Thimpu: Modern Bhutan

Photo of Thimpu: Modern Bhutan 1/4 by Saachi Dhillon
Photo of Thimpu: Modern Bhutan 2/4 by Saachi Dhillon
Photo of Thimpu: Modern Bhutan 3/4 by Saachi Dhillon
Photo of Thimpu: Modern Bhutan 4/4 by Saachi Dhillon

The capital city of Thimpu is a 4 hour local bus ride or 2 hours by taxi away from Paro. I opted for the 70 BTN bus ride, where I had some college going girls for company. The journey took us through lush green valleys, with mighty mountains in the backdrop; intricately designed Bhutanese homes, chortens and prayer wheels. My eyes were peeled outside throughout the journey, with my favourite songs playing in the background.

A huge billboard of the King & the Queen welcomed us to the vibrant city of Thimpu. This was the only place in Bhutan where I encountered plenty of people and traffic. I stayed at IMTRAT, the Indian army quarters bang in the centre of the city. After freshening up, I hired a cab and started my sightseeing tour. The City Palace, Buddha Dornema Statue, Tashichho Dzong and Takin Zoo were some of the places I visited on the first day. I could have gazed at the world’s largest Buddha statue for hours. Tashichho Dzong was enchanting, the largest Dzong I visited there. Takin – Bhutan’s national animal, a goat-cow hybrid is indeed a unique beast; unlike any other mammal I had ever seen.

The next day I took a stroll around the city, visiting the National Archives library and the nearby Folk Heritage museum, offering an insight into rural Bhutan. I wandered around for a bit, trying to find my way to Little Bhutan museum. After walking around in circles, I finally got there. I was famished and decided to have a quick bite at their café. This museum was definitely worth the effort; I got to wear the national dress and try my hand at Bhutan’s national sport – Archery.

I even visited Junghi Handmade Paper factory and got a chance to learn about how paper is made. You can buy intricately designed diaries, cards and handmade paintings at subsidized rates here. I picked up a beautiful card on which the Bhutanese flag had been painted. My shopping didn’t end there; I bought some traditional crafts and souvenirs at the Handicrafts Market. Ambient café in the city centre was the perfect place to unwind after a tiring day, with some Bhutanese pasta and Italian coffee!The helpful staff at IMTRAT had arranged for my Punakha permit saving me a lot of trouble. Back at the room, I quickly penned down events from the day, packed my bags, read a little and then called it a night.

This trip was originally published on Travel stories of an Indian backpacking girl.

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