Thimphu is famous for being the only capital in the world without traffic lights. Elegantly attired policemen waving white-gloved hands direct vehicles through the quiet city centre. The capital has an interesting combination of tradition and modernity. It is home to civil servants, expatriates, politicians, business persons and monks. Enjoy this cultural mix based on livelihood. Of culture we will take you through temples, a dzong, museums, handicraft stores and nunneries. Allow yourself to meet both traditional and contemporary artists.
- Simply Bhutan Live Museum
- National Textile Museum
- Weekend Archery
- Institute of Zorig Chusum
- Post Office
- Memorial Chorten
- National Library
- Craft Bazar
- Sakyamuni Buddha
- Tango Buddhist College
- Thimphu City
- Dochula Pass
Simply Bhutan Live Museum
Bhutan is a depiction of Bhutan’s ancient cultural heritage and living ways of Bhutanese people in olden days. Simply Bhutan has an altar, a Zhabdrung museum, photo studio and a traditional Bhutanese kitchen with a cooking stove made of mud and stone. Demonstration stalls of textiles and handmade products and cafe offering butter tea Suja, snacks and a souvenir shop are among others. Besides being a living museum that depicts Bhutan’s ancient cultural heritage, Simply Bhutan will also serve its purpose of providing employment to the youth. Youth gain skills on basic business and customer care through their own experience in the museum. Bhutan Youth Development Fund constructed Simply Bhutan with materials from traditional house
National Textile Museum
Has exhibitions on six major themes:
- wrap pattern weaves
- weft pattern weaves
- role of textile in religion
- achievements in textile arts
- textiles from indigenous fibers
- the Royal collection
The museum introduces visitors to major weaving techniques, styles of local dress and the variety of textiles
It’s not just sport but its celebration of the way of life and an expression of Bhutan’s rich culture and heritage, because when Bhutanese play archery it’s not just archery – the players also have to participate in singing and dancing. Family members also join in, so it’s a kind of a social event.
Apart from the grand festivity complete with traditional attire, it is probably the only sport, where players are allowed to drink! Traditional archery wouldn’t be complete without a lot of indulging in eating and of course drinking. This is something which has been passed down generations and it is still continued!
Institute of Zorig Chusum
Watch the students at work. From painting to gold and silver smithing or metal casting, weaving and embroidery, sculpting and carving, paper making, bamboo and leather work, masonry and carpentry, the trades have survived with little change since they were defined by the Shabdrung who unified the country in the early 17th century.
Weaving stands in a class of its own. Among the 13 trades, it is the only one clearly dominated by women and offers the most scope for creativity, with new colours and patterns, and the latest fashion, brilliantly incorporated in a vast range of traditional styles.
While bare-footed couriers still deliver the mail in many remote regions of Bhutan, Bhutanese postage stamps remain world-renowned in the philatelic community. Colorful, creative and collectible, Bhutan’s stamp launch in the 1960s of the world’s most innovative stamps not only caused a sensation each time they were released, but more importantly were valued by Bhutan as its chief revenue producer for many years.
Meet the elderly generation in circumambulation at the National Memorial Chorten. Chorten literally means ‘Seat of Faith’ and Buddhists often call such monuments, the ‘Mind of Buddha’. Treat yourself with fantastic depiction of Buddhist teachings in form of paintings and sculptures at this temple. As the name denotes this National Memorial Chorten was consecrated on July 28, 1974 in memory of the Third King.
National Institute of Traditional Medicine
In Bhutan, equal emphasis is given to both allopathic and traditional medicines. The rich herbal medicines made up from medicinal plants abundant in the kingdom are prepared and dispensed here. The Institute is also a training school for traditional medicine practitioners. The complex is closed to visitors due to considerations of hygiene, but one can still walk around and visit the showroom.
The “fortress of the glorious religion” was initially constructed in 1641 and restored by the Third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in the 1960s. Tashichhodzong houses some ministries, His Majesty’s secretariat, and the central monk body. Simtokha Dzong: Stroll through the very fi rst dzong, built in 1627 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. The Institute for Language and Cultural Studies is located here now. Enthral yourself with the most noteworthy artistic feature in from of over 300 fi nely worked slate carvings behind the prayer wheels in the courtyard
The National Library was established in the late 1960s primarily to conserve the literary treasures which form a signifi cant part of Bhutan’s cultural heritage. It now houses an extensive collection of Buddhist literature mostly in block-printed format, with some works several hundred years old. There is also a small Foreign Books Collection, stock of which mainly comprises works written in English, with subject interest on Buddhist studies, Bhutan, the Himalayan region and neighbouring countries. Take a chance to see the world’s biggest book stationed in the ground floor.
The Craft Bazaar provides a one stop shop for all types of authentic Bhutanese crafts and is expected to create an outlet especially for rural women, increase income of rural households, create ready market, improve the distribution channels for crafts and promote retail buying consortium. The Craft Baazar ensures that “Made in Bhutan” stands not only for quality products, but also for a set of beliefs and working practices behind those products and services that is respected.
Sitting on top of Kuensel Phodrang hill is a 51.5mt bronze statue of the founder of Buddhism. The site also offers unobstructed views over the Thimphu Valley – especially stunning at sunset.
Tango Buddhist College
A beautiful, sacred site, it is an hour hike through rhododendron forest to reach the monastery. Perched on the hillside, looking out over the forested mountains, it is truly a place of refuge. Tango is one of Bhutan’s most important Buddhist colleges. Its name, meaning horse’s head, is derived from the horse-head shaped rock at the top. It is a beautiful dzong built in the 18h century by the 8th Desi, Druk Rabgye. Today Tango is home to the reincarnate Lama, Gyaltse Tenzin Rabgye. A visit to Tango Monastery provides you a wonderful opportunity, to participate in local temple life.
You’re free early evening to explore the Thimphu city on your own- This is your opportunity to go shopping for your Bhutanese outfits….
Situated at 3150m Dochu La pass has wonderful views of some of the most beautiful and spectacular Bhutanese Himalaya. Stop to breathe in the cool mountain air and pay our respects at the 108 chortens built in memory of the brave Bhutanese soldiers who lost their lives at war in 2003. Walk in between the chortens, enjoy splendid mountain views and admire the architectural splendor up close.