Bhutan’s capital city of Thimphu (2,350m) is a fascinating blend of the old and the new. Zoning regulations have retained the forms and motifs of Bhutan’s traditional architecture giving the city a wonderful structural harmony amidst the modernity of restaurants, shopping centres, nightclubs and cafes. The Kingdom’s capital city is home to approximately 100,000 inhabitants including the Royal family. Thimphu’s most striking visual landmark is the magnificent Tashichhodzong, the seat of the Royal Government and Central Monastic Body. Semtokha Dzong, 6km from the city limits, is the kingdom’s oldest Dzong and now used as the Dzongkha language school of Bhutan.
A number of institutions in Thimphu such as the Royal School of the Performing Arts, the Folk Heritage Mueseum, the School of Traditional Painting and the Institute of Traditional Medicine offer visitors a fantastic insight into Bhutanese culture. Other attractions include the National Memorial Chorten, the 51.5 metre high Buddha Dordenma Statue, the Handicrafts Emporium, the National Library (housing a rare collection of Buddhist scriptures) and the lively weekend market.