Shopping in Bhutan

  • Shopping in Trashigang to Samdrup Jongkhar

    National Handloom Development Project

    Three kilometres from Khaling is the National Handloom Development Project, operated by the National Women’s Association of Bhutan (NWAB). It contracts out weaving and provides cotton yarn on credit to about 200 villagers, who then return the finished product to be sold here, in Trashigang or at Handicraft Emporiums in Thimphu, Paro and Bumthang.

  • Shopping in Paro

    Chencho Handicrafts

    Chencho has an interesting selection of local handicrafts, and is particularly strong on weavings, antique kira s (women's traditional dresses) and embroidery, as well as woollen carpets. It's a good place to see weavers working on-site. Credit cards are accepted. Nonshoppers can grab a coffee at the next-door Book Cafe, run by the owner's daughter.

  • Top ChoiceShopping in Thimphu

    Tarayana Rural Products

    Bhutan's Queen Mother Dorje Wangmo (the fourth king's wife) established this NGO to support rural communities across Bhutan through the marketing and selling of traditional crafts. These include paper products from Samtse, handwoven scarves, bags and nettle place mats, and the quality is generally high. There's a second shop in the Tarayana Centre.

  • Shopping in Paro

    Lama Tshering Dorji General Shop

    This monk supply shop is one of several in Paro aimed squarely at locals and monks rather than tourists, but it's a fascinating browse. Items for sale include amulets, divination dice, prayer flags, incense, statuary and butter lamps – everything in fact for your own personal altar. There are also some nonreligious items such as khuru darts and bamboo arrows.

  • Shopping in Thimphu

    Handicrafts Market

    Across the Kundeyling Baazam cantilevered footbridge from the Weekend Market, this handicraft market on the east bank sells everything from wooden bowls and mala beads to printing blocks, amulets and yak tails. Bargaining is acceptable, and often needed to bring prices down to affordable levels. Note that many items sold here are actually imports from Nepal.

  • Shopping in Thimphu

    Sephub Gyeltsen Tsongkhang

    This is one of Thimphu's best cloth and clothing stores, with ready-made gho s (traditional dress for men) costing from Nu 2000 and kira s (traditional dress for women) costing from Nu 850, and all the needed accessories. It's also a great place to buy regional woven fabrics from across Bhutan.

  • Shopping in Thimphu

    Philatelic Bureau

    This shop below Thimphu's main post office sells Bhutanese stamps, first-day covers and – if you bring in a digital photo of yourself on a USB stick – fully functioning postage stamps bearing your own likeness (Nu 500 for 12 stamps), made on the spot.

  • Top ChoiceShopping in Thimphu

    Bhutan Traditional Archery Shop

    This traditional bow and arrow maker at the Changlimithang Archery Ground sells bamboo bows, lacquered and strung to order. Expect to pay Nu 1800 for a bow, Nu 800 for a hand-spliced string, and Nu 800 for a pair of arrows with tips.

  • Shopping in Thimphu

    DSB Books

    Thimphu's best selection of magazines and newspapers, as well as coffee-table and other books on Buddhism, Bhutan and the region. It's on the ground floor of the Jojo Building; enter from the lane behind Chang Lam.

  • Top ChoiceShopping in Thimphu

    Norzin Lam Craft Stalls

    Dozens of craft stalls line the middle of Norzin Lam opposite the Taj Tashi hotel. It's the single best place in Thimphu to shop for crafts, with stalls selling everything from embroidered boots to handmade paper.

  • Top ChoiceShopping in Thimphu

    KMT Yangkhil Book Shop

    One of the best-stocked religious shops in Thimphu, selling everything from Buddhist scriptures and Buddha statues to kangling thigh-bone flutes.

  • Shopping in Jakar

    Yoser Lhamo Shop

    Yoser Lhamo is the main outlet for the Swiss Farm enterprises, where soft Gouda or hard Emmental cheese sells for Nu 650 per kilogram. This cheese is made for eating off the block, unlike the soft Bhutanese datse, which is used only in sauces.

  • Shopping in Thimphu

    Lungta Handicraft

    This place has two floors of souvenirs from across Bhutan and further afield. The best buys here are larger items such as bamboo boxes, burl-wood dhapa (bowls), carpets, metal ewers, horse saddles and monastic trumpets. The antiques all have stamped seals from the National Commission of Cultural Affairs (NCCA), which means they are safe to take through customs.

  • Shopping in Paro

    Tashi Gongphel Bhutanese Paper

    This showroom has products ranging from notebooks and cards to sheets of wrapping paper, all created from Bhutanese paper, traditionally made from either daphne (white-coloured paper) or edgeworthia (cream-coloured) bushes. To see the fascinating production process, arrange a visit to the factory in the Dop Shari valley.

  • Shopping in Phuentsholing

    Bhimraj Stores

    Located in the central bazaar next to Hotel Namgay, here you can buy a range of cloth from Nu 350 to 950 per metre; you'll need about 4m for a gho or kira (traditional dress for men and women). Figure on tailoring fees of Nu 750 to 1200. A ready-made gho retails for between Nu 1700 and Nu 4000.

  • Shopping in Paro

    Yuesel Handicrafts

    This superior souvenir shop has the normal incense, tea, masks, cane boxes, traditional locks and books, but also dried mushrooms, ceramics, and the worm-like cordyceps roots often called 'Himalayan Viagra' (around Nu 500 per piece). Head upstairs for antiques, most of which come with export-ready seals.

  • Shopping in Thimphu

    Craft Gallery

    Run by the Gyalyum Charitable Trust, a personal project of the Queen Mother promoting traditional arts and crafts, this smart showroom sells high-quality textiles, daphne paper, natural beauty products and other attractively presented craft items. Money from the project funds schools in rural areas.

  • Shopping in Trashi Yangtse

    Wood Turning & Laquering Cluster

    This cooperative of local woodturners sells polished products in a small outlet near the dzong. The dapas turned from rhododendron wood (and other trees) are priced from Nu 800 to over Nu 20,000. There is a treadle lathe in a back room to display traditional woodturning methods.

  • Shopping in Paro

    TT Extra

    This innocuous local grocery store has a section dedicated to local and organic Bhutanese products, making it a great place to pick up everything from bags of organic red rice and local turmeric to locally produced incense and sesame-like zhimtse, all at reasonable prices.

  • Shopping in Thimphu

    Gagyel Lhundrup Weaving Centre

    This private weaving centre at the south end of Thimphu produces expensive but high-quality hand-woven textiles and has a selection of ready-made garments for sale (scarves, belts, jackets, shawls and kira). You can watch weavers at work and photos are allowed.