Top Six Places to Visit in Thimphu, Bhutan

Places to Visit in Thimphu Bhutan-Dochula Pass

Oh, what an entry of mine was in Thimphu, Bhutan! The beat sounds were coming from the Clock Tower Square, where I found some performers on stage singing, the place is crowded. The whole city in a festive mood celebrating Losar with the first ever Bhutan International Festival 2015. One of the cleanest, well maintained and lovely city Thimphu in Bhutan impressed me much during my two days here. Among various tourist attractions in Thimphu, I’ll love to recommend some to explore during your Bhutan trip. Yes, what had I really explored from the capital and what are the top six places to visit in Thimphu? Details inside.

It was a winter afternoon, with a heavy cold. For two nights I did stay at Hotel Destiny, a standard budget hotel which is pretty near to the Thimphu city heart Clock Tower. After finishing lunch took a quick move exploring this largest city of the Himalayan Kingdom.

The modern versus traditional capital city  Thimphu is a combination of beautiful nature and many religious or spiritual landmarks with old designed architectures. All keep faith in Buddha thought and so Prayer Flags and Prayer Wheels are very common things you will find everywhere and mostly in any Dzongs and Monasteries. One interesting fact about Prayer Flags, ‘More Prayer Flags moving in the air means more Dharma (religion) increase in the air‘ (came to know from my Bhutanese Guide Kumar) 😀

Bhutan Prayer Flags Prayer Flags

Top Tourist Attractions in Thimphu

Dochula Pass

Scenic, Beautiful, Picturesque and Spiritual like those many adjectives can be added after this spot. This is the most popular in Thimphu and tourists first choice of attractions. Far away from the city and every foreigner must have to submit their passports before entering here. On the way (pass) you’ll enjoy the beauty of tall Pine trees and mountain views. Dochula is made up of 108 Stupas or Chortens and there is one temple also to worship. During winter very cold here and Himalayan mountain range panoramic viewing is possible if the weather is a bit warmer and clearer.

I heard during springtime Rhododendron flowers do bloom here, which must increase the beauty of this place a far more. Oh, can’t wait to travel here next time during Spring 🙂

Places to Visit in Thimphu - Dochula Pass

 Dochula Pass

Beautiful Dochula Pass in Thimphu, Bhutan Dochula Pass

National Memorial Chorten

Memorial Chorten is one of the most popular and religious landmarks in the city built in 1974 in memory of the Third Druk Gyalpo, King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck (1928–1972). The extraordinary architecture of this Chorten is very eye-catching and I’ve loved the Holiness of the entire spot a lot. I found all Bhutanese walking around the Chorten all over the day and reciting mantras to show love and devotion to their ‘Faith’. Everyone roll over Prayer Wheels and do the same to represent the mind of the Buddha and that is the main reason this Chorten has been built.

Places to Visit in Thimphu - National Memorial Chorten National Memorial Chorten

Prayer Wheels at National Memorial Chorten Prayer Wheels at National Memorial Chorten

Buddha Dordenma

Buddha Dordenma or Buddha Point is one of the world’s largest Buddha statue located in the middle of the Kuensel Phodrang National Park. This tourist spot is very near to the city. I found still many constructions are ongoing around the area. This gigantic 169 feet (51.5 meters) height statue is made up of bronze and gold and visible mostly from every corner of the Thimphu city. Visitors walk around, offer prayers and also enjoyed the lovely Thimphu valley view from here.

Buddha Dordenma Statue Buddha Dordenma Statue

Centenary Farmers Market

I don’t know somehow this market took my attention and I’ve loved being in here, which located very near and center of the city. This weekend market is mainly for farmers all over the country. Here they come to sell their own products and all are organic and fresh. Fresh fruits, fresh vegetables. Homemade various chilly and mouthwatering spicy pickles 😉 nicely decorated to sell as well. Wow, so nice initiative by the Bhutan government! And that was the notable thing for me.

Centenary Farmers Market in Thimphu Centenary Farmers Market

Centenary Farmers Market Various Pickles from Centenary Farmers Market

Just the opposite of this market, you can see the oldest Wooden Bridge (one of the tourist attractions) over the beautiful Thimphu Chhu or Wang Chhu river. And after crossing this bridge you’ll find many stalls outside where the locals selling various clothing, handicrafts, and souvenirs. And came to know from my local guide, here they are selling many products which made in Bangladesh. Nice to know 🙂

Wooden Bridge in Thimphu Bhutan Wooden Bridge over the Thimphu river

Motithang Takin Preserve

Took an entrance here with a traditional Welcome gate and enjoyed every step of the walkway inside the wildlife preserve for Takin (National Animal of Bhutan). This mini-zoo is located in the district of Motithang, Thimphu and managed by the Bhutan Ministry of Agriculture and Forest. Very well maintained and surrounded by 3.4 hectares (8.4 acres) of the area. Many Takins grazing in the preserve and some tourists were trying to feed them from the outside. You can also find some Barking Deer and Sambar here. Various trees and plants with sounds of nature have also created extra beauty for the tourist here.

Places to Visit in Thimphu - Motithang Takin Preserve Motithang Takin Preserve

Motithang Takin Preserve, Thimphu Motithang Takin Preserve

Changangkha Lhakhang

This is the oldest temple in Thimphu, built up in the 21st century. Changangkha Lhakhang is like Dzong or fortress and except the beautiful architecture, the overall area of this temple is very scenic. Here you’ll also find many monks and other Bhutanese to show their devotion to Buddha by walking around and rolling over the prayer wheels.

Places to Visit in Thimphu - Changangkha Lhakhang Changangkha Lhakhang

Bhutan's Oldest Temple - Changangkha Lhakhang, Thimphu Changangkha Lhakhang


Some Other Attractions in Thimphu

Simtokha Dzong

Small and oldest Dzong in the city, built in 1629.

Simtokha Dzong Simtokha Dzong

Tashichho Dzong

One of the oldest and most beautiful Dzong, built in 1641.

Tashichho Dzong Tashichho Dzong

SAARC Building

The National Assembly and no entrance without permission.

SAARC Building in Thimphu
SAARC Building in Thimphu

Archery Ground

To play Archery, the National Game of Bhutan.

Authentic Bhutanese Crafts

Many Bhutanese handicraft shops here selling all handmade products like clothing, bags, and souvenirs.

Authentic Bhutanese Crafts Authentic Bhutanese Crafts

Children Park

Lovely place, mainly for children, where can be arranged many events. One Buddha Stupa and the beautiful view of the Wang Chhu river are also attractions for visitors here.

Children Park Thimphu Children Park, Thimphu

Points to be Noted

  • No tickets needed for visiting any spots. Free for all.
  • Most tourist spots are spiritual and related to Dzongs and Monasteries.
  • Mostly all practice Buddhism and value their religious thought everywhere.
  • Most significantly all Bhutanese loves their King and Queen and so every shop you can see they are selling souvenirs with their beloved King and Queen’s together photos.
  • Many years old histories, tradition, and culture still maintained and followed by each and every one.

Looking for more information on Bhutan?  Check out the top seven reasons why you should visit Bhutan before planning your trip.

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Top Six Places To Visit in Thimphu, Bhutan

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