Places to visit in Thimphu
I visited Bhutan in March 2018, which was impromptu, as I had originally intended to visit only selected parts of North East India. That is traveling for you; you go where the road takes you. Though the whole of Bhutan is inexpressible in terms of the beauty it possesses, its capital Thimphu alone has so much to offer.
Fun Fact: Thimphu is one of the only two capital cities in the whole of Asia without traffic lights.
Let us see about places to visit in Thimphu:
Thimphu Local Sightseeing:
- Dochula Pass: Dochula Pass lies on the way from Thimphu to Punakha and is one of the most eminent destinations in Bhutan. The pass provides a panoramic view of the snow covered Himalayan Mountain Range if you are lucky enough to go on a clear day. It is adjacent to the country’s first Royal Botanical Park. It includes 108 chortens or stupas, which are also called the chortens of victory.
- Kuensel Phodrang (Buddha Point): Located on the top of a mount in Kuensel Phodrang National Park, Buddha Point flaunts the largest Buddha statue in the country along with other 125000 smaller statues. Many locals believe that Guru Padmasambhava prophesized Buddha Point’s construction in the 8th century itself. Buddha Point provides a beautiful view of the snow capped mountains, beautiful trees, cloud filled sky altogether.
- Clock Tower Square: A tower with four clock faces, Clock Tower Square is located in the heart of Thimphu above the national football stadium. It is rich with Bhutanese artwork and has a display of handmade dragon on all four faces. There are many hotels, restaurants, and shops nearby.
- Changangkha Lhakhang: Sitting on a ridge above Thimphu, this is the oldest temple in the city, built in the 12th century to be precise. All the local people take their newborns to this temple and believe it to be their spiritual home. This temple offers a beautiful view of the sunset.
- Centenary Park: Located near the Thimphu Bus Stand, Centenary and Coronation Park is the only riverside park in the city. There is a beautiful 45-feet tall statue of Buddha walking, which is believed to be constructed for the people to pursue happiness. It is a beautiful place to just sit and bask in the sun and peace.
- Thimphu Dzong: Also known as Trashi Chho Dzong, this remarkable structure is house of throne and government. It was built in 1641 after which it caught fire a couple of times. It is located near the west bank of the Wang Chhu River.
- Memorial Chorten: Built in 1974 as a memorial for the third king Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, this is one of the most important religious places for Bhutanese people. The best time to visit the memorial is in the morning when its first ray of sun lights its golden spire.
- Junghi Handmade Paper Factory: A factory that still uses traditional age-old methods of producing paper, Junghi Handmade Paper Factory manufactures best quality Bhutanese paper. Apart from paper, they also produce greeting cards and stationary. The best part is that you can go there and try making some paper yourself.
- Motithang Takin Preserve: Located in the Motithang district of Thimphu, the wildlife region aims at preserving the national animal of Bhutan, Takin. Initially, it was just a small zoo.
- Weekend Market: All the local vendors gather around Thursday or Friday night and stay until Sunday to sell their items in the Weekend Market. It takes place on both the sides of Wang Chhu River and offers a wide variety of pork, dried fish, and homemade cheese. The incense area is the highlight of the market, offering an aromatic feel. In addition, many tourists prefer to visit the weekend market and the nearby handicrafts market together.
What I have realized from visiting Bhutan is that everything is just geography. All of us humans are essentially the same, with the same values and love to offer. The difference lies only in our minds, and on the maps.
If you are planning to visit Bhutan, you might as well like to read about me hiking solo to the tiger’s nest in Paro.