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Things To Do In Thimphu
Thimphu is a majestic city in the country of Bhutan. Up in the Himalayan Valleys, this bustling city, peaceful as it may seem, would never fail to keep the inquisitive traveller idle. The rugged mountain slopes offer idyllic locations for cycling, trekking and hiking, and there are many monasteries and retreats where you can contemplate and seek spiritual solace. And if you are a shopaholic, Thimphu would never disappoint you. There are markets and museums where you can buy a variety of souvenirs for back home, festivals and dances to amuse you and food that is just savoured in every bite. With so many amazing things to do in Thimphu, you sure must start packing up!
Centenary Weekend Market
Take a leisurely stroll along the Weekend Market beside River Wangchu, where you can buy imported goods, spices, farm fresh local produce, prayer wheels, Gho and Kira, the traditional attire of the Bhutanese men and women, Bhutanese stamps and Thangka (tapestries). The Centenary Weekend Market sees a coming together of locals to enjoy their off day and pick up stuff for home. Along with tourist crowd, the locals will also be delightful.
The Centenary Weekend Market is open from 7 am - 4 pm, every Saturday and Sunday.
Souvenir Shopping at ABC Bazaar
Authentic Bhutanese Crafts (ABC) Bazaar is located below Norzim Lam and opposite Nehru Wangchuck Cultural Centre. You can buy Tshemdrup (embroidery), Lhendrup (appliqué) and Bhutanese Tshoglham (boots), Jim Zo (clay sculptures), Bhutanese paper crafts and bamboo products as souvenirs from here. This special place can be your one-stop destination for literally all kinds of souvenirs.
It is open from 9 am - 5 pm on all days, except Sunday.
Simply Bhutan Museum
The Simply Bhutan Museum lies to the west of the main city centre of Thimphu. Here you can learn about the ancient culture of the Bhutanese people, don their traditional costumes and listen to the women sing traditional and folk Bhutanese songs. Visit the souvenir shop inside the complex, and the restaurant that serves Bhutanese, Oriental and Indian food. The Museum is open from 9 am to 5 pm in summer and from 10 am to 4 pm in winter.
Trekking up the Mountain Trails
Trekking or Hiking through the winding slopes of Thimphu with wild rhododendrons, blue pine trees and the cool mountain air is a glorious experience. Some of the most interesting day hikes in Thimphu include the uphill hike to Phajoding Ghoenpa which is a 13th century monastery and the hike to Drolung Goenpa which is a 3200 m tall mountain where you can visit the Drolung Sangacholinh Goenpa monastery.
The Taba Lungtenphu Trek offers an impressive view of the Thimphu valley and in autumn, you can find the local people picking edible mushrooms.
Most of these treks are short ones and you can be back in the hotel by sundown the same day. There are also 10-15 day organised trekking and camping expeditions around Thimphu for seasoned trekkers. So, put on some sensible hiking boots, back yourself in warm clothes and carry water bottles and lunch on your next expedition.
Don't miss out on the traditional festivals celebrated in Bhutan. Each district of Bhutan celebrates its own set of festivals.
Thimphu Tshechu is one of the most important festivals of Bhutan that is celebrated in the courtyard of Tashichho Dzong in the 8th month of the Lunar Calendar (September-October). Thimphu comes alive with this festival. It is a religious celebration that is supposed to ring in peace and prosperity to the country and is commemorated with special Mask Dances to add cheer to the festivities.
Eat Cheese and Chillies
Bhutanese cuisine is highly influenced by Chinese, Tibetan and Indian food. The Bhutanese love their food spicy. You find a lot of cheese and chillies in Bhutanese cuisine; in fact, their popular saying goes 'the more the merrier.' Try the traditional Ema Datshi, a spicy chilli cheese stew served over hot red rice.
You will also find plenty of less spicy, vegetarian food in almost all restaurants around the city.