As you travel up the east side of the Wang Chhu, you'll pass the impressive SAARC building (National Assembly) and banquet hall. On the opposite side of the river you may catch a glimpse of Samtenling Palace, the cottage that is the king's residence.
Six kilometres north of Thimphu centre is the suburb of Taba, where you can stay at the atmospheric Wangchuk Resort Taba, run by the same owners as Wangchuk Hotel and set in a peaceful pine forest with its own goemba built atop the ruins of a former palace.
The large Dechenchoeling Palace was built in 1952 and is used by the royal grandmother and so is off-limits to visitors. North of the palace is the Royal Body Guard (RBG) facility.