When I went to Bhutan in November-December 2008, they were celebrating 100 years of monarchy. We were impressed to see how lovingly the Bhutanese decorated their houses and streets in honor of their King.
After getting off at the bus station in Thimphu, we still didn’t know what to expect of the city. It was late and the wind was cold, our bodies were not used to spending 8 hours on the bus traversing treacherous mountain roads, but still we declared that it would be wise to walk to the city center than take a taxi. My Lonely Planet guidebook had a little map and a listing of cheap sleeping options.
Thimphu is located on the west side of the river Wang Chhu and no sooner than you cross the bridge (the bus station is on the east), you are welcomed by the city. I had expected yaks, huts, farms and fire-torches, but there were foreign cars, buildings, smooth roads and street lights. hmmph. So much for an exotic experience. Right before us was a huge fuel station run by our own Bharat Petroleum (an Indian Public Sector Utility) wonderfully decorated in Bhutanese style.
We walked further ahead towards the main square in search of a cheap place with delicious food, a nice bed, a warm shower. Being a low season (November), accommodation was fairly affordable and we rented a two-bed room for Rs. 800 ($20). In addition of all the features described above, we also got extremely cheerful hosts – wow. But eating and sleeping was the last thing on my mind.
After sufficiently motivating my buddy, we went for a walk around the town in the midst of crisp cold wind. The main square (Clock Tower square) was elaborately decorated and so were all the streets, almost looked like Diwali. There were few lifeforms on the street that night, most of them being street dogs, proudly proclaiming their control of the territory by peeing at random places or barking at random instances or both.
Sleep was quick thanks to the soft bed and warm room heater. Regardless of how much locals complain, I’m proud of the fact that Bhutanese dogs are silent compared to their counterparts in Mumbai. 🙂