Thimphu Travel Guide– Bhutan also is popularly known as the land of the thunder dragon lies majestically on the eastern edge of the Himalayas – far away from the chaos and frenzy that rules the world.
For a long time, the rest of the world did not even know that such a beautiful country exists. This probably happened because of its geographical location. But as soon as this lovely land got discovered, it quickly became a place of major attraction to tourists from different parts of the world.
Thimphu has a lot to offer for nature lovers who love trekking and other forms of adventure. If you are one of them, plan it well ahead of your journey. Because if you want to have fun trekking through the jungles and rocky mountains you will have to stay back for a longer time. There are so many places to explore.
Check out my detailed and popular Bhutan Travel blog for all travel details to Bhutan.
HOW LONG TO VISIT THIMPHU: 2-3 DAYS
But if you want to chill out and enjoy the spectacular landscape and have a good time with your friends and family, then it is enough if you stay there for 2 days.
Like most other valleys and towns in Bhutan, Thimphu also holds many surprises for its visitors. In this post, I will tell you everything you need to know about Thimphu. So read on before you plan your vacation to Thimphu.
DAY1: DOCHULA PASS & LOCAL SIGHTSEEING
1. DOCHULA PASS
The first place that you might want to go to is the captivating Dochula Pass. This place is about 45 minutes’ drive from Thimphu and falls on the way to Punakha. Dochula Pass from where you can have an enchanting view of the Himalayan ranges is a major attraction for tourist and you will not want to miss this place. You will love the view of the snowcapped peaks of the Himalayas if you visit during the winters.
A very popular temple of much spiritual significance is located at the crest of the Pass. The temple is known as the Druk Wangyal Lhakhang among the locals. This temple was built in honor of his majesty Singye Wangchuck, the fourth Druk Gyalpo (King of Bhutan).
You will also see 108 stupas that beautifully adorn the place. Colorful flags that hang around make the spot look even more beautiful. This place is considered to be one of the most sacred places in Bhutan and you will see locals and monks paying it a visit in large numbers.
This place is so beautiful, I am sure you won’t want to come back from it very soon. So consider spending about 4 hours of your day here (including travel time). If you leave by 9 am you can be back by 1.
2. BUDDHA DORDENMA: LARGEST BUDDHA STATUE
You can then visit the Buddha Dordenma. This is one of the largest statues of Buddha in the entire world, with a height of about 52 meters. The statue is made of bronze and beautifully gilded in gold. You will have to climb about 208 stairs to reach this statue which sits magnificently overlooking the city.
It also has a big meditation hall where monks and common people come to spend time chanting mantras and prayers. Photography is not allowed in this hall but you can definitely enter it.
3. NATIONAL TEXTILE MUSEUM
The National Textile Museum is another thing that you might want to pay a visit. You can spend some time there if you are interested in textiles.
It is a great place to learn about the national art of Thagzo. Here you will get to see the weaving styles and techniques of the royal as well as the local attire of the people. The National Textile Museum also has a small shop where you can buy some fine textiles to take back home.
4. NORZIN LAM
By the time you are done, it will be time for lunch. Treat yourself to some good food and then head straight to the Norzin Lam. This is where the main Thimphu market is. The clock square is also located in this area. So go have a look at it.
You can check out the handicrafts in the handicraft market lane just opposite the Taj hotel. It is a small alley in the middle of the road that has beautiful handicraft items out for sale. By the time your shopping is done, it will be time for you to head back to the hotel.
DAY 2: THIMPHU LOCAL SIGHTSEEING
You can start this day with a visit to this newly built temple that is just next to the Thimphu helipad. It is a beautiful little temple that falls on the road to Babesa. You can also see the huge Buddha that overlooks the Valley from the top. A must watch temple in Thimphu
2. SIMTOKHA DZONG: OLDEST FORTRESSES
The next place that you can head towards is the Simtokha Dzong. This is one of the oldest dzong (fortresses) in Bhutan and was constructed in the early 1600s. It is said that this was the first Dzong that was ever built in Bhutan. The truth, however, has not been verified by me.
This Dzong is now converted into a learning institution for the monks. It also has a hostel built for the monks who come here for their studies.
3. CHANGANGKHA LHAKHANG
The 3rd place to see here is the Changangkha Lhakhang. This is one of the oldest temples in Thimphu. It is believed that people who do not have children come here to get the blessing so that they can have a kid. Make sure you throw the dice inside the temple and ask the monk what your fortune holds.
4. TASHICHHO DZONG
Tashichho Dzong (Administrative Building) and King’s residence is the next place you should check out. If you think the king’s residence is a massive palace embellished with gold and guarded by soldiers, then you are wrong. I recommend you check it out yourself and see how the palace is. (The pic above is not the palace).
Towards the evening you can have a nice walk in Coronation Park. Built on the banks of the Wangchu river this park was built in respect of the monarchical rule in Bhutan.
DAY3: THIMPHU CHORTEN MEMORIAL
You can start your day with a visit to the Thimphu Chorten Memorial which is located in the heart of the city. This place is dedicated to tantric Buddhism. It is a great place to have a glimpse at the Buddhist culture and tradition. The walls are adorned with beautiful paintings and artwork that you will surely love.
This place has an entry fee if you want to visit during the day. But entry is the evenings are free of cost. So if you do not want to buy a ticket for your entry, visit it after 6 o’clock in the evening. The only advantage of visiting it in the morning or during the day is that you will be able to enter the memorial. At night you can just enter the gate and look at it from outside.
And with that, you can end your day. You can go back to the Norzim Lam road for shopping or rest in the hotel for some time with some beer.