Thimphu Travel Guide
Thimphu is the seat of the last of the Himalayan kingdoms. It sits in splendid isolation in a long, high valley in the Himalayan foothills, closer to Tibet in its looks and feel and Buddhist underpinnings than to any place else. It is, however, distinctly Bhutanese in its customs and traditions, and its architecture and monuments. The city, in fact, is filled with characteristic Bhutanese structures with motif-adorned walls and decorated doorways, traditional Buddhist temples and stupas known as lhakhangs and chortens respectively, and striking and uniquely Himalayan fortresses called dzongs. There are monasteries and royal palaces here, both on the periphery of the city and in its midst, and an urban core where colorful prayer flags and prayer wheels are commonplace and where policemen direct traffic from their small, iconic, motif-decorated posts at the center of key intersections. There are hotels here that are a refreshing blend of traditional and modern Bhutan in their decor and ambiance, and restaurants where a plate full of grilled hot peppers is often served as an entrée. There are also a few good museums, artisan shops and emporiums selling locally-woven cloth, embroidery, wood carvings and Buddha statuettes, and lively produce markets that offer up a slice of authentic Bhutan. Ultimately, though, Thimphu is the most unlikely of all world capitals, and the only one with no traffic lights.
Thimphu, capital of Bhutan, is situated in the Wang Chuu Valley, on the banks of the Wang Chuu river, in the Thimphu District in western Bhutan, at an elevation of 7,656 feet (2,320 m).
The best way to reach Thimphu when arriving from overseas is to fly into Paro, which has Bhutan's only international airport, then journey by bus, which takes approximately an hour, to Thimphu.
Thimphu has a small and fairly compact core which can be explored on foot. For places farther out from central Thimphu, both buses and taxis – which have a set rate that is quite reasonable, usually within US$1 – are available.
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