Thimphu's Traffic Police

Thimphu is apparently one of only two capital cities in the world without traffic lights. A set was installed a few years back, but residents complained in classic Bhutanese fashion that it was too impersonal, which is why the beloved white-gloved police continue to direct the increasing traffic with the balletic grace of someone doing a 1980s robot dance. As well as being a classic Bhutanese anachronism, it may well be the city's most photographed spectacle. Grab a window seat in Zombala 2 restaurant and enjoy the show.

Bhutan, the Book

At the National Library, be sure to check out the copy of the world's largest published book. Aptly entitled Bhutan, and weighing in at 68kg and over 2m tall, this heavyweight tome could crush any coffee table. Its huge illustrated pages are turned one page per month (when it's not awaiting repair). You can also see a copy of the book close up in the library of Paro's Uma Paro hotel.

The Best View in Town

One of the best views of the Thimphu valley comes from the prayer-flag-strewn hillside just below the 2685m BBS Tower, high above the town in an area known as Sangaygang. The lovely half-hour walk and mountain-bike ride to Wangditse Goemba and Dechen Phodrang starts from here, as do several other hiking, running and mountain-biking trails. The access road attracts fitness fans after work and becomes a lovers' lane after dark. Photography is best in the afternoon, but be careful not to photograph the telecommunications installation.