Walking on the streets of Thimphu
You can see in the picture above how tall the prayer flags are, I am standing at the bottom. This picture was taken from one of the hills north-west of the city. The built up valley with little colorful rooftops looks pretty.
The yellow-green houses in the picture above is a ‘modern’ subdivision construction. Looks quite out of place. The city sprawls along the true-western bank of the Wang Chhu river. The city is very young, it was designated as the capital of Bhutan only in 1961.
While it is common for the humble Bhutanese to complain about their garbage problems, most of the city is very clean and traffic is very relaxed. There are a number of taxis, and even a couple of bus routes! Walking on the beetle-nut stained footpaths is the best way to explore the city.
Traffic signals story:
Thimphu is one of two national capitals in Asia that does not have traffic lights. Local authorities had installed a set of lights at this junction but before they became operational the lights were removed. People complained that the automatic traffic signals were too impersonal and hence very unnatural to Bhutanese culture. So, instead of traffic lights, the city takes pride in its traffic police that directs the oncoming traffic with their dance-like movement of their arms and hands.
Thimphu may be the biggest city in Bhutan but you can easily walk the whole city in less than one day! It is very calm and attractive, with a number of cafés, restaurants, art stories and souvenir shops sprinkled all around.
We’ll end this little post about Thimpu with the dancing-traffic-policeman video.