17 Spellbinding Places To Visit In Thimphu On Your Next Trip To Bhutan


The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan makes for the perfect vacation in the hills. The place is not only magical but mystical, full of history and distinct Buddhist culture. Its capital city of Thimphu thus becomes every traveller’s dream to witness the Bhutanese ways of life. Located in the western part of the country, Thimphu occupies a valley. The city is prominent as the administrative seat of the King, with a long list of various Buddhist sites, monasteries, museums and other places to visit in Thimphu.

So, if you wish to make the most of your Thimphu sightseeing tour, read on about these best places in Thimphu!

17 Places To Visit In Thimphu For A Surreal Affair

While there are a lot of places to visit in Thimphu, here’s a list of 17 best which you ought to see on your next trip there. Take a look at these famous Thimpu sightseeing places!

  • Trashi Chho Dzong: Know The Bhutanese Past
  • Changangkha Lhakhang: Pay Your Respect
  • Weekend Market: Put on Your Bargaining Hats
  • Tango Goemba: Go Trekking
  • National Memorial Chorten: Meditate & Pray
  • Motithang Takin Preserve: Observe The National Animal
  • Dechen Phodrang: Site Of Original Thimphu Dzong
  • National Library of Bhutan: For The Bibliophiles
  • Simply Bhutan: A Living Museum
  • National Institute for Zorig Chusum: The Painting School
  • Clock Tower Square: Enjoy The Concerts
  • Tango Buddhist Institute: Put On Your Adventure Hats
  • Simtokha Dzong: Appreciate The Art
  • Dochula: Pay Your Dues
  • Folk Heritage Museum: Learn & Explore
  • Changlimithang Archery Ground: Feel The Discipline In The Air
  • Bhutan Postal Museum: Fascinating Stamps

1. Trashi Chho Dzong: Know The Bhutanese Past

Trashi Chho Dzong

Also known as Tashichho Dzong, or simply, Thimphu Dzong, this is surely one of the most interesting places to visit in Thimphu. This grand fort also serves the venue for country’s biggest annual festival tsechu. The dzong is not the original Thimphu Dzong as the palace has been destroyed in fires almost five times till date. Last renovated in 1962 by the then King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, the fort has the secretariat, offices of the King and other officials and ministers as well as the throne room. Known for its signature white-red-gold combination of colours and tiered roofs, the place offers a deep insight into Bhutanese past.

Location: Chhagchhen Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan

Timings: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM (Sat – Sun), 5:30 PM – 6:00 PM (Fri – Sun)

Entry Fee: NA

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2. Changangkha Lhakhang: Pay Your Respect

Changangkha Lhakhang

Image Source

A popular Buddhist temple, this place was first built in the 12th century under the guidance of Lama Phajo Drukgom Shigpo from Tibet. The place is especially visited by parents to receive blessings for their newborn children. The white fortress-like structure makes it one of the most popular tourist places in Thimphu holiday. The interiors are full of murals depicting different stories. You can also get an astrology reading done here. The quiet and serenity of the place, with a lane full of black-gold prayer wheels, will add to the whole mystical aura of your visit here.

Location: Changangkha Lhakhang Footpath, Thimphu, Bhutan

Timings: 8 am – 6 pm

Entry Fee: No entry fee

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3. Weekend Market: Put On Your Bargaining Hats

Weekend Market In Thimphu

Image Source

Quite literally, this market is held on the weekend at the banks of river Wang Chhu. Different shopkeepers from Thimphu and neighbouring area start arriving in the city on Thursday evening and leave on Sunday night to set up their stalls for the market. This is one of the best places to visit in Thimphu to get a thorough idea of culture, food and local lifestyle. You can pick some incense, saffron and other herbs from local vendors. Apart from that, different Bhutanese and Tibetan food items like dried fish, pork, ground barley, red rice, cheese, wild honey etc. also are available here. You can also shop for souvenirs from the Handicrafts Market, which is a stone’s throw away from here.

