Places to Visit in Thimphu

Places to visit in Thimphu

Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan is located on the bank of Thimphu river at the Altitude of 2400m/7875ft. Thimphu serve as centre of government and religion with his majesty office in it. Many young Bhutanese migrate to Thimphu in search of job. So it is also one of Bhutan’s largely populated districts.

Places to visit in and around Thimphu

Buddha Dordenma statue (Kuensel Phodrang)

It is located in Kuensel Phodrang 7km away from the Thimphu city. The visitors can get a stunning view of the Thimphu valley. It is 51.5m tall and it is one of the largest statues in the world. The statue is made of bronze and is gilded in gold. Visitor can take a glimpse of valley, prey and take a photo.

Memorial Chorten
The National Memorial chorten is white with spares of gold. It was built in 1974 by Queen mother  Ashi Phuentsho Choden Wangchuk in honor of the third king of Bhutan who was also known as father of Modern Bhutan. It is located at south centre of Thimphu city just nearby Bhutan’s biggest hospital (Jigme Dorji National Referral Hospital). Visitors will see elderly as well as young Bhutanese people circumambulating the temple through the day with chanting mantras. Inside you will find mandalas, paintings, statues and shrines dedicated to the king.

Takin Preserve, Motithang  
 The Takin is the national animal of Bhutan, and it body looks like body of a cow and head look like of a goat. It is believe that this unique animal is created by Buddhist yogi, Lam Drupa Kunley and it can be found only in Bhutan and nearby areas. Visitor can see takin, deer, Himalayan monal etc in the zoo.

Simtokha Dzong
The Dzong is located at 8 km down the valley from Thimphu. It was built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel in 1629, who unified Bhutan. It is the first Dzong built in Bhutan by the Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. It was historic monument and former Buddhist monastery and today it used as Institute for Language and Cultural Studies.

The Folk Heritage Museum

This house is restored three storey building built with mud and wood in traditional bhutanses style dates back in 19th century. The design of this house is signifies the house of Wang valley’s people during that time. Inside this house one can see the life style of typical Bhutanese during those times such as cooking, how they keep their domestic animals, how they stored grain and etc and still today you can see some ladies making traditional wine called Arra in the entrance.

Institute for Zorig Chusum/Panting School

This school teaches the young youth about the traditional Bhutanese painting, Crafting. Tailoring, and etc. This school offer young youth six years course on the 13 different types of arts and crafts of Bhutan. After graduating, this student can start their own business

National Textile Museum

This Museum is opened under the command of Her Majesty the Queen Ashi Sangay Choden. Inside Textile Museum the visitor can see the Bhutan’s Kings Namzas (dress) and other accessories used by Member of Royal family. This Museum is to gradually convert into centre of textile studies which will do documentation, research and studies on Bhutanese textiles.

Trashichhoedzong (Thimphu Fortress)

The Thimphu Dzong was built in 1641 and later rebuilt by King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk in 1965. The Dzong houses, main secretariat building which houses the throne room of His Majesty, the King of Bhutan and during the warmer summer months, the monk body headed by religious leader His Holiness, the Je Khenpo, makes its home in the Dzong.

Handicrafts Shops
The small handicraft shop opposite to Taj hotel and some in the main town sale colorful, hand woven textiles and other craft.

Weekend Market
Mostly Saturday and Sunday, this market is full of vegetable venders from across the country with their local products. It is two storied building, while visiting one can see local products on the top floor and imported vegetable and fruits on the ground floor.

Changangkha Lhakhang
Changangkha Lhakhang is located on the top Thimphu town and from temple courtyard, you can see fascinating view of Thimphu valley. This temple is built in 12th century on a site chosen by Lama Phajo Drugom Shigpo, who came from Tibet. The central statue here is Chenrezig in a manifestation with 11 heads. The child born in the Thimphu hospital is taken to this temple for name and blessing for protections.

