Overview

Thimphu is the capital and largest city of Bhutan. The Kingdom’s capital city is home to approximately 100,000 inhabitants including the Royal family. The juxtaposition of ancient tradition and modernity make Thimphu the ideal location for visitors to immerse themselves in the lifestyle of contemporary Bhutanese. 


Population: 79,185 (In 2005)
Size: 1,617 Sq Km (Thimpu District)
Language(s): Bhutanese (Dzongkha), Tshangla, Nepali, English

Things to do in Thimphu!

Check out exciting tours, activities & things to do in Thimphu!

Acco

More in city

Guide to Thimphu
Curated information about the event

Neighborhoods

There are several districts in Thimphu. Some of them are:

Changangkha

  • Changangkha is a western central district.
  • Changangkha Temple, in Changangkha district, is one of the oldest temples in the Thimphu valley with a statue of Thousand-armed Avalokite?vara along with very large prayer wheels and unusually large size sacred scriptures.
  • An incense factory is also located in Changangkha named Poe Nado.

Chubachu

Hospital Area

  • The Hospital Area is a central district of Thimphu, located south of the Memorial Chorten.

Kawangjangsa

  • Kawangjangsa (or Kawajangsa) is a western district, north of Motithang, and north of the Chubachu River.
  • The Folk Heritage Museum is located in Kawangjangsa.

Motithang

  • Motithang is a north-western district of Thimphu.
  • There is also a notable takin wildlife sanctuary in the district, named Motithang Takin Preserve.

Getting Around

General info

Taxi

  • Taxis are available at bus stations, airport, city centre.
  • The minimum taxi fare is BTN 15.00 and increases by BTN 15.00 every Km
  • For local Taxi Fare from RSTA terminal to various locations in Thimphu, refer here.
  • For taxi fares between towns and cities, refer here.
  • Taxi agencies with their contact numbers:
  • You can refer here for taxi fares in the city.

Bus

Car

  • East-West highway, known locally as the Lateral Road, Paro - Thimphu Highway and Thimphu-Phuentsholing Highway connects Thimphu to other towns/cities
  • For private/shared car hire:

Eat and drink

Local

The cuisine of Bhutan is, basically, peasant food and owes much of its flavor to the addition of chillies and cheese in almost every dish.

Rice forms the main body of most Bhutanese meals and is accompanied by one or two side dishes consisting of meat or vegetables. Pork, beef and chicken are eaten most often and are usually served in the form of stews (tshoem), with a wide variety of fresh vegetables and spices like cardamom, ginger, caraway and turmeric.

Vegetables commonly eaten include spinach, pumpkins, turnips, radishes, tomatoes, river weed, onions and green beans. Dairy foods, in particular butter and cheese from yaks and cows, are very popular. Grains such as rice, buckwheat and barley are also cultivated in various regions of the country depending on the local climate.

Some of the most popular Bhutanese dishes:

  • Ema Datshi: The National Dish of Bhutan is a spicy mix of chillis and the delicious local cheese known as Datshi. Variations on Ema Datshi include adding green beans, ferns, potatoes, mushrooms or swapping the regular cheese for yak cheese.
  • Momos: These Tibetan-style dumplings are stuffed with pork, beef or cabbages and cheese. Traditionally eaten during special occasions, these tasty treats are a Bhutanese favourite.
  • Phaksha Paa: Pork cooked with spicy red chillis. This dish can also include radishes or spinach. A popular variation uses sun-dried (known as Sicaam).
  • Hoentoe: Aromatic buckwheat dumplings stuffed with turnip greens, datshi (cheese), spinach and other ingredients.
  • Jasha Maru: Spicy minced chicken, tomatoes and other ingredients that is usually served with rice.
  • Red Rice: This rice is similar to brown rice and is extremely nutritious and filling. When cooked it is pale pink, soft and slightly sticky.
  • Goep (Tripe): Like most other meat dishes, it is cooked with plenty of spicy chillis and chilli powder. 

 

Some notable restaurants serving the local specialties include:

Gourmet

 

 

 

 

 

Vegetarian

 

  • Hotel DLT 

 

  • Hotel New Grand 

Drink

Although (sweet milk) tea is a popular beverage in Bhutan, most people prefer Sura. This salted butter tea is served on all social occasions.  Tsheringma is a herbal tea made in Bhutan. The tea consists of only two ingredients - petals of the Safflower plant known as Gurgum and the bark of the root from the plant, Cinnamomum tamala or Indian bay leaf (known locally as Shing-Tsha).

Chang is the local beer. Ara, or Arag, is a traditional alcoholic beverage consumed in Bhutan. Ara is made from rice, maize, millet, or wheat, and may be either fermented or distilled. The beverage is usually a clear, creamy, or white color.

Tuesdays have been declared ‘dry days’, as in alcohol free, by the Bhutanese Govt.

Popular pubs and bars in Thimphu include:

Tipping

Tipping is expected in Bhutan.

  • Restaurants: You may leave an additional amount if you are happy with the service.
  • Bars: Tipping at bars is unusual but appreciated.
  • Taxis: Tipping taxi drivers is unexpected but tipping drivers of hired cars depends on number of persons travelling which could be around USD 5.00 – 7.00 per person per day. This tipping is at your discretion.
  • Hotel Porters/Concierge: Tip the hotel porters USD 0.50 per bag if they have helped you with your luggage.

Staying Connected

  • Bhutan uses GSM 900 and 1800/1900 frequency bands. For 3G carriers use the 850/2100 band. B-Mobile is providing 4G services in the country. The phone must be “unlocked” to accept the  Bhutan’s SIM card.
  • You can buy the SIM card from a SIM counter located in the post office (to the right of the terminal exit door) at Paro Airport. Here you can purchase & gain assistance for activating local SIM cards in your devices as it is often necessary to call the local Telco HELP line for SIM activation. The cost for the SIM is approx.. USD 2.00 plus call credits.
  • The following are service providers in Bhutan for Prepaid SIM cards and Other Pay As You Go Options:

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Banner credits : Juan Carlos Madrigal