Thimphu, Bhutan’s capital, occupies a valley in the country’s western interior. In addition to being the government seat, the city is known for its Buddhist sites. The massive Tashichho Dzong is a fortified monastery and government palace with gold-leaf roofs. The Memorial Chorten, a whitewashed structure with a gold spire, is a revered Buddhist shrine dedicated to Bhutan’s third king, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck.
At 51.5 meters high, the towering bronze-and-gold Buddha Dordenma statue sits on a southern hill above Thimphu. Marking the site of the 1885 battle that established the monarchy, Changlimithang Stadium hosts football games and archery contests. Nearby, the Centenary Farmer’s Market sells food and handicrafts on weekends. The Folk Heritage Museum, in a 19th-century timber house, focuses on rural Bhutanese customs. At the Jungshi Handmade Paper Factory, visitors can watch traditional Bhutanese papermaking. The Royal Textile Academy displays regional textiles from the 17th century to the present, including costumes used for Buddhist dances.