The Capital of Bhutan

Thimpu, the country’s capital since 1960 (previously Punakha), is a two hour drive east of Paro airport. It is a unique city in Bhutan with a mixture of modern development alongside ancient traditions. Once a prosperous but small farming community, Thimpu, because of its geographical position and accessibility to the southern border, was the natural choice for the new capital. Apart from its short but bustling main street, it is a rather sleepy town. A visit to the market is interesting with the variety of foods and colourful costumes being worn. The Post Office in Thimphu is known for its production of postage stamps including 3D ones. They now produce stamps with tourist’s photos as a personalised postage stamp. Memorial Stupa, the Stupa built in the memory of Bhutan’s Third King. East of Thimpu is the Dochu La pass (3100m) where a large monument and a forest of colourful prayer flags signal the top of the pass. On a clear day the views of the Himalaya to the north are tremendous including Gangkar Punsum, the highest unclimbed peak (over 24,000 feet) in the world. Motithang Takin Preserve We visited this Preserve at the end of our trek, en route to Thimphu. As well as the Takin there are also deer. Some years ago the fourth king decided that such a facility was not in keeping with Bhutan's environmental and religious convictions, and it was disbanded. The animals were released into the wild, but the takins, Bhutan's national animal, were so tame that they wandered around the streets of Thimphu looking for food, and the only solution was to put them back into captivity. A visit is worthwhile, if only to see the very unusual Takin as this is the only place you are likely to see them.