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Things to do in Thimphu

Jungshi Handmade Paper Factory, Bumthang Owl Trek, Trek to Jomolhari Mountain, Go to Dochula Pass, Simtokha Dzong, Get to know Bhutan at National Library of Bhutan, Druk path Trekking, Shop at Weekend Market, Dagala Thousand Lakes Trek, Witness the Buddha Dordenma, Bumdra Trek and many more.

On your trip to the beautiful country of Bhutan, you can uncover a multitude of exciting things to do in Thimphu. You can visit numerous monasteries, trail through the handmade paper factories, trek to Bumthang Owl and Jhomolhari mountains, admire the entire city from Simtokha Dzong, shop at the weekend market, explore the age-old heritage museum, witness the Buddha Dordenma and much more. 

In addition to local sightseeing and shopping, you can also be a bit adventurous and go spend time watching wildlife at Motithang Takin Reserve and trekking to the Dochula Pass. 

Furthermore, there are also a host of exciting and tranquilizing
activities to do in Thimphu, which can give tourists a surreal experience to remember and cherish for years. These activities range from watching the sunset at Changangkha Lhakhang to having delicious local cuisine at the famous Cloud9 Restaurant.

So, if you’re a nature lover, photographer, peace and spirituality seeker, or adventure junkie, it’s high time you pack your bags to Thimphu for a truly magical experience.

Must do things in Thimphu

01

Jungshi Handmade Paper Factory

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Jungshi Handmade Paper Factory
Image Credit : Bob Witlox

If you’re someone who loves exploring the traditional hubs of new places, then visiting Jungshi Handmade Paper Factory can be the most suggested things to do in Thimphu. 

The Jungshi Handmade Paper Factory is a reputed and renowned place that deals in the production of the typical Bhutanese paper, Deh-sho. The manufacturers follow an old, traditional technique to generate paper from dekap trees, rather than the modern method. 

Tourists visit this place to catch a live illustration of the conventional process of papermaking. They also enjoy using the unique tools in the factory. Visitors also purchase the traditional Bhutanese paper and carry it home as an interesting and unique souvenir.   

Location:
Khuju Lam Street, Thimphu, Bhutan

Timing:
8.30 AM to 5 PM (Monday to Saturday)

Price:
No Fee

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02

Bumthang Owl Trek

Bumthang Owl Trek

The Bumthang Owl Trek is considered to be amongst the wildest and most intriguing activities in Thimphu. On this trek, you are bound to run into hundreds of these majestic birds. Listening to them hooting at night is a very different experience. This three-day long trek takes you around the Bumthang and Choekhor valleys.

You will get a chance to meet the nomadic Khep and Brokpa tribesmen, cross the Drangela Pass (11,000 ft.), get amazing views of Mt. Gangkarpunsum (24,000 ft.), and see the beautiful Zampalam Chuedek, and Tharpaling Gompas.

Location:
The trek starts at Manchugang, Wangdue Phodrang District

Timing:
March-May and September- Mid November

Prices:
BTN 1,50,000, INR 1,50,000

03

Trek to Jomolhari Mountain

Trek to Jomolhari Mountain

If you are having a tough time figuring out what to do in Thimphu that can be adventurous and fun, try trekking to Jomolhari Mountain. Jomolhari happens to be the most famous trek in the country. Almost the entire trek passes via a tiny portion of Jigme Singye National Park and Lingshi. 

In the course of trekking, you can take a glimpse of a broad spectrum of flora and fauna in the landscape. The main attraction of this activity is the magnificent sight of the Jomolhari Mountain from Jangothang, the base camp of Jolmolhari

Location:
Trek starts from Paro and ends at Thimphu

Timing:
April to June & September to November

Price:
Nu 150,000 to Nu 226,500 per head

04

Go to Dochula Pass

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Go to Dochula Pass

Trekking at the Dochula Pass is one of the most adventurous activities to do in Thimphu. An uphill drive of 40 minutes from the city, this spot can never be missed out. Dochula Pass shelters around 108 chortens that are constructed in the loving memory of the soldiers of Bhutan who lost their lives in the war of 2003 against Indian insurgents. 

