Capital of one of the world’s most fascinating and unusual destinations, Thimphu is a traditionally Bhutanese but slowly developing, charming blend of old and new. Lying in a fertile valley between magnificent mountains in the western central part of Bhutan, this growing city sits on the banks of the Thimphu Chhu River.
A wander around this relaxed and friendly city offers an insight into the Bhutanese way of life. Dominated by the seventeenth century Tashichhou Dzong, housing the official government buildings, pot-holed streets are filled with small, chock-a-block shops while traffic lights are non-existent.
Despite its authentically conserved culture and wide display of traditional art and architecture, Thimphu is the city that challenges its country’s utopian image. It is here that crimson-robed monks and snap-happy tourists walk side-by-side, past buzzing cafes and bars to Buddhist sights steeped in ritual and tradition.
When to go
The best time to visit is from October to May when the climate is mainly dry and sunny.
What to do
- Visit the weekend market to see an array of products from dried chillies to hand-woven textiles to yak butter.
- See the impressive Taschichho Dzong which houses Thimphu's parliament buildings.