instruments. One of the most popular things to do in Thimphu, you can buy this unique paper here which will make for interesting souvenir gifts.
Timings: 8.30AM to 5PM Mon-Sat
Entry Fees: No charge
2. Clock Tower Square: Attend A Concert
The clock tower, located in the heart of the city of Thimphu, features four different clocks on the four sides of the rectangular column. The walls are carved with beautiful hand carved dragons and also some beautiful floral designs, keeping in mind Bhutan’s reputation as the Land of the Thunder Dragon and also its many floral valleys. Most open-air concerts in the city are held here at the Clock Tower Square. Catching a show here is one of the best things to do in Thimphu tour!
Suggested Read: 12 Best Hotels In Bhutan – The Mystical Himalayan Kingdom
3.Tango Buddhist Institute: A day-hike
Set around 14 kilometres away from the city centre, the Tango Buddhist Institute is a place of serenity set in the picturesque valley of Thimphu. Founded in the 13th century by the much revered Lama Gyalwa Lhanampa, the three-storey monastery houses a number of remarkable statues. The ground floor has a huge statue of the Buddhu made of gold and copper, and houses the Trulku temple for worshipping the Buddha. The temple can be reached through a half day hike through the scenic mountains and alpine woods, which is one of the most exhilarating things to do in Thimphu!
Timings: 8AM to 5PM
Entry fees: No charge
4. Changangkha Lhakhang: Watch the sunset
The oldest place of worship in the capital, Changangkha Lhakhang is located on a small hill some kilometres from the city centre. The shrine houses a brilliant statue of Chenrizig who is thought of as an incarnation of Avolokitesawara, one of the central gods in Bhutanese Buddhism. For tourists, the monastery, located at the top of a hill, provides a great vantage point on the beautiful Thimphu valley. At dusk, you can watch the sun go down on the twinkling city in a beautiful Instagram-able moment for everyone.
Timings: 8.30AM – 5PM
5. Simtokha Dzong: Admire The Artwork
Dzongs are unique architectural creations of the Bhutanese empire, somewhat akin to city halls in American cities, and touring one is one of those distinct Thimphu activities. It famously houses the bedchambers of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel and Jigme Namgyel, two of the most influential figures in Bhutanese history. However, the real highlight of the place is its paintings and gold-black statues(such as those of Guru Rinpoche and Jampelyang) that adorn the various halls and courtyards here. The Simtokha Dzong is one of the essential things to do in Thimphu!
Timings: 9AM to 5PM
Entry Fees: no charge
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6. National Library: Read About Bhutan
The National Library of Bhutan, known as NLB, was established back in 1967 and is one of the largest collection of literature on Tibetan Buddhism anywhere in the world. It has as many as 6100 books and manuscripts in Tibetan and Bhutanese, and holds over 9000 printing blocks used to create religious texts. The pretty two-storey building is a must-visit on the list of Thimphu things to do.
Location: PO Box 185, Pedzoe Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan
Timings: 9.30AM to 5PM (Mon-Fri)
Entry Fees: INR 100 per person
7. Trashichhoedzong: Learn About Buddhism
First created by the founder of the Lho-Drukpa sect of Buddhism, which has been Bhutan’s distinctive way of life for almost a thousand years, this dzong is the seat of power in Bhutan since 1968. It has the throne room, the offices of the king as well as those of other ministers. Taking a tour of this place is one of the most amazing things to do in Thimphu, Bhutan. Also, the Dechencholing Palace is also only some distance from the dzong.
Location: Chhagchhen Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan
Timings: 5-6PM Mon-Fri; 8AM-6PM Sat-Sun
Entry Fees: INR 300 per person
This is an enormous event in the everyday life of the people in Thimphu and one of the most fun things to do in Thimphu. Sellers flock to the city right from Thursday evening and only leave late Sunday. You can find all kinds of Bhutanese delicacies here, and homemade cheese and dried fish is something that you have to try if you are serious about local cuisine. Shopping in Thimphu does not get better than this with the various local incense sticks and large cubes of excellent saffron used for pilgrims.
