Thimphu is Bhutan’s rapidly growing capital city with approximately 200+ buildings under construction at any given time. Despite that housing is still somewhat difficult to find. Normally apartments are 2-3 bedrooms with 2-3 toilets and go for around Nu.6500-8000 per month. They are usually completely unfurnished. With the Made in China products now freely available in town, furnishing the apartment can be relatively affordable.
The Pelkhil campus is centered in the new growth area that includes Lungtenphu, Olakha, Semtokha and Babesa that is enjoying (suffering?) the greatest pace of urban growth at present. Finding housing close to the campus will most likely become easier within a year or so.
The Thimphu urban centre is approximately 2km north from the campus but thanks to the wild goose chase created by the expressway, the actual travel distance is more than 5km. It is possible to walk to Thimphu but not advised as the expressway designers forgot to include a safe pedestrian path. Thimphu’s drivers also seem to have skipped the chapter on safety during their training.
Thimphu is approximately 7500 feet above sea level. The summers can be relatively hot, sometimes crossing 30 degrees Celsius and the winters cold at close to zero in the mornings and evenings. Most homes aren’t insulated and badly built with plenty of natural air infiltration when you least want it. Electricity supply is steady however and a couple of panel heaters are usually enough to keep the home warm.
Thimphu used to be very safe with the only threats being your neighbour’s unneighbourly dog. Things have changed over the past decade and it is usually unwise to walk around at night alone especially in certain parts.
Thimphu is a town of about 100,000 of which about 25,000 are school going students. About 2500 students study in private schools.
Other tidbits: Visa card does not work in Bhutan, just Mastercard. Even if your visa was free, you still have to pay $20 on arrival to have your passport stamped. To work you must make a work permit at the Department of Immigration. All employees must pay the Personal Income Tax (PIT). Details available at the Dept of Revenue and Customs. (Xpatulator)
- Uniforms: Sephu Gyeltshen Tshongkhang (Shop No. 30, Norzin Lam. Tel: 322731)
- Tracksuits: We have a new supplier. Contact details will be announced.