Tourists visit Dochula Pass to take a mesmerizing glimpse of the Himalayas, standing at this spot. The place also makes for an excellent picnic site for the locals.   

Location:
The pass from Thimphu to Punakha 

Timing:
6 AM to 5 PM (All days)

Price:
No Fee

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05

Simtokha Dzong

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Simtokha Dzong
Image Credit : Carsten ten Brink

The Simtokha Dzong is located atop a hill overlooking the entire city of Thimphu. This 16th century Dzong has an interesting legend of a demon vanishing into a rock here. This was the first ever Dzong to have both a monastery and an administrative office.

This place has ancient carvings and painting, considered to be the most beautiful in Bhutan. The pillars have installations of tails of tigers and guns hanging.

Location:
Old road between Paro and Phuentsholing

Timings:
Monday- Sunday: 9:00 am- 5:00 pm

Prices:
There is no entry fee


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06

Get to know Bhutan at National Library of Bhutan

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Get to know Bhutan at National Library of Bhutan
Image Credit : Hriday

There is no better way to get to know a country, especially one that is as rich as Bhutan culturally and artistically, than by reading. The National Library has a collection of hundred-year-old manuscripts, scrolls, and books.

This library houses the world’s largest book weighing 68 kilograms and over 2 metres in height. The library is located amongst lush green hills and blue skies, making it one of the most picturesque libraries in the world.

Location:
PO Box 185, Pedzoe Lam, Thimphu

Timings:
Monday- Friday: 9:00 am- 1:00pm and 2:00 pm- 5:00 pm

Prices:
BTN 20, INR 20

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07

Druk path Trekking

Druk path Trekking

 This is a quaint trek that allows trekkers to walk on the ancient trading routes taken by the local Bhutanese people centuries ago. This five-day long trek, connects the valleys of Paro and Thimphu, traverses through some of the most beautiful routes.

This trek takes you through lush rhododendron, pine, and juniper forests, yak pastures, apple orchards, and high-mountain passes like Phume La, and monasteries. On the way, you will meet the nomadic yak herders and see mountains like Mount Jomolhari, Jichu Drake, and Gangkar Puensum.

Location:
The trek starts from Ta Dzong and Damchena village, Paro

Timings:
September- November

Prices:
BTN 48,000, INR 48,000




08

Shop at Weekend Market

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Shop at Weekend Market

Shopping at the weekend market is undoubtedly the most fun-filled activities to do in Thimphu. The sellers of different goods enter into the city on Thursday itself and stay up until late Sunday. A host of tempting Bhutanese delicacies are sold in this market. Visitors enjoy shopping for wild honey, dried fish, homemade cheese, saffron, and incense sticks. Other commodities available in the market include – white and red rice, fruits, herbs, and spices. The entire market is segregated into different parts based upon the kinds of products sold. 

Location:
Chhogyal Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan

Timing:
Anytime during the day (Saturday and Sunday)

Price:
Depends on what you buy

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09

Dagala Thousand Lakes Trek

Dagala Thousand Lakes Trek

The Dagala Thousand Lakes Trek is a six-day trek that lets you spend time in the beautiful wilderness of the regions of Gur, Labathama, and Talakha. You will get a chance to see some of the most amazing lakes here.

This is a slightly difficult trek, which will let you pass through high mountain passes like Pagalabtsa (13,000 ft.) and Labajong (14,400 ft.).You will walk through remote Bhutanese village and closely see the lifestyle of the villagers away from the civilisation.

Location:
The trek starts from Genekha, between Paro and Thimphu highway

Timing:
April- June, and September- October

Prices:
BTN 17, 350, INR 17, 35

10

Witness the Buddha Dordenma

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Witness the Buddha Dordenma

Visiting Buddha Dordenma is one of the most important things to do in Thimphu in order to catch a truly mesmerizing glimpse of the breathtaking Thimphu Valley. Situated atop a medium-sized hill in the Kuenselphodrang Nature Park, the site shelters a huge bronze figurine of Lord Buddha in the seated posture. The statue measures near about 51 feet in height. The body of the statue manifests around 125,000 tiny figurines of Lord Buddha.  