Timings: all day Saturday and Sunday
Suggested Read: 9 Compelling Reasons To Plan A Trip To Bhutan While Autumn Lasts
9. Royal Textile Academy of Bhutan: Learn To Weave
Weaving is one of the oldest Bhutanese crafts, and the Academy, housed in a beautiful contemporary building, attempts to preserve this heritage and also work for the empowerment of Bhutanese women by training them in this much valued craftsmanship. The exhibitions here show the various elaborate clothes made for the royal family by workers here. The place is another hidden gem and one of the top things to do in Thimphu.
Location: Thimphu, Bhutan
Timings: 9AM to 5PM Mon-Fri
Entry Fees: INR 150
Suggested Read: 10 Popular Tourist Places In Bhutan
10. Motithang Preserve: Spot A Takin
On any list of top 10 things to do in Thimphu, getting to see a takin, the national animal of Bhutan, is mandatory. Said to be created by the mad saint of Bhutan using the head of a goat and the body of a cow, the animal occupies a place in the Bhutanese culture. The perfect place if you are a nature and wildlife fan, you can click the takin here at close quarters. Also housed here are sambar and the barking deer.
Location: Motithang, Bhutan
Timings: Sundays closed
Entry Fees: INR 100
11. Bumthang Owl Trek: Get Into The Wild
If you like spending time amidst nature, then one of the things to do in thimphu bhutan is going on Bumthang Owl Trek. the three-day trek will offer you a myriad of surprises. From spotting hundreds of different kinds of birds to meeting Khep and Brokpa tribesmen, from climbing beautiful Drangela Pass to witnessing the ecstatic views of Mt. Gangkarpunsum, this trek has everything to quench an adventure lover’s thirst. Enjoy a wonderful experience of camping in Bhutan.
Difficulty Level: Easy to moderate
Starting point: Manchugang
Best time: March-May, September-October
12. Jomolhari Mountain: Trekking
There is no dearth of trails for trekking in Bhutan. Walk in any direction and you will stumbleupon great wonders of nature. One of the great wonders in Jomolhari Mountain. One of the most popular treks in Bhutan, the trail passes from Jigme Singye National Park and Lingshi. Feast on the magnificent views of Jomolhari Mountain from the base camp that will simple leave you ecstatic. It is one of the top things to do in Thimphu for adventure lovers.
Starting point: Paro
Best time: April-May, September-October
13. Dochula: Pay Your Respect
Dochula may be a 40-minute drive from Thimphu but it is definitely worth the visit. On the site, you will find 108 chortens that were built in the memory of martyrs who fought against the 2003 insurgent. The site along with the magnificent views of the mountains will give you goosebumps. It is a very popular site where locals and tourists come to enjoy a picnic.
Location: between Thimphu and Punakha
Entry Fee: 6 AM – 5 PM
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14. Simply Bhutan: Learn About Bhutanese Lifestyle
From the official website of Simply Bhutan
One thing you will really love about Bhutan is the colorful culture. You can experience Bhutanese lifestyle and culture from up close and personal at Simply Bhutan. It is a museum that resembles a Bhutanese village introducing you to food, clothes, and all things that makes this place awesome. Revel in the demonstrations and performances at the museum. You are going to love it here. Mark it on one of the top things to do in Thimphu.
Location: Genyen Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan
Timings: 9 AM – 5 PM
Entry Fee: INR 300
15. Folk Heritage Museum: Explore
From the official Facebook page of Folk Heritage Restaurant
Established in 2001, Folk Heritage Museum has become popular among the tourists who want to know deeply about Bhutanese culture and lifestyle. It is the best place to get insights about the local culture and heritage of Bhutan. You can also sample delicious local cuisine of Bhutan. It ain’t your typical museum. This place is filled with wonders and surprises.
