I hope you must have enjoyed the part 2 of the series, you can find the link here.
Let me now take you to the more serious stuff, about destinations, stays, food, things to do etc.
Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan seems to be struggling with the old and the new. From cars on the market road during peak hours to Museams, Dzongs and monuments, it is an old city trying to evolve into a new one. Thimphu is also the only one city where you can expect night life, more choice of cuisines and a welcome break from your itinerary.
There is a huge taxi stand and an adjoining bus stand. You can just walk up to the taxi stand and hitch a shared taxi ride or book an individual taxi. There are a lot of counters at the bus stand where you can book your bus tickets in advance, do try and get a bus ticket done to return back to Phuentsholing well in advance, experience a bus ride for this is your opportunity of interacting with the locals. Thimphu should also be your destination of buying souvenirs. There are a lot of shops all along the market road but we got the best deal and choices from Yarkay Central Arcade.
I passed Thimphu many times in the trip, mainly because of permit extension and it being the gateway to other cities of Bhutan. I stayed 2 nights in Thimphu and roamed around
Things to do:
1)A walk on the market road and the clock tower:
There is one market road in Thimphu which has pretty much everything. You can just walk on the market road and spend the entire day exploring the cafes, eateries, bakeries, shops, bars, karaoke pubs, supermarket etc.You will find a lot of hotels on this road. Even the immigration office is on this road. If you get a chance to wake up early you must take a walk on this road while the city sleeps. Spend sometime by the clocktower in the morning otherwise this place is always full of people. The arena around the clock tower also serves as a stage for performances.
2) Buddha point:
You can get a taxi to Buddha point but as I have mentioned, I am more of a walker, it helps me experience the city at a slow place and gives me ample opportunities to click photographs. I had Maps.me installed and i took a leisurely walk to the Buddha point. I hired a cab back while returning.
The Buddha Dordenma is located atop a hill in Kuenselphodrang Nature Park and overlooks the Southern entrance to Thimphu Valley. The statue fulfills an ancient prophecy dating back to the 8th century A.D that was discovered by Terton Pema Lingpa (Religious Treasure Discoverer) and is said to emanate an aura of peace and happiness to the entire world.
This massive statue of Shakyamuni measures in at a height of 51.5 meters, making it one of the largest statues of Buddha in the world. The statue is made of bronze and is gilded in gold. 125,000 smaller Buddha statues have been placed within the Buddha Dordenma statue, 100,000 8 inch tall and 25,000 12 inch tall statues respectively. Each of these thousands of Buddhas have also been cast in bronze and gilded. The throne that the Buddha Dordenma sits upon is a large meditation hall.
3)Bhutan Postal Museum:
The idea of getting your personalised stamp, really invigorated us. All you need to do is go to the Bhutan Postal Museum. It is on the road opposite to market road and can easily be found. You have 2 options of getting the stamp done, one by paying 360 bucks and the other by paying 500 bucks. Note that here only 100 rupee denominations are accepted. A visit to the museum hardly takes any time and should not be missed.
Places to stay and eat:
I stayed at 2 places:
- Hotel Shantideva: Good stay, especially loved the amazing paratha complementary breakfast. The hotel is on the market road, right opposite to the clock tower and very close to the taxi stand.
- Hotel Kisa: Amazing place, 3 star business hotel, great location, could improve on the breakfast.
Places to eat:
I got good food almost everywhere. But really worth mentioning were the Maggie and tea at Maggie point next to clock tower. Really loved the cosy environment of The Silver oak cafe on the main road and would highly recommend a meal here.