Thimphu is the capital and largest city of the Kingdom of Bhutan. It is situated in the western central part of Bhutan, and the surrounding valley is one of Bhutan's dzongkhags, the Thimphu District. Thimphu, as the political and economic center of Bhutan, has a dominant agricultural and livestock base, which contributes 45% of the country's GNP.
Tourism, though a contributor to the economy, is strictly regulated, maintaining a balance between the traditional, development and modernization. Thimphu contains most of the important political buildings in Bhutan, including the National Assembly of the newly formed parliamentary democracy and Dechencholing Palace, the official residence of the King, located to the north of the city. Thimphu is co-ordinated by the "Thimphu Structure Plan", an Urban Development Plan which evolved in 1998 with the objective of protecting the fragile ecology of the valley. This development is ongoing with financial assistance from the World Bank and Asian Development Bank.
The culture of Bhutan is fully reflected in Thimphu in literature, religion, customs, and national dress code, the monastic practices of the monasteries, music, and dance, and in the media. Tshechu is an important festival when mask dances, popularly known as Cham dances, are performed in the courtyards of the Tashichho Dzong in Thimphu. It is a four-day festival held every year in September or October, on dates
Paro is a town and seat of Paro District, in the Paro Valley of Bhutan. It is a historic town with many sacred sites and historical buildings scattered throughout the area. It is also home to Paro Airport, Bhutan's sole international airport.
Paro is home to Bhutan's tallest building, the Ta-Dzhong, which is 22 meters (72 feet) high, and has 6 floors. It was completed in 1649. Paro is also a major town of strategic importance in western Bhutan. It houses national museums, power engineering, arts and crafts centers and shopping malls as well as many cultural institutions and religious monasteries, such as the Paro Teachers College, Paro High School, Pa Luo Junior High School and Elementary School. There are also some large temples in the city, such as Kyichu Temple, Taksan Temple, Sang Tog Pemi Temple, Sangnah chhokhe Temple, Dyden Dense Docholing Temple, Chhumphu Temple and Dungchi Lhakhang Temple.