13 Things To Do In Thimphu: Exploring The Enchanting Capital
Thimphu is a city in Bhutan that encapsulates the mystical and enchanting allure of the Himalayan kingdom. It is a place that offers travelers a blend of Bhutanese culture and modernity. This bustling yet serene city is a perfect place for those seeking a mix of cultural exploration, natural beauty, and adventure. Get ready to make the best out of your next trip by taking the best-ever Bhutan packages.
There are multiple unique things to do in Thimphu which can really blow your mind with its magical beauty and a great experience. Let your next trip to Bhutan be the most amazing one, but don’t forget to have a look at the Thimphu travel guide for a better outlook.
Suggested Read: Travel tips for Bhutan
13 Things To Do In Thimphu
Looking for the perfect Thimphu travel guide? Don’t worry because we have a well-planned list of 20 things to do in Thimphu! It can really help you through your journey and experience the most amazing moments like never before.
- Tango Buddhist Institute
- Jungshi Handmade Paper Factory
- Changangkha Lhakhang
- National Library
- Simtokha Dzong
- Motithang preserve
- Royal textile academy of Bhutan
- Shopping in Thimphu
- Clock tower square
- Bumthang owl trek
- Folk heritage museum
- Jiva spa
So, without any further ado, let’s get started.
1. Tango Buddhist Institute: A Day Hike
This place is set around 14 kms away from the city centre, this institute is a place of serenity set in the picturesque valley of Thimphu. Tango Monastery itself is an important religious site, home to monks and nuns who come here to study and meditate. Visitors can tour the monastery and enjoy the serene ambiance of the area. But, this is one of the best monasteries in Bhutan that you must visit.
It offers a unique opportunity for spiritual seekers to deepen their understanding of Buddhism through a rich curriculum that includes meditation, philosophy, and cultural studies. The ground floor has a huge statue of Buddha that is totally made of gold and copper. People can reach this temple by doing a hike for one or a half day. You can enjoy your trek with some great surreal views of mountains like never before. The hike is definitely one of the best adventure activities in Thimphu!
Time: 8 AM to 5 PM
Entry fee: NIL
Suggested Read: Monasteries in Bhutan
2. Jungshi Handmade Paper Factory
It is known as Deh-sho, Bhutanese paper is made from the local trees daphne and dekhap trees. These sustainable practices not only promote environmental conservation but also support rural communities through the procurement of raw materials.
Visitors can witness the meticulous process of papermaking and even try their hand at creating their own paper. The factory’s products, ranging from traditional Bhutanese writing paper to decorative items, are sought after for their unique texture and cultural significance.
A visit to the Jungshi Handmade Paper Factory offers a captivating glimpse into Bhutan’s artistic heritage and commitment to preserving its cultural traditions.
Timings: 8.30 AM to 5 PM Mon-Sat
Entry Fees: NIL
Suggested Read: Restaurants In Bhutan
3. Changangkha Lhakhang: Watch the sunset
It is known to be the oldest place to worship and one of the most amazing things to do in Thimphu. Changangkha Lhakhang, perched on a hilltop in the heart of Thimphu, Bhutan, offers a breathtaking vantage point to witness the captivating spectacle of a Bhutanese sunset.
This ancient temple, dating back to the 12th century, not only serves as a place of worship but also as a tranquil sanctuary for those seeking a moment of reflection and serenity.
The golden hues of the setting sun cast a warm glow on the temple’s traditional Bhutanese architecture, creating a surreal and enchanting atmosphere. You must experience the greatest view from this point and see how magical it can get.
Timings: 8:30 AM To 5 PM
4. National Library
It is the popular national library of Bhutan which is known as NLB, established back in 1967 having one of the largest collections of literature on Tibetan Buddhism anywhere in the world.
The library houses an extensive collection of ancient manuscripts, books, and historical documents, many of which are written in the national language of Dzongkha. Beyond its role as a library, it also serves as a center for research and a space for the preservation of the nation’s oral and written traditions.
The National Library of Bhutan encapsulates the essence of Bhutanese culture, serving as a beacon of knowledge and a guardian of the country’s unique heritage.
