Hiking through the Royal Botanical Garden (which is more akin to a National Park than a garden), the landscape has a wide variety, ranging in elevation over 800 m and covering a diverse array of biomes as well as wildlife, including red pandas, Asian elephants, and even the elusive tiger. Up in the higher elevations, around 2700 m, the moist cloud forest dominates. The hiking was incredible, everything was dripping with lichens, and even though it was late November fungi were popping up all around. Everything was lush, and green, and quiet.
It felt like what forests should feel like, with the silence of the autumn upon them, the quiet expanded in those green passages. The woods felt and looked ancient, from an age beyond years, and we were just passing through their midst. It was a wondrous hike, and a great trip out of the city of Thimphu.
Arra is a local distilled spirit, often made from one of a variety of grains (maize, millet, barley are most common, rice is possible as well). It is a common beverage especially in the eastern regions of Bhutan, where it often supplements beer as the most commonly consumed alcoholic beverage. Arra is often served hot as well, accompanied by a selection of fried chicken and onions to help the digestion of the alcohol. An interesting afternoon day is to visit one of several locations that still make the arra by hand, and have a tasting. They will be more than happy to show you how the arra is prepared, and you can sit around a fire and enjoy the traditional drink warming the mountain chill from your bones. Just sip slowly!!
Its name is Changlimithang Stadium. It is the site of the national archery ground, a large football stadium cum parade ground, basketball, tennis and squash courts as well as the headquarters of the Bhutan Olympic committee. When you are in town, it's really worth a look what is going on there.
It's highly suggested that you plan at least one weekend to be in Thimphu, as you can go to the biggest market in the country.
This market (“Sabji Bazaar” ) is in a permanent set of stalls orth of Changlimithang stadium. You can find all the food items here, and this is the only time that fresh produce is easily available in the city.
It is also a great chance to watch people. I realized that the short hair is very popular among Bhutanese women in the market.
At the morthern end of the market is a collection of stalls of indigenous goods and handicrafts section. Here you'll find locally produced goods, including religious objects, cloth, baskets and strange hats from minority groups. Bargain is not very common in this country but if you try, they could always reduce a little for you.
As tourists are not a main trend in Bhutan, these are actually intended for local consumption.
Not every guide would think of bringing you up there, but you have to ask for it. It's a very impressing place to see the whole capital city and Thimphu valley, beyond the praying flags.