Post breakfast, drive up north of Thimphu to visit the following:
- Pangrizampa: This is the place Zhabdrung (unifier
- of Bhutan) stayed in when he first came to Bhutan from Tibet. Now it functions as the college of astrological studies for monks, it is an imposing structure in its part of the valley with an even more imposing cypress tree right beside it. Every year a great ritual is performed in this monastery for the peace and prosperity of the country and all the citizens. People from all over the country try to make it to Pangrizampa once during the week or two long ritual to place offerings and to get personal blessings from the high monks gathered there.
Come back down and visit the following:
- Folk Heritage Museum: The folk heritage museum was open to the general public in 2001 upon completion. It treasures troves of culture and rich Bhutanese heritage provide rich insights into the Bhutanese ethos. Try to schedule your visit during the morning hours since the museum is less crowded at that time and there is plenty of sunlight to go around. The folk heritage museum is housed in a replica traditional Bhutanese house learn first-hand about Bhutan‟s rich cultural traditions, its deeply rooted heritage which spans thousands of years and the Bhutanese way of life. The tour of this almost living museum will also give you a glimpse onto how many rural folk of the country live today following the ancient Bhutanese ways.
- Memorial Chorten: Referred to as the Memorial Chorten, its actual name is Gongzo Chorten or Gyaldren Chorten. The Chorten is a chief landmark in the Capital city and is also a most sacred place of worship for local people. The idea of the chorten was conceptualized by the Third King, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck to ward-off negative energies. After His Majesty’s demise, the chorten was built in his memory by the 4th King and the then Queen Mother in 1972. Many old people come here early in the morning to circumambulate and say their prayers in the hopes of garnering enough good karma for their afterlife; they are joined by the middle and the younger generation in the evenings who also come to do either the same thing or to just relax their mind. The doors of this stupa remain mostly closed except on holy days. Inside, there are three stories and on each floor are statues of protective deities.
- Kuensel Phodrang: The Kuensel Phodrang or the Buddha point is the world’s largest sitting Buddha statue, the statue is 167 feet high. The statue is situated on top of a hill overlooking the city of Thimphu, it can be accessed by road and is about 15 minutes away from the city’s center. The word Kuensel means everything is clear and from this place you will sure enjoy a great view of the Thimphu Valley on both sides. The statute houses a temple inside with beautifully carved out pillars, with the central figure of Chenrizig, the Buddha of Compassion. On the drive to the statue the steep winding hill road offers an unparalleled view of the city of Thimphu and is an excellent place to capture a view of the city especially after dark.
- Changangkha Lhakhang: It is a 12th century temple sitting on top of a hill overlooking Thimphu valley with the main statue of Chenrizig (The Buddha of Compassion). This temple is often mistaken for a dzong by visitors because it looks like one, and apart from the temple it also houses a monastic school. Most of the couples go to this temple soon after birth to get blessings for their child.
- Motithang Takin preserve: The Motithang Takin Preserve also known as the Thimphu Zoo by many is a small natural preserve for the Takin Bhutan‟s national animal. It was originally a mini zoo, but it was converted in a preserve later on as the Takin. The preserve is a forested preserve that mimics the Takin‟s natural habitat, in addition to the Takin there are a few musk deer and barking deer that live inside the preserve. There are plans to expand the preserves collection to include other rarely seen animals that live in Bhutan, currently the preserve plans to add the Red Panda and the Himalayan Serow to the preserve.
- Overnight at a hotel in Thimphu.