Visitors come here to pay their respect and admire Bhutan’s largest statue, the Buddha Dordenma. 

Location:
Kuenselphodrang, Thimphu, Bhutan

Timing:
9 AM to 5 PM (All days except Monday)

Price:
No Fee

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11

Bumdra Trek

Bumdra Trek
Bumdra is not just a trek. It is a religious pilgrimage as well. Bumdra means ‘Rock of One Hundred Thousand Footprints’. People taking this trek are said to be following in the footsteps of 100,000 Dakinis (angles) who traversed these paths thousands of years ago.

This three-day long trek takes you through lush rhododendron and pine forests to the most iconic landmark of Bhutan- The Tiger’s Nest. You will also see the Sang Choekar Monastery.

Location:
The trek starts from Sang Choekar Buddhist College, Thimphu.

Timings:
March-May, and September- November

Prices:
BTN 3,500, INR 3,500
12

Soi Yaksa Trek

Soi Yaksa Trek

The Soi Yaksa trek is one of the most popular trek activities in Thimphu with climbs up to 15,000 ft. known for its breathtaking views of snow-capped mountains of the Eastern Himalayan mountain ranges of Mt. Jomolhari and Mt. Jichu Drake. The six-day trek follows mostly off-road and uninhabited routes.

Since not many people live on these trek routes, you will find them to be extremely peaceful and closest to the wilderness. During the trek you will pass many nomadic people’s camps and herds. There are chances of spotting the elusive blue sheep also on the way.

Location:
The trek starts from Sharna Zampa, Thimphu

Timings:
March- June, and September- November

Prices:
BTN 1,56,000, INR 1,56,000

13

Spend your day at Simply Bhutan

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Spend your day at Simply Bhutan
This is a living museum, which will take you the closest to the traditional Bhutanese lifestyle, is amongst the best things to do in Thimphu. This museum provides a great educational tour for those who want to understand the simple lives of the happiest people in the world!

Here, you can learn how to make arak (the local alcohol), take pictures in traditional Bhutanese clothing, buy souvenirs, and attempt archery. One should not miss tasting the local food here.

Location:
GPO Building, Chang Lam, Thimphu

Timings:
Monday to Friday: 9:00am- 5:00 pm, Saturday: 9:00 am-12:00 pm, Sunday closed

Prices:
BTN 200, INR 200

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Other Things to do in Thimphu

14

Visit Memorial Chorten

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Visit Memorial Chorten

Memorial Chorten is one of the most iconic landmarks of Bhutan and is a magnificent sight. This is a monument dedicated to world peace and a visit to this place is amongst the must things to do in Thimphu. The monument is painted in stark white and golden spires.

Set against the lush green hills, this place is very serene and peaceful. It is dotted with beautiful paintings, murals, and sculptures. The locals place their highest faith in this memorial and you will see elderly monks circumventing it and paying homage.

Location:
Chhoten Lam, Thimphu

Timings:
7:00 am- 9:00 pm

Prices:
BTN 300, INR 300

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15

Experience Wildlife Motithang Takin Preserve

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Experience Wildlife Motithang Takin Preserve

One of the most exciting things to do in Thimphu is heading to Motithang Takin Preserve to spend some time with Takins. The Takin is believed to have been created by a mad saint using a goat’s head and a cow’s body. This peculiar animal has a special place in the culture of Bhutan. 

Apart from takins, the Motithang Takin Preserve also shelters barking deers and sambars. The place usually attracts wildlife and nature lovers, who flock here to enjoy watching the animals and doing wildlife photography. 

Location:
Motithang, Bhutan

Timing:
9 AM to 4 PM (All days)

Price:
INR 100

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16

Explore the Folk Heritage Museum

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Explore the Folk Heritage Museum

This museum is built in an actual Bhutanese house and is considered amongst the top activities in Thimphu. This is a recent addition to Thimphu landscape to educate visitors about the simple and rustic lifestyle of Bhutanese people, their clothes, and daily use things.

