Thimphu Street Scene, Bhutan


Bhutan’s young capital Thimpu, established in 1961 is the beating heart of Bhutan. With a colourful weekend market, regular archery competitions and some of the best restaurants in the country, Thimpu is well worth a visit.

Little over half a century old, Bhutan’s young capital was barely more than a small village before its meteoric rise to prominence in 1961. Chosen by the King to be the new face of a reformed Bhutan, and to replace the ancient capital of Punakha, Thimpu is still developing at a rapid pace.

Despite its relatively large size by Bhutanese standards, the city retains a friendly feel and relaxed small-town vibe. Little shops and colourful marketplaces fill the city, squeezed between growing signs of modernity and constant reminders of Bhutan’s steadfastly traditional way of life.

The weekend market attracts hundreds of people from the surrounding kingdom to sell their wares. These range from handicrafts to aromatic spices to bows and arrows. Archery is the country’s national sport and it is worth staying around to watch the national team training for the regular competitions that take place. It is impressive stuff.


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Archery, Bhutan

Thimpu’s Archery Ground

With Archery as Bhutan’s national sport, watching an archery tournament in Thimpu’s stadium is a thrilling event. Competitors demonstrate exceptional skill, hitting targets up to 145m away.

Giant Buddha, Thimpu, Bhutan

The Giant Statue of Buddha Dordenma

This massive golden Buddha statue commands the entry to the Thimpu Valley and houses a large chapel full of thousands of Buddha statuettes.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Wooden Wall, Bhutan

The Painting School

Marvel at the beautiful work produced by the students at Thimpu’s Painting School. It is hard not to be impressed by their exceptional skill and discipline.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Trashichho Dzong, Thimphu, Bhutan

Visit Tashichho Dzong

Visit the Tashichho Dzong on the banks of the Wang Chu River, the largest working monastery in the country and also where the National Assembly and the King’s Throne Room are housed.

Sun Temple, Bhutan

An Introduction to Bhutan

This 13-day classic journey is the perfect holiday for anybody visiting Bhutan for the first time, taking in the main sites of Western and Central Bhutan whilst staying in a mix of traditional Bhutanese guest houses. 

13 days

from £7,895 pp

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Where to stay

Some of the wonderful places to stay that we frequently recommended.

Taj Tashi £££££

  • Bhutan
  • City

The Taj Tashi reflects Bhutan’s rich heritage and architecture with its interesting combination of traditional Bhutanese hand-painted design and modern design. The hotel enjoys majestic views of the mountains surrounding the Thimphu valley and has 66 rooms, together with a luxurious spa and indoor heated pool. Gourmet dining is offered at the hotel’s restaurant where you can indulge in both Continental and Asian specialities. There is also a contemporary bar and a Tea Lounge serving butter tea, a local favourite guaranteed to take the chill off in the colder months. There is a golf course a 5-minute walk away and a trip to the National Library and Textile Museum takes ten minutes by car.

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Como Uma Paro £££££

  • Bhutan
  • City

Uma Paro offers five-star comfort and a unique style in the wildly beautiful Himalayan country of Bhutan. Located on a hilltop, the hotel overlooks the town of Paro, one of the main cultural centres of Bhutan and the gateway to the country. Uma Paro is surrounded by pine forests offering stylish rooms featuring intricate Bhutanese detailing combined perfectly with a sharp, contemporary style. The excellent spa and heated indoor swimming pool offer a welcome rest after a busy day’s sightseeing.

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Meet our experts

A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

Kate Hitchen

My travels were first inspired by my love of the UK, which I take as much pleasure in exploring as countries far and wide. For me, travel is all about the adventure, the people I meet and the food I sample along the way.

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