Top Things To Do In Thimphu

dechencholing palace thimphuThe small kingdom of Bhutan is a gem that is nestled in the highlands of the Himalayas, and with its strong Buddhist culture and emphasis on the happiness of its citizens, it is a fascinating place to visit.  It is worth noting that tourism in Bhutan is strictly regulated, and the chance to explore the country without the use of a local guide is likely to be frowned upon.  Thimphu is the capital city of Bhutan, and is certainly one of the smallest capital cities in Asia, but there is still plenty to enjoy in the city.

Visit Dechencholing Palace

The DechencholingPalace is the official home of the King of Bhutan and a number of his close relatives, but he prefers to live in the smaller and more homely Royal Cottage.  The palace itself is understated in its size, but is beautifully decorated throughout, showing off the artistic aspects of Bhutanese culture, and also includes many items made at the Buddhist school which is a part of the palace complex.

The three-story building is certainly modest compared to the ornate settings of other international palaces, but it is still offering a welcome to international diplomats, particularly from India.  The greatest feature of the palace is the charming garden, which is very well looked after.

Enjoy The Tsechu Festival

The Tsechu Festival is an event that is generally held every October in settlements throughout Bhutan, and is a colorful and fun Buddhist festival.  The centerpiece of the festival is a lively and entertaining dance in which the dancers are in costumes and masks, and these dances tell stories with a moral message based on the life of Buddhist teacher Padmasambhava.  These festivals are also periods where people tend to congregate together, and the traditional Bhutanese markets are to be found where the traders sell their wares and meet up with old friends.

Immerse Yourself In The Culture Of Bhutan

One of the really attractive features of a visit to Thimphu is that although the city is slowly becoming developed with the introduction of western luxuries, there are still many traditional industries to be found in the city. The small number of tourist companies to be found in the city will be more than happy to accommodate trips to traditional sites and industries.  They can also help to arrange a visit to the National Library of Bhutan which is located in the city, and is home to many rare and ornate Buddhist scrolls and writings.

See The Bhutanese National Animal At The Motithang Takin Preserve

The Motithang Takin Preserve is a wildlife reserve that is designed to promote and support the existence of the Takin, which was recognized as the national animal in 2005.  The legend of the Takin dates back to the fifteenth century, when the Tibetan saint Drukpa Kunley was asked by his audience to create a miracle.  He is said to have eaten a goat and a cow, before combining the head of a goat with the body of the cow to create the Takin.

The preserve itself doesn’t allow direct contact with the Takin for visitors, but there are viewing areas from which pictures can be taken, and there is also a small centre with more information about this interesting species.

 Visit The Dzongs, Monasteries And Stupas Of Thimphu

As a very religious country, it is not surprising that many of the grandest and most important buildings in Thimphu are actually related to Buddhism.  The Taschichhoe Dzong and the Simtokha Dzong are two of the most impressive buildings to be seen in Thimphu, with these fortress-monasteries both dating from the seventeenth century.  One of the most attractive sites in Thimphu lies a short distance to the north of the city, where the Tango Monastery is beautifully set in the wooded hills, and displays many of the typical Bhutanese ornate architectural features.

The Top National Parks In Bhutan

bhutanOne of the main reasons that visitors will visit the Kingdom of Bhutan is that it is largely unspoilt by the modern world, and it can boast some of the best scenery in the world.  Nestled in the Himalayan mountain range, Bhutan is one of the true gems, but tourism is restricted in order to keep the country as idyllic as possible.  The very best locations in the country have already been preserved in some of the best national parks in the world, and a visit to these natural sites will certainly be worth your time.

Thrumshingla National Park

Located in central Bhutan this is one of the most popular National Parks as it enjoys some fantastic mountain scenery and particularly enjoys some great waterfalls.  Because much of the park is made up of the traditional forests that are to be found across Bhutan, there are many bird species that have flourished in the park, including the brightly colored Satyr Tragopan and the Rufous-Throated Wren-Babbler.

This is probably the most popular national park for tourists in Bhutan because it is easily accessible by road from the capital Thimphu, and it also enjoys a visitor center and trekking opportunities.

Wangchuck Centennial Park

As with all of the national parks to be found in Bhutan, the mountainous terrain plays a big part in the importance of the park, with over 200 species of animals to be found in the area.  The park itself is the largest in Bhutan and was named for the current royal dynasty, and can be found in the northern portion of the country, where a number of the parks are to be found.

The most important reason that the park is in place is the rare species to be found there, with Asian Black Bears and Snow Leopards both being present in the park.

Jigme Dorji National Park

One of the most fascinating national parks in the country is that of Jigme Dorji, where two sacred mountains can be found, namely Mount Jomolhari and Mount Jitchu Drake.  The Bhutanese government works alongside the WWF here to preserve many of the species to be found here, including the Bengal Tiger, the Snow Leopard and the Clouded Leopard.  There are also many traditional Himalayan species to be found in the park including the Bharal, which is species of sheep, along with the Dhole, which is a wild dog.

The park is also home to two high altitude fortresses that are among the most important country, namely the Lingshi Dzong and the Gasa Dzong.

Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park

It is the variety of different ecosystems that can be found in this are that make it such an important site, with altitude in the park ranging from 600m above sea level up to nearly 5000m above sea level.  There are a large number of different animal and bird species to be found in the park, including the Rufous-necked Hornbill and the Golden Langur.  However, it is the Black-necked Crane that spends its winter in the park that attracts the most attention.  This has also been a pilot area in terms of developing nature tourism, with guided nature treks being trialled in the park.

Royal Manas National Park

Lying in the south of Bhutan, this park has a different feel to some of the other parks in the country, with a greater diversity of plant life and interesting animals.  The park itself is named after the Manas River that runs through the park, and along with the other waterways it helps to support important species such as the Mahseer, which is a rare migratory fish, the Wild Water Buffalo and the Ganges River Dolphin.  It also has a number of endangered mammals in the park including the Bengal Tiger, the Gaur and the Golden Langur.