Thimpu – literally, the ‘Uplands of Thim’ – is the capital city of Bhutan, but don’t let that fool you. With a population of just 80,000, it is the smallest capital city in Asia and extraordinarily easy to navigate.
Known for its fine monasteries and entrancing natural surroundings, Thimpu is the place to experience authentic Bhutanese culture in an urban setting. The thronging Chanlingmethang Market boasts more than one hundred stalls selling hand-made Buddhist ritual pieces - scarves, prayer flags, bowls, and cloth – alongside daily sundries like fruit, vegetables, meat, rice, spices and grains. It is open from Friday afternoon to Sunday morning. The Tashi Cho dzong is another important site. Currently the seat of the central Bhutanese government, it was refurbished in 1962 when the nation’s capital was relocated to Thimpu. The traditional Bhutanese architecture of ornate carved wooden ceilings and columns can be found throughout the building, and temples in all wings of the structure showcase vibrant murals of important Buddhist deities.