Location: Thimphu, Bhutan
Timings: 9 AM – 5 PM
Entry Fee: INR 150
16. Centenary Farmers Market: Pay A Visit
From the official Facebook page of CFM
You should definitely visit Centenary farmers markets which is one of the largest markets in the world of fresh local produce. With more than 400 stalls in two storeys, you can buy the freshest produce of vegetables and fruits. The organic and fresh produce will make anyone’s heart happy and stomach hungry. If you are staying in an Airbnb where you can cook your food, then you can buy some stuff and enjoy cooking at your place.
Location: Thimphu, Bhutan
Timings: 9 AM – 4 PM, Sun-Mon closed
17. Bhutan Postal Museum: Explore Stamps
If you have interest in philately, then you should make a stop at the National Post Office in thimphu. From round, square, rectangular to even 3-D stamps, you will find a huge variety in there. This place is every philatelist’s dream come true. You can even create personalized stamps with your photo on it. It will be a great souvenir to bring back. Don’t you think? Buy something for your geek friends too.
Location: Thimphu 11001, Thimphu, Bhutan
Timings: 9 AM – 4 PM
Entry Fee: INR 150
Suggested Read: Top 10 Indian Restaurants In Bhutan You Need To Visit In 2020!
18. Jiva Spa: Rejuvenate Yourself
What is better than rejuvenating yourself with a spa? After all, you are on a holiday and deserve it, especially if you have come back from a tiring trek in the mountains. Jiva Spa in Hotel Taj Tashi is one of the best places to pamper yourself with a relaxing spa. You will definitely feel refreshed and your muscles will thank you later. You may even soak in traditional baths using local river stones, an experience you will only find in Thimphu. The bath is conducted using medicinal herbs that impart essential nutrients to your skin.
Location: Samten Lam, Chubachu Thimphu, 11001, Bhutan
19. Chig-ja-gye: Savour Bhutanese Cuisine
Image Courtesy: tajhotels.com
If you are a foodie, then having an authentic Bhutanese meal at Chig-ja-gye is one of the best things to do in Thimphu. Chig-ja-gye is an upscale restaurant in Hotel Taj Tashi. So, not only will you get to enjoy the local flavours but also exceptional service and hospitality. Whether you are visiting Bhutan with friends or family, make sure you enjoy a fine-dining experience here.
Location: Samten Lam, Chubachu Thimphu, 11001, Bhutan
20. Changlimithang Archery Ground: Learn Archery
Did you know archery is the national sport of Bhutan? Use your holiday as the perfect excuse to learn the sports of archery. Head to Changlimithang Archery Ground where you will not only meet great archers but you can also pick a trick or two. It is one of the best things to do in Thimphu, Bhutan. If you do not have a penchant for learning, then you can at least enjoy watching teams in combat.
Location: Chang Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan
Timings: 7:30 AM – 11 AM
Entry Fee: NA
These amazing things to do in Thimphu certainly offer an endearing, exciting snapshot of the mountain city that is the capital of the Himalayan kingdom. So, plan your trip to Bhutan now and head out for the most impeccable journey!
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Frequently Asked Questions About Things to do in Thimpu
A. One can take a train from Kolkata to Hasimara, which is 17 km away from the Indo-Bhutan border and reach Thimpu. Pre-paid taxis and cabs are readily available from the Hasimara railway station that will take you to Phuentsholing in 30 minutes. The nearest airport from Thimpu is the Paro International Airport in Bhutan.
A. Thimphu is the beautiful capital of Bhutan that is famous for its Buddhist monasteries and teaching institutes. Some of the attractions are Changangkha Lhakhang, Dechen Phodrang monastery, Institute for Zorig Chusum and more
A. The best time to visit Thimphu is during the spring season and earlier summer season. So anytime between March to early May is the perfect time to be in Thimpu.
A. Adventure activities like hiking, trekking and mountaineering are available in Thimpu
A. You can experience snow in the months of January and February in both Paro and Thimphu.
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