Published: February 3rd 2012February 3rd 2012
Thimpu Valley overview
best spot to view Thimpu
Bhutan- is a place of scenic beauty indeed. This was my first thought the moment our small plane was preparing to land in the tiny Paro Airport runway. The view from the plane was amazing. Paro Airport is a very small airport in a valley. The runway of Paro Airport is critical- the planes have to twist and turn between hills to land safely. Only small Dragon Air planes are allowed to land in that airport. The airport itself is a small Bhutanese style building and is not at all crowded. The moment we got out of the plane, and stepped into the cloudy, slightly cold country, I had a feeling that I would love this place.
We were greeted by our chauffer for next 7 days- Prem Jee- who took us to Thimpu first as per itinerary. We met another jolly, travel friendly family (husband-wife and 8 year old son Nilanjon) who were in the same group with us for the whole vacation.
Thimpu is the capital of Bhutan, but is smaller and less crowded than the usual residential areas of Dhaka- the place I live in. Our hotel was on the main shopping street of Thimpu- and
the whole street was visible from our window. There was hardly more than a hundred shops altogether. But the view was soothing- we could see hills in a little distance, and the shopping street consisted of a narrow street with Bhutanese style buildings on both sides. The ground was the shopping area and on top there were hotels/ banks/ offices. The buildings were not more than 3 stories high. There were small cars on the street but people mostly walked to short distances.
After lunch, we went to see the new Buddha statue that was being constructed on top off a hill at the entrance to Thimpu. From that spot, the whole Thimpu Valley could be seen in a bird’s eye view. On the way up, we stopped in the middle of the road and spent some time sitting beside the hilly road. Thimpu was a small, very small but nicely planned valley. The king’s house, parliament, stadium, golf course- all were at a walking distance from each other. The city was quite clean and tidy too and the people were very gentle.
Once we went up, we could see the bronze Buddha. The statue was completed but
the temple on which the Buddha is seated, was still under construction. It was a huge Buddha statue and the surrounding was peaceful and serene. It was understandable that when the construction ended, this would definitely be a very admirable tourist spot. We spent the whole afternoon over there looking at the Thimpu valley form above the hills. Once it was nearly sunset time, Prem Jee took us back to hotel.
We planned to retire early that night but once we reached hotel, we found out that there was a street concert being held right opposite our hotel. Students had organized it and the songs were a mixture of Bhutanese and English. The concert was not very crowded and we didn’t even have to leave hotel to see the concert. We could both see and hear the whole thing from our room.
Plan for the next day was to visit the city. We visited a Dzong, went to see the parliament, saw the kings house and went to a park. The park was pretty though small. There was a hilly river that ran just beside the park and students were taking a dip in the freezing river water.
It looked like they were having a friendly dare among themselves. There was nothing to shop in Bhutan- so our shopping budget was saved. The city tour was a very small tour so we had enough time to visit another hill top. On the way up, there was a small zoo with their national animal in it. I forgot the name but the animal was kind of a mixture of a goat and a cow.
We all loved the hill top. The view was beautiful. My hubby Siam and the other man in our group both climbed higher up to the pinnacle to take photographs. To me it looked like mini Switzerland.. the view was pretty much same to what I had seen in Switzerland while paragliding. I had decided then and there that I would walk down. It was a pleasant experience walking down the beautiful hill along the nicely maintained road. The sky was clouded slightly and the breeze was pleasant. We were in an adventurous mood and tried a little intersection between the woods to reach down quickly. The result was, along with having to endure small cuts, we had to jump off the hill side
on to the road a few feet below- as we had realized at the last moment that there was no straight way to reach the road on the other side of the wood!
The day was cool and cloudy but it didn’t rain. In the afternoon, we went to see the national museum. It too was on another hill top. But the building was an ancient stone building and the insides were made of stone too. After the whole day out, we were tired but it was in a pleasant way indeed. in the evening, we tried some local momo and found a coffee and pastry shop. We spent some lazy time reading and having coffee over there. Then we retired as we had to start for Paro the next day…
While I write the blog, my hubby Siam Wahid does the photography. Below is the link for his Flicker photo stream of Bhutan- http://www.flickr.com/photos/siamwahid/sets/72157629442432611/
There are more photos below