Thimphu, with a population of about 104,214 people is the capital of Bhutan. Thimphu is also the biggest and the most cosmopolitant city in Bhutan. Besides many attractions, Thimphu is also famous for being one of two national capitals in Asia that does not have traffic lights (the other is Pyongyang, North Korea).
Thimphu – The Capital of Bhutan
- Population: 104,214
- Altitude: 2320 m. / 7656 ft.
- Location: Western Bhutan
- Airport: Paro International Airport, 60 km / Drive time: 1 hr
- Traffic lights: 0 (none)
- McDonald’s: 0 (none)
Tashichhodzong is the formal name of the Thimphu Dzong and it is the grandest of all the dzongs in Bhutan. It also hosts a colourful masked-dance festival (tsechu) at the end of summer, which is popular with tourists.
The National Memorial Chorten
The National Memorial Chorten dominates the Thimphu skyline. This chorten was built in memory of His Majesty the third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck who passed away in 1972.
The National Library
Built in the style of a traditional temple in 1967, The National Library contains a large collection of religious books and manuscripts in Dzongkha and Classical Tibetan and a collection of English-language books. It also contains a copy of the largest published book in the world.
The Giant Buddha
The Buddha Dordenma statue, one of the largest statues of the Buddha in the world, overlooks Thimphu.
The National Post Office, along the Chang lam, is an institute itself where the most famous Bhutanese export is exhibited and sold: the various stamps. Stamp collectors all over the world know that Bhutan is the first country to diversify and export quality stamps.
Thimphu Clock Tower Square
The Clock Tower Square is a recently renovated square surrounded by shops and restaurants. Fountains and traditional Bhutanese Mani Lhalhor (prayer wheels) make the place an idyllic location to catch up with Thimphu. On one side, the luxurious Druk Hotel is situated. Various outdoor programmes and activities are held here.
Along the end of the Norzin Lam, Thimphu’s own Textile Museum displays various Bhutanese textiles that are extensive and rich in traditional culture. It also exhibits colourful and rare kiras and ghos (traditional Bhutanese dress, kira for women and gho for men).
Folk Heritage Museum
The National Folk Heritage Museum displays traditional Bhutanese ways of life in a traditional Bhutanese house. It is an interesting view in to Bhutanese culture and domestic lives of the Bhutanese. There are also Bhutanese dances and exhibits held at the Museum.
VAST (Voluntary Artist’s Studio, Thimphu) located on the banks of Thimphu Chhu, is a busy place with after-school and weekend drawing and painting classes for youngsters conducted by volunteer artists.
The Institute of Traditional Medicine Services has also a small museum on its premises. Every monastery and temple in Thimphu is alive and well. These are some institutions where one can see how Buddhists pray and their daily routines.