Location: Chhagchhen Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan

Timings: 7:00 AM – 8:00 PM (Sat & Sun)

Entry Fee: No entry fee

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4. Tango Goemba: Go Trekking

Tango Goemba Monastery in Thmphu, Bhutan

Image Source

Originally built in the 15th century by Lama Drukpa Kunley, Tango is another Buddhist site in the city. Renovated in 2016, the place serves as a centre for Buddhist studies. You would have to trek uphill for about forty-five minutes to reach the place. The chapels, meditation cave, living quarters at Tango are one of the most interesting places to see in Thimphu. You can also witness a crystal here brought in from Tibet which is used specifically for meditation.

Location: northern end of Thimphu Valley

Timings: 24/7 (still check before heading)

Entry Fee: NA

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5. National Memorial Chorten: Meditate & Pray

national memorial chorten

Probably one of the most popular Thimphu points of interest, this chorten features as a daily place of worship in many natives’ lives. Built in the Tibetan style as a memorial to the third Bhutanese King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, the place is known for its whitewashed walls and golden tiered roofs. One of the most popular places to visit in Thimphu, this Memorial Chorten is visited every day by elderlies, kids and other people on their way to offices, schools and back home. You will find beautiful mandalas and murals here. The large prayer wheels are coloured red in this chorten which see hundreds daily who meditate here.

Location: Chhoten Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan

Timings: open 24 hours

Entry Fee: INR 300 

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6. Motithang Takin Preserve: Observe The National Animal

top Thimphu tourist attractions

The best place in Bhutan to observe Takin, the national animal, this preserve was, in fact, a zoo some years back. Then the fourth King of Bhutan decided against the establishment as he felt the idea of a zoo was not in sync with the Bhutanese culture and their idea of environment as well as religion. As the zoo was dismantled, the animals being held there were freed to go back in the wild. Interestingly, the flock of Takin, which lived in the zoo, had been tamed, resulting in them roaming around the city of Thimphu for food. It was then decided to put them back into the preserve. Best time to visit this place, which is one of the top Thimphu tourist attractions, is in the mornings when the animals gather around the fences to feed.

Location: Motithang, Bhutan

Timings: Closes 5 pm

Entry Fee: 30 Nu

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7. Dechen Phodrang: Site Of Original Thimphu Dzong

is now a state school

Image Source

Ranking high on the Thimphu places to visit lists, this is the site of the original Thimphu Dzong. Built in the 12th century, the dzong here was destroyed in a fire. Dechen Phodrang is now a state school, which teaches around 250 students. The main chapel here is full of murals and paintings going back 800 years.

Location:  Thimphu, Bhutan

Timings: Closes 4 pm

Entry Fee: 300 Nu

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8. National Library of Bhutan: For The Bibliophiles

National Library

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The answer to the usual what to see in Thimphu is hands down this National Library. The place was built in 1967 with the sole purpose of preserving ancient texts. This is the one place which houses most enlightening and interesting things to see in Thimphu. The architecture here is beautiful in typical Bhutanese tradition. Most books here are on handmade paper, preserved between wooden pieces or wrapped in silk. You can also spot different blocks used in printing.

Location: PO Box 185, Pedzoe Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan

Timings: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM (Mon – Fri)

Entry fee: No charge

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9. Simply Bhutan: A Living Museum

Simply Bhutan

A must-visit place in Thimphu, Simply Bhutan is a living museum which gives the tourists a taste of Bhutanese lifestyle. You get to dress up, distil arak, try your hand at archery – in short everything that the natives do. The museum has an inspiring program of engaging Bhutanese youth in the preservation of local culture, one of the four tenets of Gross Happiness Product that the Wangchuks and Bhutan itself has come to embody.