Location: PO Box 185, Pedzoe Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan
Timings: 9.30 AM to 5 PM (Mon-Fri)
Entry Fees: INR 100 per person
Suggested Read: Hill stations in Bhutan
5. Simtokha Dzong
Simtokha Dzong, also known as Sangak Zabdhon Phodrang, is a historic fortress and monastic institution located in the picturesque Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan.
Situated on a hill overlooking the capital city of Thimphu, it is the oldest dzong in the country, with a history dating back to the early 17th century. Simtokha Dzong holds immense cultural and religious significance in Bhutan, serving as a center for both administrative and spiritual activities.
The dzong is renowned for its stunning architecture, characterized by intricately painted murals, traditional Bhutanese woodwork, and a central courtyard that houses several temples and shrines. It plays a vital role in preserving Bhutanese heritage and is a testament to the enduring traditions of the country. You must definitely add this place in your list of things to do in Thimphu, without any doubt!
Timings: 9AM to 5PM
Entry Fees: NIL
6. Motithang Preserve
It is one of the top 10 things to do in Thimphu for visitors traveling to this place. Here, you have the chance to see a Takin, the national animal of Bhutan. It can be a perfect place for the people who are here for wildlife and adventure activities in Thimphu.
Motithang Preserve stands as a symbol of Bhutan’s dedication to maintaining the delicate balance between economic development and environmental protection, in line with its philosophy of Gross National Happiness.
The area is not just a conservation success story but also an opportunity for locals and tourists to connect with Bhutan’s natural heritage. Whether it’s a leisurely hike, a quiet moment of reflection, or a chance to observe wildlife in its natural habitat, Motithang Preserve offers a unique and refreshing experience that leaves an indelible mark on all who visit this remarkable corner of the world.
Location: Motithang, Bhutan
Timings: Sundays closed
Entry Fees: INR 100
Suggested Read: Bhutan in November
7. Royal Textile Academy of Bhutan
Bhutanese crafts include weaving! The academy, housed in a beautiful contemporary building has done a great attempt to preserve this heritage work. It is definitely one of the best places to visit in Thimphu!
The RTA serves as a hub for both locals and visitors to explore the intricate world of Bhutanese textiles, showcasing an exquisite collection of garments, textiles, and artifacts that provide a window into the country’s cultural history.
The academy’s mission goes beyond mere preservation; it actively engages in education, offering workshops and training programs to pass down the art of weaving to younger generations. Bhutan’s unique textiles, with their vibrant colors, intricate patterns, and spiritual symbolism, are deeply intertwined with the nation’s identity, and the RTA ensures their continued relevance and vitality.
Location: Thimphu, Bhutan
Timings: 9 AM to 5 PM Mon-Fri
Entry Fees: INR 150
8. Shopping in Thimphu
Hey shopaholics! This is one of the most favourite places to visit in Thimphu for you all. Shopping in Thimphu, the charming capital of Bhutan, is a unique and delightful experience. The city’s vibrant markets and quaint shops offer a fascinating blend of tradition and modernity. Shopping in Bhutan is a thing you must do to explore more of the new things and cultural traditions.
Visitors are often drawn to the colorful and bustling weekend markets, where local farmers and artisans converge to sell their fresh produce, handmade crafts, and textiles.
Bhutanese handicrafts, such as intricately woven textiles, exquisite hand-carved wooden items, and traditional religious art, are highly sought after by tourists. The Norzin Lam Street is a popular destination for shopping, with its boutiques and shops selling everything from contemporary clothing to antiques and souvenirs. In addition to traditional items, Thimphu also caters to modern shoppers, offering electronics, books, and trendy fashion stores.
Timings: Saturday and Sunday (All Day)
9. Clock Tower Square
This is one of the best places to visit in Thimphu, where you can witness four different clocks on four different sides in a right column. The walls of this place are carved with beautiful dragons and some of the beautiful floral designs. Here most of the open air concerts are done for the travelers and locals out there. You can definitely have one of the best times here attending any event. Around the square, you’ll find a vibrant blend of shops, cafes, and vendors selling a variety of goods, from delectable street food to artisanal crafts.
This is a place where locals and tourists converge, a meeting point for friends and a landmark for newcomers.
