We book into our hotel and explore more of Thimphu

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The Phuntsho Pelri Hotel in Thimphu


Phuntsho Pelri Hotel where we stayed in Thimphu Phuntsho Pelri Hotel in Thimphu

Next stop was to book in to our hotel. The Phuntsho Pelri is an older style hotel but we soon realized we liked the place. We had two rooms next door to each other. The foyer area is quite grand and there is an atrium too. There were tea and coffee making facilities in the room which is not often seen in Bhutanese hotels. Kinga and Dorje let us rest in our rooms for an hour and a half to settle in and to re-gain a bit of energy.








Changangkha Monastery

Jeremy and Ian at Changangkha Monastery Changangkha Monastery

First place to visit after our rest was Changangkha Monastery. This monastery was built in 1452. We were soon to learn that like all Buddhist monasteries it has 108 prayer wheels. It also has lots of steps. Kinga taught Jeremy how to prostrate himself onto the floor of the monastery as a sign of reverence.  Jeremy threw three dice and was told his luck by one of the monks. We were each given holy water sprinkled into our hands. We were told to tip the excess onto our heads. It was a yellow colour and smelled quite strong.



Motithang Takin Preserve

Some years ago there was a mini zoo in Thimphu but it was decided by the King that keeping animals in cages was not a suitable thing for a country such as Bhutan to be doing as it was against their religious and environmental convictions.

The strange takine Takin at the Motithang Preserve

So it was disbanded. Most of the animals were released back into the wild but the takins wanted to hang around Thimphu where they could get easy access to food. Because they were tame and wanted to stay it was then decided to place them back into captivity so they have their own special preserve. Takins are Bhutan’s national animal – they are half goat and half cow. Mythology has it that they were created by “The Divine Madman” a Tibetan monk who was asked to perform a miracle when he visited Bhutan.

Beautiful scarves being woven in Bhutan Making beautiful scarves


We wandered up the grassy slopes to take a peek at them behind their fences. Their bodies are cows and their heads are goats. They were bigger than we imagined. Also within the same preserve are two varieties of deer.

Whilst wandering around the area we found ladies weaving colourful scarves. We bought three of them.  They cost 500 NU each which is about $10 in Australian currency.



Drubthob Goemba

Drubthob Goemba monastery now houses the Zilukha Nunnery and that’s where we were taken next.

We visited Drubthob Goemba Nunnery Drubthob Goemba

We sat down on the floor inside watching the nuns play instruments. It was quite a cacophony to our un-trained ears. One of the instruments sounded just like our Australian didgeridoo.  There were lots of dogs there and we were able to count 13 just in the small courtyard. Dogs seem to be sacred animals in Bhutan. It was explained to us that you should not hurt them because any one of them could be one of your ancestors. They always seemed to be quite docile.



Wearing formal dress to visit Dzongs

Back at our hotel Kinga said we really need to each have a collared and long-sleeved shirt for the following day’s activities which involved going to government/military places. 

Well we didn’t have such items in our baggage. So, he kindly tromped around with us from shop to shop to buy them.

Ian and Jeremy quickly found something to fit them but we couldn’t find anything in the ladies wear shops that was big enough for me. I’m only a size 14 – 16 so I’m not large by western standards but obviously I was much bigger than the average Bhutanese lady.

I ended up purchasing mine from a men’s wear shop much to the astonishment of the proprietor and his staff. Well….what else can a person do?


Dinner at Phuntsho Pelri Hotel

At 6:30 p.m. we went down to the hotel restaurant for dinner but we were too early.  Dinner doesn’t start till 7:00 p.m. so we went back upstairs to our room. 

Half an hour later we received a phone call in our room to say dinner was ready. Down in the restaurant we discovered most of the patrons were on tours just like us. We even spotted familiar faces from the aeroplane this morning. We were served pumpkin soup and were then able to serve ourselves from a buffet. A member of staff was nearby to assist and I think the main question he was asked by everyone was “Which are the hot chilli dishes please?”.  Although the food was not overly warm (temperature-wise) we enjoyed most of it. The exception was the fish which was full of tiny bones – but then I must confess to having a fear of having little bones in my mouth. Dessert was a surprise – bread and butter pudding!


Showers at Phuntsho Pelri

We were so looking forward to our showers that night. There was plenty of hot water but the shower nozzle had to be held in your hand or otherwise it shot water out horizontally across the room. The shower was in the bath but we still managed to get water all over the bathroom floor. With a bit of practice tomorrow night our bathroom floor won’t be quite as wet.


Next page - Things to see in Thimphu, part 1




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