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Bhutan Thimphu streets

10 Fun things to do in Thimphu

Thimphu is the largest city in the Kingdom of Bhutan. In 1961, Thimphu officially became the capital of Bhutan when it replaced Punakha which was considered the ancient capital. The culture of Bhutan is fully reflected in Thimphu and to experience Bhutan culture, we have come up with a list of things to do in Thimphu.

1. Spot the national animal of Bhutan

Takin, the national animal of Bhutan is an extremely rare mammal which herds in steep and thick woods at an altitude of around 4,000 meters. Legend has it, that in the 15th century a Tibetan saint, Drukpa Kunley created this unique animal. These animals can be found roaming in Motithang Takin Preserve which is located in the Motithang district of Thimphu.

2. Explore the magnificent Buddha Statue

Thimphu Gold Buddha statue

One of the most well-thought built Buddha Statue in Bhutan is “Buddha Dordenma” which is a gigantic Shakyamuni Buddha statue in the mountains of Bhutan. The statue houses thousands of smaller Buddha statues, each of which is made of bronze and plated in gold. Buddha Dordenma is one of the largest Buddha rupas in the world and holds a great historical significance.

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3. Learn the traditional method of producing authentic Bhutanese paper

Approximately located one km from Thimphu city is the Jungshi handmade paper factory which uses the bark of two specific tree species. You can observe the entire process of papermaking which is called Deh-sho paper. It is made using ancient and traditional methods which are passed from generation to generation. You can even try making one yourself.

4. Indulge in Bhutan’s national dish

Ema Datshi is one of the most famous dishes in Bhutanese cuisine. It is made from chilli peppers and cheese, hence the name of the dish is Ema Datsi where “ema” means “chili” and “datshi” means “cheese”. Depending upon how spicy travellers want their dish to be, different variations of chilly are used chillies can also be dried or fresh and the cheese used is home-made from the curd of yak’s milk.

5. Shop at Bhutan’s busiest farmer’s market

About a 10-minute drive from clock tower located on the banks of the Wangchu River is one of Bhutan’s largest farmer’s market named Centenary Farmers Market. It is made up of two levels where the upper-level houses only local product while on the lower level you can find all imported products. You can find the freshest and the most unique food products Bhutan has to offer.

6. Experience Thimphu’s vibrant nightlife

Don’t underestimate the nightlife in Bhutan. Thimphu has more than a few options to make your night memorable. There are live music bars who have live music performances all night long. Thimphu also houses a few of Bhutany best night clubs where the music is played till the sun rises and the cherry on the top is drinks are cheap.

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7. Discover Bhutan’s creative side

Authentic Bhutanese Crafts Bazaar which is also known as the handicraft market of Thimphu is the perfect place to get a glimpse inside the arts and crafts of Bhutan. The shops are made using eco-friendly bamboo and painted in vibrant colours. Here you can find items which resemble Bhutan’s culture which can be taken as souvenirs.

8. Have Thukpa on a cold night

Thukpa is a Tibetan noodle soup. Thukpa is a Tibetan word for any soup or stew combined with noodles. you can find thukpa being sold by street vendors in Thimphu after sunset. Different options are available such as pork, beef and there are few options available for vegetarians as well.

9. Try your hand at archery

Archery is one of the most popular sport played in Bhutan. Locals are very keen on promoting archery to travellers and visitors. “Changlimithang Archery Ground “ is a place in Thimphu where you can try your hand at archery while professionals help you.

10. Watch Sunset from Changkangkha Lakhang

Bhutan sunset

Changangkha Lhakhang is the oldest temple in Thimphu which offers a stunning view of the surrounding valley from the top. Changangkha Lhakhang is located approximately a 10 minutes drive from the main market. This place offers an opportunity to witness the sight of a beautiful sunset.

Text by Abhishek Desai

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