Thimphu has been the capital of Bhutan since 1961 and lies at an altitude of 2320m. Once a small rural settlement, today it is home to about 1,50,000 people. It is about an hour’s drive from the only international airport in Paro. Bhutan’s administrative and religious centre Tashichhodzong, on the banks of the Wang Chu, houses the throne room of His Majesty the King of Bhutan, Government Ministries, the nation’s largest monastery and headquarters of His Holiness the Je Khenpo (Head o fteh Monastic Body) and the monk body. The National Assembly Hall is located in a new building across the river. Next to the Dzong is the Bhutan’s only golf course.
Bhutan’s National Library, National Textile Museum, Folk Heritage Museum, Institute of Zorig Chosum (13 Traditional Arts and Crafts), National Memorial Chorten, Simtokha Dzong (Oldest Dzong of Bhutan), Changangkha Lhakhang and the National Institute of Traditional Medicine and Takin Zoo are other places of interest in Thimphu.
The district of Thimphu, however, stretches beyond the town and goes past Dochula, the first mountain pass in the western part of Bhutan. The 108 Druk Wangyel chortens (stupas) on the top of the pass where the ridges are draped in colourful prayer flags provide a scenic view. On a clear day, you can see a panorama of the nine Himalayan mountain ranges including the highest mountain of Bhutan.