Location: Genyén Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan

Timings: 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM, 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM (Mon – Sat)

Entry fee: INR 200

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10. National Institute for Zorig Chusum: The Painting School

painting school offers various courses

This painting school offers various courses ranging from four to six years to teach students 13 different types of traditional arts from Bhutan. Students learn painting furniture as well as thangkas (religious paintings), woodcarving, embroidery as well as statue making. The demonstrations made by the students are mesmerizing and you will no doubt be impressed by their diligence and discipline. You can also buy pieces made by students in the showroom here.

Location: Thimphu, Bhutan

Timings: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM, 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM

Entry fee: INR 100

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11. Clock Tower Square: Enjoy The Concerts

features four different clocks

Image Credit: Stephen Shephard for Wikimedia

The clock tower, situated in the nucleus of the city of Thimphu, possesses four various clocks on the four sides of the rectangular column. Its walls are carved with attractive hand carved dragons and some catchy floral designs, keeping in mind Bhutan’s reputation as the Land of the Thunder Dragon and also its many floral valleys. Most open-air concerts in the city are held here at the Clock Tower Square. Watching a show here is one of the most famous tourist places in Thimpu 

Location: Hogdzin Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan

Timings: Open 24/7

Entry Fee: No entry fee

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12.Tango Buddhist Institute: Put On Your Adventure Hats

largest collection of literature on Tibetan Buddhism

Image Credit: Jmhullot for Wikimedia

Situated at a distance of 14 kilometres from the city centre, the Tango Buddhist Institute is a place of serenity, peace and beauty which is set in the picturesque valley of Thimphu. Founded in the 13th century by the much revered Lama Gyalwa Lhanampa, the three-storey monastery stores a number of notable statues. At the ground floor you’ll see a huge statue of the Buddhu made of gold and copper, and houses the Trulku temple for worshipping the Buddha. One can easily reach the temple through a half day hike amidst the scenic mountains and alpine woods, which is one of the most adventurous tourist places in Thimpu.

Location: Thimphu, Bhutan

Timings: 8AM to 5PM

Entry fees: No charge

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13. Simtokha Dzong: Appreciate The Art

best place for go

Image Credit: Bernard Gagnon for Wikimedia commons

Dzongs are one of a kind architectural innovations of the Bhutanese empire, somewhat alike to city halls in American cities, and touring one is one of those distinct tourist places in Thimphu . It actually houses the bedchambers of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel and Jigme Namgyel, two of the highly influential figures in the chapter of Bhutanese history. However, the ultimate highlight of the place is its paintings and gold-black statues(such as those of Guru Rinpoche and Jampelyang) that adorn its halls and courtyards. The Simtokha Dzong is one of the best places to enjoy Thimpu sightseeing around and also explore the various artwork inside.

Location: Semtokha, Bhutan

Timings: 9AM to 5PM

Entry Fees: no charge

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14. Dochula: Pay Your Dues

dochu la bhutan

Image Credit: Sujithkr for wikipedia

We won’t deny the fact that Dochula is a 40-minute drive from Thimphu but it is definitely worth the visit especially for those who are looking for Thimpu sightseeing places. Once here, you will witness 108 chortens that were constructed in the memory of martyrs who fought against the 2003 insurgent. The site along with the breathtaking views of the mountains will give you goosebumps as you explore it with your travel buddies. It is a very popular site where locals and tourists come to enjoy a picnic. Indeed it had to under the list of best tourist places in Thimpu.

Location: between Thimphu and Punakha

Timings: 6 AM – 5 PM

Entry Fee: NA

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15. Folk Heritage Museum: Learn & Explore

folk heritage museum thimphu

From the official Facebook page of Folk Heritage Restaurant

Built and established in 2001, Folk Heritage Museum has become famous among the tourists who wish to explore deeply about the Bhutanese culture and lifestyle. It is one of the best place to get insights about the local culture and heritage of Bhutan. When here you can simultaneously sample delicious local cuisine of Bhutan. Take note this ain’t that typical museum, it is something every tourist would love to explore. This place is filled with wonders and surprises, hence it is one of the best places to visit in Thimpu.