This place has beautifully replicated a rural village’s setting complete with millet, wheat, and paddy fields. It holds a 100-year-old hot stone bath, alcohol brewer, rice pounder, etc. giving you a glimpse on the way of life that is escaping from us.

Location:
Pedzoe Lam, Thimphu

Timings:
Monday- Friday: 10:00 am- 4:30 pm, Saturday: 10:30 am- 1:00 pm, Sunday: 11:30 am- 3:30 pm

Prices:
BTN 150, INR 150

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17

Take a Visit to the Goldsmiths Workshop

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Take a Visit to the Goldsmiths Workshop

If you ask what to do in Thimphu, one of the obvious suggestions you will receive is to visit the Goldsmiths Workshop.  

Run by the government, Goldsmith's Workshop is perhaps Thimphu’s richest building. Each day hundreds of silver and copper items are manufactured in this place. From melting metals to hardening – visitors can witness the whole jewelry making process here. In addition to jewelry, the workshop also specializes in producing other metal products, including monasteries’ toranas. Visitors to the Goldsmiths Workshop can also purchase small jewelry items directly from the craftsmen. 

Location:
Gold Smith Workshop, Thimphu, Bhutan

Timing:
9 AM to 1 PM and 2 PM to 5 PM (Monday to Friday)

Price:
No Fee

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18

Take blessings at Dechen Phodrang Monastery

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Take blessings at Dechen Phodrang Monastery

Literally meaning ‘Palace of the Bliss’, this 12th-century monastery transports you into realms of serenity and calmness that is characteristic of the Buddhist culture. Inside the complex, around 500 monk students reside and study. A site protected by UNESCO, the upper floors hold a huge statue of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and other protective deities. This floor only allows men to enter.

Location:
Gaden Lam, Thimphu

Timings:
8:00 am- 7:00 pm, all days of the week

Prices:
There is no entry fee

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19

Go on a tour of The Textile Museum

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Go on a tour of The Textile Museum

Most of the local Bhutanese people still subsist on weaving. The Textile Museum is an ode to this traditional art. The museum houses royal weaves known as Ghos and Kira. This place is a must-see for people interested in the heritage of the arts & crafts of the country.

It houses traditional looms and clothes including clothes and raw materials. The museum shop sells souvenirs and books for you to pick to get to know more about this dying art.

Location:
Near the National Library of Bhutan, Thimphu

Timings:
Monday- Saturday: 9:00 am- 5:00 pm

Prices:
BTN 250, INR 250


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20

Stroll at Centenary Farmers Market

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Stroll at Centenary Farmers Market

This market is a wonderful assortment of the sights, sounds, and flavours of the rustic and rural Bhutan. This is a huge farmers market with around 400 shops that sell everything organic and natural. You can pick up fish, fruits, spices, cheeses, local wines, honey, cherry-peppers, local handicrafts, jewellery, prayer wheels etc.

Here, you also buy traditional Bhutanese fragrances and incense sticks to take back home. You can interact with the farmers who are always more than happy to share their stories.

Location:
North of Changlimithang Stadium, Thimphu

Timings:
Tuesday- Sunday: 7:00 am- 7:00 pm

Prices:
There is no entry fee


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21

Take blessings at Zangto Pelri Lhakhang

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Take blessings at Zangto Pelri Lhakhang

Zangto Pelri Lhakhang is considered to be the replica of the heavenly abode of Guru Rinpoche. Interestingly, Dasho Aku Tongmi, the author of the national anthem of Bhutan, built this in the 1990s. Nestled amongst lush green expanses, this private chapel is a beautiful sight in itself.

It houses statues as high as 4 metres. The chapel also showcases the skull of an elephant that was found while digging its foundations during the construction process. The chapel is illuminated beautifully during the night-time.

Location:
Near the weekend market, Phuentsholing, Thimphu

Timings:
Monday- Sunday: 8:00 am- 6:00 pm

Prices:
There is no entry fee

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22

Eat at Cloud 9 Restaurant

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Eat at Cloud 9 Restaurant

If you’re a foodie, one of the best activities to do in Thimphu is to relish on some yummy dishes at Cloud9 Restaurant.

