Four places to see in Thimpu

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 In Travel

Here we offer you four places to see in Thimpu if you have just one day to spend. A fairly small for a capital, Thimpu is beautiful and neat. Residents are very polite, traffic disciplined and the drivers relaxed. However, its a wealthy town, most people own an SUV and prefer to drive around than walk.

We put up at Yoseul hotel 2 on Norzin Lam 1. ‘Lam’ means ‘Street’ in Bhutanese. We had only one day in Thimpu and wanted to make the best of it. In the morning Rajesh had to rush to the bus stand to get hold of the driver to retrieve Ruchi’s purse which had dropped out of her backpack. After searching everywhere, we had concluded the previous evening that the only place it could have been misplaced is in the public transport bus that we had come in from Phuentsholing. And as luck would have it, the purse lay well settled in the front seat, only that, the bus was locked and the driver no where to be found. After asking around, we located him in the canteen, and he returned the purse with a smile. We were hungry ourselves by then and settled down in the canteen within the bus stand premises, and surprisingly it served good food. We ate omelettes, Puri-aloo, and noodles.

Four places to see in Thimpu

The National Handicrafts museum in Thimpu, Bhutan

Four places to see in Thimpu

The building on the right is the small and cute central bus station at Thimpu, built in local traditional style

Four places to see in Thimpu

1. Exploring the Memorial Chorten

Memorial Chorten (chorten means Stupa) is a Buddhist shrine built in 1974 by the Queen, in memory of her Royal son, the Third Druk Gyalpo, (regarded as the father or modern Bhutan) and is a short pleasant walk from our hotel (rather from anywhere in Thimpu). And a beautiful place to pray and get peace. The lovey hills in the background only add to the beauty.

We walked up a small pavement adjacent to some army buildings and emerged on Chorten Lam. Traffic is yet to build up and only a few enthusiastic tourists are to be seen. There is a small parking lot in case you are driving your own vehicle. And a decorated wooden gate greets  you at the entrance of the shrine. There were already some tourists and elderly locals doing their prayers, peacefully walking around the central shrine with their prayer wheels in hand.

Four places to see in Thimpu

View of the Memorial Chorten in Thimpu, Bhutan

Four places to see in Thimpu

Fine architecture on the wooden and stone entrance to Memorial Chorten

Four places to see in Thimpu

Locals come to Memorial Chorten early morning to offer their prayers

Four places to see in Thimpu

Lots of elderly folk gather for morning prayers

Four places to see in Thimpu

Locals offering prayers at Memorial Chorten

Four places to see in Thimpu

While kids have a fun time playing in the premises

2. The Kings Palace and Tashichhoedzong

Tashichhoedzong is the seat of the Bhutanese government and houses official buildings. Next to it is the Royal Palace, where the King & Queen of Bhutan, and their family stay. The Palace is situated in a  large campus at the northern end of the city (follow the main street along the Taj Tashi hotel) and visitors are allowed to walk up to the final entrance of the Palace but not beyond that. The guard at the entrance shoo-ed us away, telling us not to come any more closer. Tashichhoedzong is open to public, but we skipped it. For us, this was more of a pleasant walk, soaking in the experience of a unique place.

Four places to see in Thimpu

Entrance from the main road to the Tashichhoedzong & Kings Palace

Four places to see in Thimpu

The main entrance to the Royal Palace in Bhutan

Four places to see in Thimpu

A view of the Royal Palace from outside the premises

3. Trek up to Sangay gaon (Sangay Village)

Sangay gaon is not even mentioned anywhere. But that’s what we are for. To help identify off-beat locations to visit. And as trekkers, we always try to seek places that are hard to access but offer great views. Its difficult to give a route for Sangay gaon, you’ll have to ask for directions. Sangay gaon is a five km hike over a well surfaced road and atleast 2000 ft higher than Thimpu. This gives it great vantage, a complete view of the valley of Thimpu. As the three of us started walking, what first seemed like an insurmountable climb was suddenly so accessible as we started the ascent. And after two hours of aching feet and hurting soles, we are treated to breathtaking views of the city of Thimpu.   The hill is full of prayer flags which fluttered vehemently in the extremely windy environment. We had a mini lunch of bread and cheese that we had picked up on our way.

Four places to see in Thimpu

Back on the road, as we trek to Sangay gaon hill top

Four places to see in Thimpu

Beautiful curves on the road

Four places to see in Thimpu

Beautiful view of the Thimpu valley from top of the hill at Sangay gaon

Four places to see in Thimpu

While spring was still not in full bloom, the trees had colourful leaves

4. Buddha Dordenma or Buddha Statue

This is a massive statue of Lord Buddha, that greets you on entering Thimpu. While I desperately wanted to go see it, after the Sangay gaon climb, I was now against it as we were getting late and I was also tired. This statue is at the other end of the town, and can be seen in the above left picture from Sangay gaon. Rajesh & Ruchi would however have none of this. They kept pushing me as we walked and walked and kept asking for directions. And soon realised it was too far to walk and still get back to our hotel on time to leave for our next destination Paro. However we were very impressed with the sight of the huge statute that we had seen the previous evening when we entered Thimpu, that we were determined to see it up close. We immediately hailed a taxi.

The work of constructing this statute is still under progress, it started in 2009 with aid from the Japanese government, and would probably get completed by end of 2017. A whole hill has been flattened and concretised, on top of which are two more plinths and then a massive statue of Lord Buddha going up several hundred feet into the air. Both the levels of plinth and the statute are simmering in gold. At the second level is the temple, with intricate wooden artwork, also painted in gold. Once completed, this would probably be one of the major attractions in Bhutan.

Four places to see in Thimpu

The walk to Buddha Statue is also colourful

Four places to see in Thimpu

Outline of Buddha Dordenma against the blue sky

Four places to see in Thimpu

Status of Lord Buddha, bathed in gold

Four places to see in Thimpu

Buddha Dordenma will be a major attraction once the construction is completed

Earlier in the day, I was out on the streets of Thimpu to do some photography. The streets were still empty, except for a few students on their way to school, and some residents taking a stroll.

Four places to see in Thimpu

Thimpu has some neat and well laid out streets

Four places to see in Thimpu

A little monk walks his way around in Thimpu

Four places to see in Thimpu

Traditional Bhutanese architecture is reflected in all buildings. In contrast to the old, there is also an Apple store.

Four places to see in Thimpu

Streets of Thimpu

Four places to see in Thimpu

And a rivers runs through the main town area in Thimpu

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Showing 5 comments
  • Mayur
    Reply

    Very nice pics Bhaven

    • Bhaven
      Reply

      Thank you Mayur.

  • Sudhir
    Reply

    Bhaven 👌👌.. Nice pics and story.. Did u visited Himachal Pradesh.. If u can give few tips

    • Bhaven
      Reply

      hi Sudhir, thank you. Yes, I’ve gone to Himachal several times. Lots of great places to visit – Shimla, Manali, Dharamsala, Mcleodganj.

  • bestys.co
    Reply

    It was only after Thimphu became the Capital that developmental activities started taking place.

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