Location: Thimphu, Bhutan

Timings: 9 AM – 5 PM

Entry Fee: INR 150

16. Changlimithang Archery Ground: Feel The Discipline In The Air

archery in bhutan

Image Credit: Bernard Gagnon for wikimedia commons

For those who don’t know we’ll tell you archery is the National Sport of Bhutan. Make use of your holidays and learn about this fascinating sport with your favorite people. Head to the Changlimithang Archery Ground where you will not only get a chance to interact with the great archers but you can also pick a trick or two. It is one of the must visit places in Thimpu, Bhutan.

Location: Chang Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan

Timings: 7:30 AM – 11 AM

Entry Fee: NA

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17. Bhutan Postal Museum: Fascinating Stamps

postal stamps

Image Source

If you have any sort of interest in philately, then you should definitely stop by the National Post Office in Thimphu. From round, square, rectangular to even 3-D stamps, you will find multiple varieties of stamps in here. This place is any philatelist’s dream come true. You can even create personalized stamps with your photo on it. It will be an interesting souvenir to bring back home. Get to this fascinating land of stamps and take something for your friends as well.

Location: Thimphu 11001, Thimphu, Bhutan

Timings: 9 AM – 4 PM

Entry Fee: INR 150

Further Read: Wander Into The Wild For A Thrilling Thai Getaway At Khao Yai National Park

Thimphu sightseeing cost depends a lot on your itinerary and operator. If it is your first time in Bhutan, it is best to book a tour to cover all the places to visit in Thimphu. So, plan your Bhutan trip with TravelTriangle to make sure a comfortable experience awaits you in this dreamy Himalayan land!

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Frequently Asked Questions About Places To Visit In Thimphu

What is Thimphu famous for?

Thimphu is the capital city of Bhutan and is known for its spectacular scenery and rich culture. It is also the largest city in the country. The spectacular 15th century Tango Gompa is also the most sought after site in all of Bhutan.

Is it safe to travel to Thimphu during the covid-19 pandemic?

You need to check the most current information about tourism in Nepal and follow the guidelines issued by the authorities. It is advisable to get fully vaccinated and get your RT-PCR test done before travelling.

Which is better, Paro or Thimphu?

Thimpu is a lively place and features numerous tourist attractions. The place hosts sightseeing tours and you can explore architectural marvels, museums, etc. Paro is known for its scenic beauty and enticing sightseeing tours across the valley.

How many days are enough for Thimpu?

It would take you around 2-3 days to explore the city thoroughly, seeing all of the sights and resting. It is a beautiful city and there are a lot of places to visit and things to do, which will be well worth a memorable trip.

What is the best time to visit Bhutan?

The best time to visit Bhutan is from October till December. The skies are clear and sunny during this time and it’s not too cold unlike in January and February when the chill could be a bit too unbearable. You can also visit the country during springtime from March to mid-May when the hills of Bhutan are laden with blooming Rhododendron flowers.

How do I get to Thimphu?

Thimphu is the capital of Bhutan. However, the only international airport in the country is in Paro. It is well connected by regular flights from Delhi, Kolkata, Gaya, Bangkok and Kathmandu. You can hire a taxi from Paro airport to Thimphu which will take you 1 and a half hours to reach.

Is Indian currency accepted in Bhutan?

Bhutan’s currency Ngultrum (BTN) has the same value as Indian National Rupees (INR). The denominations of ₹100 and ₹50 can be used for small transactions in Bhutan. However, the 500, 1000 and 2000 Indian notes are not allowed for transactions in Bhutan.

How far is Punakha from Thimphu?

Punakha is located at a distance of around 85 kilometres from Thimpu and you can take a road journey which takes nearly 2.5 to 3 hours, depending upon the weather conditions.

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