Cloud9 is a modern and up-market restaurant located in the center of Thimphu. The place serves appetizers, international cuisine, and wine. It is famous among the foodies for its handcrafted burgers, local beer, and wood oven pizza. Visitors usually flock to the place for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner. 

Some of the major attractions of Cloud9 Restaurant are its nice and cozy interior, polite staff, delicious food, and extensive food menu.  

Location:
Ghaden Khanzang Bldg 42, Phendey Lam Thimphu, Bhutan

Timing:
9 AM to 10 PM on weekdays and 7.30 AM to 10 PM on weekends

Price:
Nu 240 to 790

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23

Visit Tango Goemba

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Visit Tango Goemba

Visiting Tango Goemba is one among the most recommended things to do in Thimphu. Situated to the North of the Thimphu Valley, Tango Goemba holds a religious significance and has been a place of worship since the twelfth century. That being said, however, this monastery is now promoted as a hub for Buddhist learning. In the name ‘Tango Goemba’, the term ‘Tango’ implies ‘horse head’. The name is inspired by the original shape of the rock outcrop, which apparently looks like the head of a horse. 

Tango Goemba boasts unique and elegant Bhutanese architecture and is totally worth visiting.     

Location:
Thimphu, Bhutan

Timing:
7 AM to 11 AM (All days)

Price:
No Fee

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24

Watch the Sunset at Changangkha Lhakhang

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Watch the Sunset at Changangkha Lhakhang

If you’re a nature lover, then taking a glimpse of the sunset at Changangkha Lhakhang can be one of the best things to do in Thimphu.

Situated on a hill at a distance of 2km from the center of Thimphu, Changangkha Lhakhang happens to be the oldest site of worship. This shrine shelters a truly mesmerizing figure of Chenrizig. The mythological character Chenrizig, is believed to be the incarnation of a primary God of Bhutanese Buddhism, Avalokitesvara.

The monastery forms a good vantage for tourists who want to take a panoramic view of the breathtaking Thimphu valley. Visitors enjoy watching the sunset at dusk from this spot. The beautiful scenery is worth capturing and preserving forever. 

Location:
Changangkha Lhakhang Footpath, Thimphu, Bhutan

Timing:
8.30 AM to 5 PM (All days)

Price:
No Fee

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25

Attend a Concert at Clock Tower Square

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Attend a Concert at Clock Tower Square

Situated in the center of Thimphu, the Clock Tower showcases 4 clocks on each side of a rectangular column. All the four walls are engraved with mesmerizing dragon images along with some stunning floral designs. This design signifies the reputation of Bhutan as the “Land of Dragons” as well as manifests the breathtaking floral valleys of the country.

Almost all the open-air shows and concerts of Thimphu are conducted at Clock Town Square. So, if you are unable to figure out
what to do in Thimphu, just head to this destination and enjoy watching a concert. 

Location:
Hogdzin Lama, Thimphu, Bhutan

Timing:
Open 24 hours (All days)

Price:
NA


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Newly Added Thimphu Experience

