Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan, is a fascinating blend of traditional and modern, offering a unique experience for visitors. It is the heart of Bhutan, housing the Bhutanese Royal Family, the Royal Government, and several foreign missions and development projects.

Nestled in the Eastern Himalayas, Thimphu is home to the royal family and combines the traditional with the modern. The city, fondly known as the “Palace in the sky,” stretches from north to south along the western bank of the Thimphu river. With a population of approximately 100,000, including the Royal family, Thimphu is a melting pot of ethnic diversity. It is the world’s only capital without traffic lights, a testament to its harmonious blend of tradition and modernity.

One of the city’s most iconic landmarks is the Buddha Dordenma, a gigantic Shakyamuni Buddha statue situated in the mountains of Bhutan. This statue, made of bronze and gilded in gold, houses over one hundred thousand smaller Buddha statues. The statue is beautifully illuminated at night, making it a sight to behold.

Another must-visit attraction is the Thimphu Chorten (Memorial Chorten), a stupa located in the southern-central part of the city. This ancient monument highlights Buddhist culture, serving as a great place to wander around while enjoying the aura of the site. For those interested in shopping and dining, the Clock Tower Square is a popular spot with many shops, hotels, and restaurants.


Interesting Facts

  • Thimphu became the official capital of Bhutan in 1961, before which Punakha served as the capital.
  • Thimphu holds the record for being the third highest altitude capital in the world, sitting at an altitude of 8,688 feet.
  • It is one of the few capital cities with absolutely no traffic lights.
  • Thimphu does not have a dedicated international airport and relies on the Paro International Airport, which is about an hour’s drive away.
  • The National Institute of Traditional Medicine, dating back to the early 1600s, is located in Thimphu.
  • The importation and sale of all tobacco products are banned in Thimphu.
  • Harming or killing the endangered black-necked crane could lead to life imprisonment.
  • Thimphu was one of the last nations on earth to adopt TV and Internet.
  • The Changangkha Lhakhang temple, the oldest in Thimphu, offers traditional Buddhist prayer ceremonies.
  • The Takin Preserve in Thimphu is home to the takin, a mix between a cow and a goat, which is the official animal of Bhutan.


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