Thimphu is the capital city of Bhutan and it is the most populated district with approximately 100,000 inhabitants. The capital city is also home to the Royal family of Bhutan. Thimphu is one of the most developed cities in Bhutan and it is the main centre for commerce, religion and government bodies. You can find hotels, restaurants, internet cafes, nightclubs, bars and shopping centres in Thimphu. However, despite having a modern touch, the capital city still retains its cultural identity and values. You will still see people wearing their national dress, see monks, religious processions and ceremonies taking place, people visiting monasteries, people playing archery and so on. This also holds true to every region in the country.
There are a lot of attractions in Thimphu, some of the major tourist attractions are:
Dochula is the name for a famous pass (noun) that is located on the highway between Thimphu and Punakha. It is famous for its 360 degreee panoramic view of the Himalayan Mountain Range and also for the Druk Wangyel Chortens (Stupas) and Druk Wangyal Lhakhang (Monastery). You will often find people enjoying picnics with their families or tourists taking pictures of the beautiful scenery in Dochula.
Semtokha Dzong is the first fortress built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel upon his arrival in Bhutan in the 17th Century The name Semtokha is literally translated to “Atop a Demon” whereby according to Bhutanese Mythology, the Dzong (fortress) was built to subdue a demon that used to terrorise travellers in ancient times.
Tashichho Dzong is the seat of the central government and it houses the throne room and the office of the King, the the secretariat and the ministries of Home Affairs and Finance. The head of the monastic body, Je Khenpo, also resides in Tashichhodzong during the summer season.
The National Memorial Chorten was built in memory of the Third Druk Gyaplo, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, as a symbol of World Peace. The Chorten (Temple) is a white structure with a golden spire. It is located in the heart of Thimphu and you can see people praying and circumambulating the temple everyday. It is an ideal place to experience some bhutanese spiritualism.
At Buddha point, you will find one of the largest statues of a sitting Buddha. The Buddha statue is located atop a hill in Kuenselphodrang Nature Park and overlooks the Thimphu valley. Beneath the statue, there is a large meditation hall. Buddha point is a popular site for people of all ages and one of the major tourist attraction in Thimphu.
The Folk Heritage Museum was established in 2001 and it provides and insight into the material culture and way of life of the Bhutanese people. The museum is set inside a three storied 19th century traditional house.
The Motithang Takin Preserve is located in Motithang, Thimphu. It is a wildlife reserve that provides visitors with an opportunity to see the amazing national animal of Bhutan, the Takin. The reserve itself is surrounded with abundant trees and its a wonderful place to take a short hike.