Handmade Paper Factory
This factory makes paper with hand rather than machine. They use natural plants bark from “Daphne” plant spices which is insect resistance. Traditional Bhutanese handmade papers are widely used for scripts, packing materials, hand carry bags, lampshades, envelopes, calendars etc.

Zangthopelri Lhakhang
The present structure was built in 1960s. Zangthoo pelri still possesses some impressive murals and art. The site of the temple was a former battle ground, and the temple was constructed there in order to pacify this place.

Simply Bhutan Museum
Simply Bhutan is located in Bhutan Youth Development Fund (YDF) campus. This project was started to offer a unique experience to its visitors. Here one can see starting from living style to the dance. The fund generated from this program is utilized for disadvantaged youth under YDF. Visitor can enjoy the mask dances, traditional Bhutanese dances etc and also directly or indirectly you are helping the disable youth.

Drubthob Goema / Zilukha Nunnery 
On the hill top overlooking Trashichhoedzong and Golf course, it is the only nunnery in the capital and  known as Zilukha Anim Dratsang, once belonged to the Drubthob Thang Thong Gyalpo often referred to as The King of the open field. Visitor can interact here with some of the nuns who have devoted their life to Buddhism.

Excursions around Thimphu Valley

Tango Goemba
This monastery was founded by Lama Gyalwa Lhanangpa in the 12th century and the present building was built in the 15th century by the “Divine Madman”, Lama Drukpa Kunley. In 1616 Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal visited Tango and meditated in a cave near the monastery. His meditation helped ensure the defeat of an invading Tibetan army. The head Lama, a descendent of Lama Drukpa Kunley presented the goemba to Shabdrung, who carved a sandalwood statue of Chenrezig which he installed in the monastery. The picturesque three-storey tower and several surrounding buildings were built in the 18th century by the eighth Desi, Druk Rabgye and Shabdrung Jigme Chhogyel added the golden roof in the 19th century.
Situated north of Thimphu, one way it takes about 30 minutes drive and one hour walk through shaded rhododendron forests to reach the monastery.

Cheri Goemba
This monastery was built by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1620. A silver chorten inside the monastery holds the ashes of Shabdrung’s father. The goemba is situated about half an hour walk from Dodena (alt. 2,600m).
The trail commences by crossing a traditional wooden bridge that spans the Thimphu Chhu, then climbs steeply to the monastery. Being the place where the Shabdrung spent many years in meditation, Cheri today has numerous hermitages and small temples located on its slopes, commanding spectacular views. The one way walk to the monastery is approx 4.5 km, taking about 2 hours.

Phajoding Goemba
This Monastery is a 5 km uphill walk from Motithang. The monastery was built in 15th century by Shagcha Rinchen who introduced the Drukpa Kagyupa school in Bhutan in the 13th century. It was one time one of the richest monasteries in the country.

Lungchuzekha Goemba
It is an interesting three to four hours round trip walk around Dochula pass, offering fascinating view of Bhutan Himalayas. From 108 chortens and mani wall at Dochula pass, the road ascends gradually into white, red and pink rhododendron forests for about one and a half hour with some steep sections before branching left to Lungchuzekha Goemba. The highlight of this excursion is beautiful forest, spectacular mountain views and monastery.

Botanical Gardens, Serbithang
Located on hillside about 10km away from the city, the gardens offer a peaceful and relaxing environment particularly in spring with flower everywhere. It is good to spend a few hours or picnic lunch. Botanists will find the wide selection of indigenous trees and plants of interest.

Coronation Park
Located on the banks of the river Thimphu river, this 5.6 acres of park land offer a pleasant and relaxing environment to see the river flowing and walk under the fresh air and enviroment. Visitor can also allow their children to play in the park.

Tandin Nye
This sacred lhakhang is about 1 km from the main town, built on a cliff, just like the Tiger’s Nest in Paro. The visit to the temples provides an opportunity to feel and see the great work of ancient Buddhist legends. It is believed that there use to a lake below the lhakhang but now one can found only a marshy area.

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