Thimphu became the capital of Bhutan in 1961, since when it has swollen to a town of around 80,000 people. TransIndus tours typically pause a couple of nights here – long enough to take in its impressive dzongs (fortress-monasteries), the King’s Memorial chorten, Buddhist painting school and national folk museum, made of rammed earth to resemble a traditional farmstead.
Look out too for local delicacies such as jellied cow skin and fried fern on sale the weekly market, and don’t miss the chance to touch a takin, Bhutan’s national animal, which looks like a cross between a cow and a goat and survives in the nearby Mothitang Reserve. The town’s other claim to fame is that it remains the only world capital without traffic lights. Some were installed but had to be removed after the locals complained they were impersonal!