The city is the heart of the country in every aspect possible. Thimphu not only is the capital city but also the economic hub for the country. The capital is also home to Bhutan’s Royal family along with some 100,000 local residents. Thimphu is the ideal travel destination for tourists who are looking for destinations to explore and experience strong cultural vibes with the comfort of modern amenities. Thimphu is the perfect blend of new and old all together. There are no skyscrapers or even tall buildings. The concrete buildings are at the max 6 storied and are adorned with Bhutanese architectural designs. The city is dotted with tourist attractions and things to dos; from a 17th-century fortress to a half kilometer long road all filled with Bhutanese handmade craft stalls to a 51.5 meters tall statue of Buddha.
Experience Bhutan’s serenity along vast lush valleys, breath fresh Crisp Mountain air, indulge in finger-licking authentic local dishes and explore Thimphu in one day with the help of our One-Day in Thimphu Itinerary.
Guest post by Choi Wangmo
Blog: Book My Tour
What’s the best time to visit Thimphu?
Thimphu experiences four major seasons, spring, summer, autumn and winter. Spring is a total feast for your eyes as the peach blossoms and other flowers are in full riot. Summer is mildly warm and also the monsoon season. Autumn paints the whole country golden and also is the considered the best time to visit Thimphu. As Bhutan’s most popular festival; Thimphu Tshechu falls in October and it attracts a huge audience from all over the country as well as from around the world. Thimphu often experiences snow during the winters. Bhutan as a travel destination has two main seasons, the peak season (Mar, Apr, May, Sep, Oct, and Nov) and the lean season with the remaining months. The minimum daily tariff per tourist during the peak season is set at USD 250 person per night and at USD 200 during the lean season. The fee covers accommodation, transport, a guide, food and entry fees.
A few facts about Thimphu
Thimphu may probably be the only capital city in the world without a traffic signal or an international airport of its own. The vehicular traffic is moderated by a traffic cop. There is a very interesting story behind the city not having a single traffic light; it was so because the people felt closer to the person than the electric traffic light and guess what? The traffic flow in Thimphu is much smoother and friendlier.
One Day in Thimphu Itinerary:
Top things to do in Thimphu, Bhutan
Follow this guide and make the best of your trip even if you’re short on time. These are the top sights and things to do on your one day in Thimphu.
Bow Before the Mighty Buddha Dordenma
You can start the day by visiting the Buddha point and praying for an adventurous day. With a height of 51.5 meters, Buddha Dordenma is considered one of the world’s largest sitting Buddha. The statue stands magnificently on a hilltop overlooking the beautiful city of Thimphu. It is a perfect spot to take breathtaking pictures with either the Buddha in the background or the city.
A quick glance at the 17th century Fort; Tashichho Dzong
Tashichho Dzong fort stretches along the Thimphu River, at some 8 minutes drive from the town. The fort currently houses the office of the King of Bhutan, government administrative offices and a larger part of the fortress is used as a religious center for the district monk body. The fortress is a perfect instance of Bhutanese architecture that showcases the unique skill sets of Bhutanese artisans. Legend has it that not a single iron nail has been used in constructing the fortress and not just this fortress but almost every fort in the country was built in the same manner. If you are traveling around October you will be able to catch a glimpse of Thimphu Tshechu or the masked dance festival which attracts thousands of onlookers every year.
Shop on Craft Bazaar
The Craft Bazaar is located along the Norzin Lam consisting of a total of 80 shops built from bamboos. The whole bazaar sells handicrafts from local artists. It is a wonderful souvenir shopping experience for people who love handmade gifts.
Try Ema Datshi with Red Rice for Lunch
Ema Datshi is the National Dish of Bhutan not officially though but Bhutanese consume Ema Datshi on a daily basis. Ema Datshi is a local dish made entirely of Chilies which are slow cooked in gooey silky cheese sauce. Bhutanese pair it with red rice. One cannot simply leave Bhutan without trying this unusual delicacy. If you are the kind who do not enjoy hot chilies, just make sure you let the cook know and he will tone down the heat for you. You will be able to get the dish in many restaurants around the town.
Meet the Takin
Takin is the national animal of Bhutan. The Takin preserve is located at about 15 minutes from town at Motithang. The center was first initiated as a mini zoo which was later realized as being against the teachings of Buddhism and also was not in line with the GNH philosophy. After which the animals were sent out into the forest on their own. Later the animals were brought back to captivity after they were found wandering the streets in search of food. They are well looked after and also fed well. The best time to see them is after lunch since during that time all the animals climb down for their feeding time.
Bhutan Postal Museum
The Postal Museum is located right in the heart of the town on Chang Lam. The museum showcases ancient postal artifacts from the postal era and the museum flaunts a plethora of stamps that narrates the evolution of communication in the country. A tiny stamp shop right next to the museum allows the visitors to customize and print their photos as stamps to take with them as souvenirs.
Where to stay in Thimphu, Bhutan?
City Hotel, Thimphu
Located on Chang Lam, Thimphu city hotel is situated at a prime location and also conveniently at a walking distance from a number of major tourist attractions around the city. The hotel also provides excellent services.
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