Bhutan’s most stately and arguably the most impressive building is the Tashichhodzong, on the banks of the Wangchhu (Thimphu river). Home of the throne room of His Majesty the King of Bhutan and the summer residence of the venerated monastic community. The dzong is the impressive result of a redesign of the original medieval structure sanctioned by the Third King, His Majesty King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, when he moved the capital to Thimphu from Punakha.
Next to the dzong is Thimphu’s pictureque nine-hole golf course.
Other places of interest in Thimphu include the Traditional Painting school where age-old styles of Bhutanese painting, including thangkha painting, are taught, and the close by National Library houses a vast collection of books and research documents of Buddhist studies.
The Memorial Chorten built in memory of His Majesty, the Third King of Bhutan. Another of Bhutan’s great pride, is its wide and multifarious collection of stamps. These are best seen in commemorative books insideThimphu’s central post office.
An enjoyable way of passing time in Thimphu is to wander along itsmain street.Thimphu’s weekend market is another opportunity to watch the way life goes in the capital. Farmers from the neighbouring villages come to sell their produce and wares – mountains of bright red chillies, fresh mushrooms, asparagus in season, and cereal of all kinds. You might be surprised to see orchids being sold as vegetable! There are brightly coloured Bhutanese handicrafts on sale.
A delightful day’s outing to the outskirts of Thimphu is a visit to the Tango and Cheri monasteries. Simtokha Dzong, six kms from the city limits is the Kingdom’s oldest dzong which now houses the school for Buddhist studies.
Thimphu’s urban development is strictly monitored and buildings cannot exceed a certain height, nor can they be designed in anything but the traditional Bhutanese style.
Short hikes around Thimphu
Phajoding (2800m) is located on the hill overlooking entire Thimphu valley (2400m) from the west. There are several little monasteries spread out. It is a steep climb taking about three and a half hours up and return about two hours. Wooded area of chirpine and rhododendron. You might even meet a few people going to prayer and light butter lamps in the monasteries.
Wangditse, A short walk up to the little monastery on the ridge, overlooking Thimphu valley.