Thimphu Top Attractions

Places To Visit In Thimphu
18 November 2015
Excellent
Dagala Thousand Lakes Trek was a great experience. It passes by picturesque lakes, Alpine meadows and villages set to a backdrop of magnificent mountainous landscapes. The experience was amazing and brilliant. We had a really great trek. It was sheer brilliance.
16 August 2015
Excellent
The trekking experience was great. I had a really nice trek here. It was an inexpensive and a really nice trek. I had a great time.
10 October 2015
Excellent
Dagala Thousand Lakes Trek is something that every trekker must take in his life. It is so poignant and brilliant. I totally loved this. WOW can be an understatement. The crystal clear, poignant lakes just give me goosebumps. The pristine lakes are so beautiful that you will forget yourself here. The trek is difficult, but nevertheless it is an amazing and a beautiful experience to say the least. I totally loved this trek and I just still can’t get enough of this trek. The experience would not have been this nice if the planning was bad. Special cheers to the team for handling the organization and planning of this tour in such a beautiful manner. If you are planning to have heartfelt trek, then look no further than here.
This was a 6 day trek. It was so amazing to see the beautiful snow capped mountains with the lake. It was an unforgettable experience.
Excellent
I loved the whole trek , nice arrangements and well managed trip
15 October 2019
Excellent
Me and my friends visited Bhutan this May. We took the flight from Kathmandu to Paro, it took us only an hour and we enjoyed the magnificent view over the highest mountains of Himalayas and the top of the world mount Everest. The great thing was that our programme was made in a way that the sightseeing of the historical places started the same day we landed. We had wonderful and caring guide Bijay who was telling the facts and stories in very detail. All the hotel were excellent quality and staff was helpful in every possible way. The food was so delicious, and we had possibility to choose which cuisine we want to try from locally grown organic foods to more western food. Our advice to try Bhutanese local beer that is really good. Also, it was nice experience to have hot stone bath after a long day-trek to Tiger Nest. I had really wonderful Six days in Bhutan and I can recommend Thrillophilia to everyone wishing to visit Bhutan.
15 October 2019
Excellent
I only had a few days to visit Bhutan. But I couldn't leave South Asia without at least seeing the storied kingdom. I had seen the architecture in photos, but the magnitude of the buildings in the scenery in which they sit is stunning! Thrillophilia made everything so easy. They created an itinerary, reservations and transportation quickly and efficiently. I felt like I was welcomed at the airport by a friend. I had some special requests that they were happy to arrange; even though no one had asked to do these things before. And they even changed the itinerary during the tour per my special request. I don't suggest making their lives more difficult like I did, but truly, I am so happy that I could be accommodated. Lodging was great, food was excellent, and the guide, along with the driver made it a trip to remember. I highly recommend Thrillophilia to anyone interested in exploring the Kingdom of Bhutan.
13 September 2019
Excellent
We had so much fun on this bike trip from India to Bhutan. This a great trip organised by Thrillophilia for bike trip enthusiasts. All the requirements were well taken care of and the tour was well organised. The route is extremely beautiful and a group activity as it was, made it all the more amazing. A lifetime cherishable memory!!
13 September 2019
Excellent
Very well planned trip and itinerary. Our group leader was very good in managing the itinerary during the 9 days. We had enough time to see the major attractions of Bhutan and enjoy the ride of bullet with beautiful views. Group was amazing and very friendly and I had made a lot new rider friends.
13 September 2019
Excellent
Roads were good with amazing views and landscapes. Bhutan is a county filled with full of natural beauty. Accommodation during the trip was ok and food was very good. After Ladakh this was second long bike ride adventure and bike trip to Bhutan will remain in my memories for forever. Thanks to team Thrillophilia and our group captain.

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People Also Ask About Thimphu

  1. How do I get to Thimphu?

    By Air: Bhutan has only one international airport, which is located in Paro. You can take a flight from Mumbai or New Delhi and reach Paro. From there, you can take a taxi to Thimphu.

    By Rail
    : Catch a train and reach at Hasimara railway station. From here you can take a taxi to Phuentsholing. Once you reach at Phuentsholing, you can take a bus to Thimphu.
  2. What is Thimphu famous for?

    Thimphu is famous for its ancient monasteries and old museums. The place is also recognized for its rich cultural heritage and festivals.
  3. How far is Paro from Thimphu?

    Paro is located at a distance of around 50.7 kilometers from Thimphu. It will take you near about two hours to reach Thimphu from Paro by bus or taxi.
  4. Is Thimphu safe to visit?

    Thimphu is one of the safest places to visit in Bhutan. The locals are friendly and the shopkeepers do not try to manipulate the costs and extract money from you. The residents of Thimphu are extremely humble and soft-spoken.
  5. What is the best time to visit Thimphu?

    September to November is usually considered the best time to visit Thimphu. You can also plan your trip to this destination during the early summer months of March and April. It is suggested to avoid the winter period, from December to February due to excessive cold in the region.

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