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SHOPPING IN BHUTAN

It is no news that Bhutan is popular for its scenic beauty and architectural heritage. Travel to this Himalayan kingdom leaves a mark on your memory. But beyond that, the Himalayan also offers to its visitors some of the most unique handicrafts, fabrics, statues, books and authentic items that are perfect to bring along as a souvenir. And to help you with the absolute must-buy things here is all you need to know about shopping in Bhutan that will give a complete spree experience.

The best things to buy in Bhutan

Bhutanese Handicrafts and Hand-woven Textiles

Textiles in Bhutan are woven with cotton and silk majorly with intricate motifs prints. World-famous Bumthap Mathra and Yathra textiles are found here. They are woven from yak hair and sheep wool. Under handicrafts, you can find Bhutanese items like decorative vases, statues, wall hangings, bags as well as paper and bamboo products.

Where to buy?

Norzim Lam Street: This is the main market of the city with shops on both sides of the road. The timings are from 10.00 am to 09.00 pm.

National Textile Museum: National Textile museum is a small retail shop to buy genuine Bhutanese textiles. The timings are 09.00 am to 05.00 pm.

Gagyel Lhundrup Weaving Centre: It is popular for hand-woven textiles that is available in both stitched and unstitched fabrics. The timings are from 09.00 am to 05.30 pm.

Adang Village: Adang village is the centre for Adang textiles that is famous worldwide for Adang Rachu, Khamar and Matra. The markets are open until sunset.

Tashi Industries Carpet Factory: This is Phuntsholing’s handmade carpet factory. It sells carpets woven from Indian wool and dyed in vivacious colours.

National Handicraft Emporium: This place sells wooden products, Yethras and bamboo items. The timings are 09.00 am to 05.00 pm.

Jungshi Handmade Paper Factory: You can buy all exquisite paper products like notebooks, diaries and wrapping paper. The timings are 10.00 am to 06.00 pm.

Cheencho Handicraft: One of Paro’s most popular handicraft shops, it has attractive and decorative products that you can take back as souvenirs. The timings are from 10.00 am to 08.00 pm.

Local Paintings or Thangkas

This country is an art-lover’s paradise. It boasts a wide variety of traditional artworks
Thangka paintings are a symbol of Buddhist teachings. Bhutanese paintings are religious centric and made with mineral paints. They are generally drawn on silk or cotton appliqué. These are largely demanded by the travellers and tourists as souvenirs in Bhutan.

Where to buy?

Bhutan Art Gallery: Here you can be sure of the authenticity of the products. The timings are from 10.00 am to 08.00 pm.

National Institute of Zorig Chusum: Located in Thimphu, this institute is a painting school where the art of thangkas is taught. They have a retail outlet that sells local paintings made by their students. The timings are 08.00 am to 05.00 pm.

Local Food Ingredients

Where to buy?

Centenary Farmers Market: This is the biggest farmers market set in th capital city Thimphu. You will find all the things on your grocery shopping list, along with fresh local ingredients of Bhutan. The timings are from 09.00 am to 04.00 pm.

Tea market: Even though Bhutan does not have its own tea gardens, you will find a variety of assortment that is imported from neighbouring countries of India, Tibet and also China. Jasmine tea is very popular among locals and tourists. The marketplace is open till sunset.

Yoser Lhamo Shop: This is the exclusive outlet of Swiss Farms enterprise in Jarkar. It serves beer, Emmental cheese as well as delicious Gouda. The timings are from 06.00 am to 07.00 pm.

Buddhist Sculptures

Buddhist Sculptures are a great option if you wish to take back home a piece of Buddhism and Bhutanese culture. The ancient monasteries in Bhutan is replete with majestic Buddha statues and you can get yourself a replica of those. Clay is the primary material that is used so it is also eco-friendly.

Where to buy?

Authentic Bhutanese Crafts: Located in Thimphu, here you will find a range of products at this crafts bazaar including unique Budhha statues and sculptures at affordable prices. The timings are 09.00 am to 05.00 pm.

Norzim Lam Street: Along with many other local items, this is one of the best places to buy sculptures and statues. The shops are usually open from 10.00 am to 09.00 pm.

Postal Stamps

Renowned for its unusual and unique postal stamps, Bhutan is the place for those who have an adoration for postage stamps. Stamps of all sizes, shapes and characteristics are issued here including 3D stamps and CD stamps that can be played using a CD player.

Where to buy?

Thimphu Post Office: It has an exemplary collection of stamps. You can also get your own personalized stamps. The timings are from 09.00 am to 04.00 pm.

Wooden Products

Bhutanese economy is largely based upon the sale of traditional wooden products. They make for incredible decorations for your house. These wooden products come in a variety of colours and shades and have beautiful intricate carvings done on them. Make sure you buy the pots and bowls that can be used in different ways.

Where to buy?

Town Square: The Town Square is in Phuntsholing. It has many local shops selling everything at this one place. You are sure to find brass and wooden home decor items. The shops are usually open from 10.00 am to 09.00 pm.

Wood Turning and Laquering Cluster: This is a small cooperative of local woodturners. They sell attractive wood carvings and dappas (traditional wooden bowl). The timings are from 09.00 am to 05.00 pm.

Choki Handicrafts: Choki Handicrafts is a beautiful store located in Paro. They specialise in Bhutanese furniture including cheoktse (lama tables). The timings are from 09.00 am to 05.00 pm.

Meditation Products

Meditation is the sole reason for peace and the secret to Bhutan’s Gross Happiness Index. Meditation products are strongly promoted as a part of their rich culture. You can choose from a lot of options like incense sticks, prayer beads, prayer flags, prayer bells, resin statues and much more.

Where to buy?

Weekend Market: Thimphu’s weekend market is from Thursday untill Sunday. You will find everything right from incense sticks to jewellery and much more at cheap prices. The timings are from 07.00 am to 08.00 pm.

Lama Tshering Dorji General Shop: This is a monk’s shop in Paro. It houses everything you will need for your meditation routine including incense sticks, amulets, prayer flags, lamps, etc. The timings are 09.00 am to 07.00 pm.

Colourful Carved Masks

Spirituality and festival is an integral part of the Bhutanese culture. The traditions of wearing masks date back to the 8th century and it has immense significance till date. These masks are hand carved from wood, brightly painted and decorated with colourful silk and brocades.

Where to buy?

Choki Handicrafts: Choki Handicrafts is the most popular place for decorative masks and other festive products. It is located in Paro and is also affiliated with Choki Traditional Art School. The timings are 09.00 am to 05.00 pm.

Does this excite to explore and splurge on Bhutanese handicrafts? Plan your trip to Bhutan now and discover the best of this Himalayan Kingdom!

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