Bhutan : # 10 Thimphu

Arriving in the capital, Thimphu, was a slightly different experience to my previous arrival ten years earlier.  Many, many more buildings. That’s to be expected in a developing country, but all those shiny corrugated iron roofs was a bit of a surprise.  As I understood the building code of ten years ago, construction of anything other than traditional looking buildings was prohibited.  That meant in particular, shingle covered roofs were obligatory.  You could have a corrugated iron roof ten years ago, but it had to be disguised with shingles laid over the top.  This really did preserve the truly Bhutanese style.  Nowadays, the shingles seem to have gone – progress perhaps? – or maybe even availability.  But buildings are still limited in height and still exhibit the ‘chunkiness’ and colours I remember.  Thimphu is still very much Thimphu!

Thimphu lies in the Wang Chuu valley at an elevation of about 2500m (8200ft).  It has a population of 104,000 (2013).Paro

Thimphu is one of the very few capital cities that does not have an airport, rather it is served by the airport at Paro some 54km (34ml) away.  This is because the country only has one valley long enough for a runway.  Pilots must possess a special license to land at Paro as arriving planes must first negotiate a high pass and then be guided up the twisting valley to the runway.  It is quite an experience to land at Paro.   On looking out the windows of the plane there are mountain slopes at the wingtips on both sides of the aircraft.

P1000573  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1000573 © DY of jtdytravels

The Wang Chuu and colourful city buildings of Thimphu.


P1000574  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1000574 © DY of jtdytravels

Buildings are limited to 5 stories in height.


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P1000881 © DY of jtdytravels

Our rather grand hotel in Thimphu, the Taj Tashi Hotel.


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P1000576 © DY of jtdytravels

The rather dramatic foyer of the Taj Tashi Hotel, Thimphu.


P1000583  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1000583 © DY of jtdytravels

Our bedroom decorated in typical Bhutanese style and colours.


P1000585  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1000585 © DY of jtdytravels

Tashichho Dzong.  The dzong is the seat of the Bhutanese government and houses some ministeries, the throne room and offices of the king.


P1000586  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1000586 © DY of jtdytravels

A guard at the Tashichho Dzong.  This post actually overlooks the nearby king’s residence, Dechencholing Palace.

No photographs in the opposite direction are allowed.


P1000590  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1000590 © DY of jtdytravels

A courtyard within the Tashichho Dzong.


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P1000595 © DY of jtdytravels

It was raining but this monk still makes a water offering.  Woebetide any unsuspecting tourist beneath, tradition and the gods come first!


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P1000592 © DY of jtdytravels

Colourful murals depict Buddhist stories on most walls.


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P1000608 © DY of jtdytravels

Detail of a mural.


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P1000609 © DY of jtdytravels

More wall murals.


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P1000600 © DY of jtdytravels

Colourful silk hangings adorn the dzong.


P1000613  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1000613 © DY of jtdytravels

Another guard at the dzong.

more anon



Photography   Copyright  ©  David Young  of  jtdytravels


More of our travels stories and photographs can be found on


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