Places to visit in Thimphu, Bhutan
I always wanted to visit this neighboring country of India from my childhood. Probably in my school days, first time I heard about the country, for which growth is measured in terms of happiness. We all know that in Bhutan, there is Gross National Happiness Index instead of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) to measure the growth of the country. In 1972, the forth King of Bhutan first declared that the country will be monitored by this GNH. Since then Bhutan is maintaining this socio economic index. Anyway last year (2017) December, my wish was full filled. I planned our Bhutan trip and in this post I will share with you about the Places to visit in Thimphu, Bhutan.
If you want to know how to plan a Budget Bhutan Trip from India and the important things to know before visiting Bhutan, please read my detailed guide “Bhutan itinerary for Seven days”.
Thimphu is the capital and largest city of the Kingdom of Bhutan. The Thimphu River (Thimphu Chu) is flowing through the city and the city is surrounded by Himalayan range. The 5th King and his Riyal family is staying in Thimphu. You can see the Royal Palace from view point.
How to Reach Thimphu:
If you are travelling by air then from Paro airport, by road Thimphu is well connected and approx. 50 Km away. It will take 1.30 hours to reach Thimphu by car.
If you are coming by Road (i.e. from India), then from Jaigaon/Phuentsholing border, Thimphu is 165 Km and it will take 4-5 hours to reach Thimphu from Phuentsholing.
Where to stay in Thimphu:
There are many hotels/guest house available but in internet you won’t be able to see much option as most of the travelers comes through the travel agents. There are few options at www.booking.com.
To get Rs. 700 off in booking.com, you can book from my reference link.
We stayed in Hotel Ghasel. Here is the contact details – (Email: Ghaselhotel@Gmail. Com; 00975-2-324002 /0097517248826). This hotel is in main city and the room rate is between 1800-2500 per day (With Breakfast). The staff members’ behavior was also very friendly.
What to see in Thimphu:
After reaching Paro Airport, we first moved to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan. Our driver was waiting for us outside the amazing Paro Airport. The driver details is given in my last post. (If you want to contact him for your trip). Though we expected colder weather, but the temperature in December was soothing (22-23 degree Celsius in the afternoon).
Our hotel Ghasel was very near to the Clock Tower Square, which is one of the most popular attraction in Thimphu. After checking in the hotel, we took lunch and spend the rest of the day exploring the locality. There are many shops and the Clock Tower is also very beautiful place for just relax. You can see lot of Bhutanese people come and sit there after their work. Children are playing, some teens are dancing etc. We loved the ambience.
The next day morning, we have seen the following tourist places in Thimphu.
Note: All the entry fees mentioned are as per Dec 2017
National Memorial Chorten:
This large Tibetan style Chorten is one of the most important religious place for the daily prayer of Bhutanese People. It was built in 1974 in the memory of Third King by Queen mother.
Entry fee: Though the entry is free for Bhutanese, for foreigner (Saarc countries) the entry fee is 300 Nu. For other countries if you paid the daily $200 USD package, you have to show the visa.
Royal Textile Museum:
This is one of the best place to visit if you want to know about the textile history and culture of Bhutan. Weaving is one of the integral component of Bhutan culture. To show and preserve this art, one nonprofit organization started this Museum in the year 2005.
In this 4 stored building, you can witness the dresses and jewelries of Royal family, the dresses across the various part of East, West and central Bhutan.
There is another building in front of the museum, where you can see the students learning the weaving and the beautiful collection of photography of Bhutan.
Entry Fee: For SAARC Countries: 100 Nu/ person
Royal Takin Preserve:
Takin is an endangered species, which is also national animal in Bhutan. The animal’s body looks like a cow and the head looks like a goat.
The 4th King of Bhutan made this reserve for Takins. The area is huge and you can see the Takins in the forest.
There is one small canteen where you can get hot maggi and Bhutanese tea. We reached in the afternoon and had out lunch there. The taste was awesome.
Entry Fee: 100 Nu/Head.
Kuensel Phodrang (Buddha Point):
This is one of the most popular destination in Thimphu. More than 50 meter height of the Buddha Statue is made of Bronze. It looks like gold statue when the sun rays fall in to this. Apart from this, there are also 125,000 small Buddha statue surrounding the big one.
The view from the Buddha point is awesome.
Entry fee: No entry fee
Simply Bhutan is a living museum and art gallery, where you will be guided the Bhutanese culture and tradition. You can taste Bhutanese wine (they will serve it free), Bhutanese tea (Suja) and you can dance with them, sing with them.
There are Bhutanese dress Gho (for men) and Kira (for women) available in rent for photo shoot.
You can try archery (Bhutan’s national game) and witness the beautiful wooden craft made by Pema. Pema is an inspiration for people with disability. He cannot speak and his whole upper body is paralyzed but with his legs he made beautiful wooden crafts. Few years back Queen mother brought him from East Bhutan and kept him in the capital. It is truly motivational to see him work.
Entry fee: 150 nu/head (SAARC countries). For other countries 200 Nu
All the Dzong are example of beautiful architecture. Our driver told that In Bhutan, the Dzongs are mostly looks same, so we should see the Punakha Dzong, which is the most beautiful and biggest among all. So we saw the Thimphu Dzong from one view point.
Entry fee: 500 Nu
Local Vegetable market and the playground:
We also saw the local market and the beautiful playground. Everything is so clean and well maintained.
In the evening we again sit back near the Clock Tower and next morning started our journey to Punakha. For more information about Places to visit in Punakha, you can read my post about Why should you visit Punakha in your Bhutan Trip?
Read about Paro Taktsang- the hiking of Tiger nest.
Read More: 7 Day Road Trip Itinerary to Bhutan .