Largest Cities in Bhutan

by | January 20, 2021

Facts about Bhutan

Official languages: Dzongkha
Capital: Thimphu
Area: 47,000 km²
Population: 699,847 residents
Population density: 14.89 residents per km²
Currency: BTN
Internet TLD: .bt
ISO codes: BT, BTN, 64
The phone code for Bhutan is +975

Flag of Bhutan

The shape of the flag of Bhutan reflects the name of the country in the local language (Druk Yul), translated as “Land of the Thunder Dragon”. This name is connected to the Druk Buddhist monastery, which was allegedly founded in the country as early as the 13th century. The flag is guided by a diagonal dividing it into yellow and orange parts. The yellow color is meant to refer to the secular area, while the orange represents the strength of the Buddhist religion in the country. The white dragon signifies purity and the jewels in its claws refer to the great wealth of the land. The view has the dragon pointing away from the rod part and its body follows the diagonal. The current form of the flag was adopted in 1960, but in a slightly modified form it has been used since the 19th century.


Flag of Bhutan

The Kingdom of Bhutan (Dzongkha འབྲུག་ ཡུལ་; inscription after Wylie ‘brug yul; German mostly Druk Yul, pronounced “Dru Ü”; “Land of the Thunder Dragon”) is a landlocked country in South Asia. The surface shape of Bhutan is shaped by the Himalayas. See Bhutan Location on World Map. Over 80 percent of the country is over 2,000 m above sea level. At 38,394 km², the country is roughly the size of Switzerland. More than two thirds of the Kingdom of Bhutan are forested.

In the formally Buddhist state, the king and parliament share power. It wasn’t until the 1960s that cautious modernizations began. For example, television was banned in Bhutan until 1999 in order to allegedly prevent the watering down of its own culture. The opening of Bhutan is deliberately pursued with care.

In its constitution, Bhutan has established environmental protection. Even before they were legally protected, all economic ventures were subordinate to environmental protection. Bhutan has a unique natural wealth. Children’s environmental awareness is promoted in schools. Due to the relatively low population density and the rugged mountain landscape, compared to other countries in the region, only a small part of the area is used for agriculture. About two thirds of the country are forested. The forests are used in an ecologically sustainable way, slash and burn is prohibited under penalty. 26% of the country is protected as national parks and animal reserves.

All economic interests of the country are subordinated to environmental and nature protection, which is why the country has a naturalness that is nowadays, relative to the size of the country, almost incomparable in the world. Even at school, the children are taught intensively how important environmental and nature protection is, and there is a lot of practical teaching, right outside in nature.

Bhutan shows a clear regional development gap. While the West benefits economically from hydropower projects and, with Thimphu as the center of political decisions, from the distribution of development aid, Central and Eastern Bhutan have lagged significantly behind economically. Unemployment is relatively high, especially among adolescents and young adults in the cities, and the standard of living is relatively low.

Statistically speaking, Bhutan is one of the poorest countries on earth. Nevertheless, the average per capita income of its population is significantly higher than in neighboring India. In this context, the former King Jigme Singye Wangchuck coined the catchphrase of the “gross national happiness” of his people, which he formulated as an important goal of Bhutan’s economic policy. Bhutan has even set up its own state commission for this purpose, the “Commission for Gross National Happiness”.

The Bhutanese government has a very specific visa policy. Entry is generally only possible as a tourist (group and individual traveler) or as a guest of the government. Trips can only be booked through one of the registered travel companies in Bhutan.

Biggest Cities of Bhutan by Population

The largest city in Bhutan is Thimphu, the capital of the country. It is located in the western part of Bhutan and is home to around 100,000 people. Thimphu has an eclectic mix of modern and traditional architecture, with many buildings constructed in traditional Bhutanese style. The city features a number of cultural attractions such as the Folk Heritage Museum, which showcases traditional Bhutanese art and culture, as well as a number of temples and monasteries. Thimphu also hosts a variety of festivals throughout the year including the annual Tsechu Festival where locals come together to celebrate with music, dance, food stalls, and more.

The second largest city in Bhutan is Phuntsholing which lies on the border with India. It has a population of around 30,000 people and is known for its bustling markets and colorful shops. Phuntsholing also has some interesting cultural attractions such as the Zangto Pelri Lhakhang Temple which houses a large statue of Guru Rinpoche (the founder of Buddhism). Additionally there are several museums in this city including one dedicated to local history and another that showcases traditional art from all over Asia. The nearby town of Jaigaon also offers plenty to see with its vibrant bazaars full of local products from both India and Bhutan.

# City Population Latitude Longitude
1 Thimphu, Bhutan 98,787 27.4661 89.6419
2 Punakha, Bhutan 21,611 27.5914 89.8774
3 Tsirang, Bhutan 18,778 27.0219 90.1229
4 Phuntsholing, Bhutan 17,154 26.8516 89.3884
5 Pemagatshel, Bhutan 13,975 27.038 91.4031
6 Sarpang, Bhutan 10,527 26.864 90.2674
7 Samdrup Jongkhar, Bhutan 7,618 26.8007 91.5052
8 Wangdue Phodrang, Bhutan 7,618 27.4862 89.8991
9 Samtse, Bhutan 5,590 26.899 89.0995
10 Jakar, Bhutan 4,940 27.5492 90.7525
11 Trashi Yangtse, Bhutan 3,136 27.6116 91.498
12 Mongar, Bhutan 3,080 27.2747 91.2396
13 Tsimasham, Bhutan 2,966 27.0989 89.536
14 Trongsa, Bhutan 2,916 27.5026 90.5072
15 Daga, Bhutan 2,354 27.0753 89.8769
16 Paro, Bhutan 2,280 27.4305 89.4133
17 Ha, Bhutan 1,560 27.3875 89.2807
18 Trashigang, Bhutan 983 27.3331 91.5542
19 Shemgang, Bhutan 963 27.2169 90.6579
20 Gasa, Bhutan 659 27.9037 89.7269

Bhutan: Thimphu

Thimphu, also spelled Thimbu, is the capital of Bhutan.

Neighboring countries of Bhutan