Trashichhoedzong, located in Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan, is not just a magnificent fortress but also serves as the administrative and religious center of the country. This iconic structure, with its towering white walls and golden roofs, stands as a testament to Bhutan’s rich cultural heritage and unique architectural style.
Trashichhoedzong houses the throne room of the King of Bhutan and several government offices, making it the epicenter of the nation’s political activities. Additionally, it is a place of spiritual significance, hosting various religious ceremonies and housing monastic quarters.
Visitors are captivated by the striking blend of traditional Bhutanese design and Buddhist symbolism, as well as the serene ambiance that surrounds this extraordinary dzong, making it a must-visit destination for anyone seeking to immerse themselves in Bhutan’s distinctive culture and history.
Location: Chhagchhen Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan
Timings: 5-6PM Mon-Fri; 8AM-6PM Sat-Sun
Entry Fees: INR 300 per person
Suggested Read: Valleys in Bhutan
11. Bumthang Owl Trek
The Bumthang Owl Trek is a captivating and unique trekking experience that takes place in the heart of Bhutan, in the scenic Bumthang Valley. This trek is renowned not only for its stunning natural beauty but also for its cultural significance. Also, it is one of the most unique adventure activities in Thimphu that you must experience.
What sets the Bumthang Owl Trek apart is the opportunity to explore some of Bhutan’s most ancient monasteries and temples, such as the Tamshing Lhakhang and Tharpaling Monastery. The trek also provides a chance to witness Bhutanese traditions and lifestyle up close, as you interact with local communities along the way.
The name “Owl Trek” is derived from the belief that the region is inhabited by mystical owls, and you might even catch a glimpse of these elusive creatures. With its rich cultural heritage and breathtaking landscapes, the Bumthang Owl Trek offers an unforgettable adventure for those seeking an immersive Bhutanese experience.
Difficulty Level: Easy to medium
Starting point: Manchugang
Best time: March-May, September-October
12. Folk Heritage Museum
Visitors to the Folk Heritage Museum can explore the traditional Bhutanese architecture, complete with intricately carved wooden beams and ornate window frames. The museum’s exhibits include a wide range of domestic artifacts, such as cooking utensils, hand-woven textiles, and agricultural tools, which offer a window into the daily lives of Bhutanese people from different regions and time periods.
One of the most striking aspects of the museum is its faithful recreation of Bhutanese rural life. Various rooms are set up to depict the interior of a traditional farmhouse, complete with life-sized models dressed in traditional clothing.
You can also taste the samples of delicious Bhutanese dishes! This can be on your bucketlist for things to do in Thimphu, definitely.
Timings: 9 AM – 5 PM
Entry Fee: INR 150
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13. Jiva Spa
It is the time to rejuvenate and relax yourself with the best spa in city! Whenever on a vacation, you must try to have the best time by giving some good treatment to your body. You can have a good spa session by just soaking yourself in the warm waters. It would definitely give you a refreshing feeling which you can enjoy.
Jiva Spa in Thimphu encapsulates the spirit of Bhutan, where happiness and well-being are paramount. It is a place where visitors can escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life, immerse themselves in the beauty of Bhutan, and emerge rejuvenated, balanced, and deeply refreshed.
Location: Samten Lam
Frequently Asked Questions: (FAQ’s)
Is Thimphu safe for travelers?
Yes, the place is totally safe for all kinds of visitors. People can enjoy and have a great time in the city.
When is the best time to visit Thimphu?
The best time to visit Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan, is during the autumn months of September to November. During this time, the weather is generally mild and pleasant, with clear skies and vibrant foliage, making it an ideal season for outdoor activities and sightseeing.
What are top tourist attractions in Thimphu?
There are many unique places to visit in Thimphu, but you need to have a good planned itinerary for your great experience. You can visit the places according to your own choice and preference. Enjoy the several museums, spa, treks, library and much more! You can set up your own vibe and see what you want to explore further.
What is Bhutanese cuisine like in Thimphu?
Bhutanese cuisine in Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan, is a unique blend of flavors and ingredients that reflect the country’s rich culture and traditions. A staple in Bhutanese meals is red rice, often accompanied by spicy chili peppers, cheese, and vegetables. The national dish, “Ema Datshi,” is a fiery concoction of chili peppers and cheese, while “Momos,” or dumplings, are a popular snack.