Motithang Takin Preserve

Zoo in Thimphu
Image by NULL / Getty Images

Off the road leading to the BBS Tower, this preserve for Bhutan's curious national animal was originally established as a zoo, but the fourth king decided this was not in keeping with Bhutan's environmental and religious convictions, and the takin were released into the wild. Unfortunately the animals were so tame they took to wandering the streets of Thimphu looking for food, so this enclosed area was set aside to keep them safe.

Although the entry fee is high, the setting is peaceful and it's worth taking the time to see these oddball mammals. The best time to view the takin up close is early morning, when they gather near the fence to feed.