Thimpu is Bhutan’s capital has an attractive central square, imposing fortresses or dzongs, national museums , a lively weekend market and is located at the head of a scenic valley.
You get a good introduction to Bhutan’s culture by visiting to the city’s museums and a feel for present day life in Clocktower Square and at the buzzing weekend market. Trashichho Dzong dominates the city from its high location, is seat of royal and secular power and features in the city’s festivals.
- Town life: Clocktower Square is at the heart of the city. With shops, a choice of restaurants and occasional live music it has a pleasantly lively ambiance. The buildings around the square are typical of the Bhutanese architectural style with large wooden-framed windows, white-washed walls and gently sloping roofs. Elsewhere you can join locals at the weekend market where people from surrounding villages gather to buy and sell food, handicrafts and day-to-day goods.
- History & culture: The tall and elegant Memorial Chorten is one of the city’s main sites, venerated by Bhutanese people as a symbol of Buddhist culture and bearing skilled carvings which offer insights into the Buddhist faith. The Folk Heritage Museum is a good introduction to the country’s rural culture and at the Royal Textile Academy you can see displays showcasing Bhutan’s textile heritage, examples of different weaves and themed exhibits.
- Dzongs: It’s hard to miss the vast Trashichho Dzong, or fortress, situated above the city. This is the seat of national government and site of the royal throne room. The original building dated back to the 13th century but has since been rebuilt several times, always in keeping with traditional style. You can visit certain areas including the courtyard which is often used during festivals. Just outside the city Simthoka Dzong is the oldest in the kingdom and contains exquisite murals.
- Buddha Point: About 7kms south of Thimpu is Buddha Point, a 50 metre tall bronze statue covered in gold which contains 125,000 golden Buddha statuettes. It’s located at the southern end of the Thimpu Valley and the views of the city and valley from here are wonderful. The buddha itself is a striking sight, especially when floodlit after dark.