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Thimphu is the capital city of the Kingdom of Bhutan, and is located in the western part of the country at around 2,300 meters (7,545 feet) above sea level. The city has a population around 100,000 people, including expats from India, Japan, Thailand, Europe, and the U.S. The fertile river valley in which Thimphu sits features many ancient monuments, fortresses, and temples, and is beginning to see some controlled and modern development as well. Indeed, sustainable development and environmental sustainability are very important concepts in Thimphu specifically, and Bhutan in general. Two of Bhutan’s biggest industries are travel and hydro-electric power, so it is in the country’s best interests and it’s philosophy to establish a harmony between these forces.

The API High School Summer Community Service program in Bhutan takes place in the dreamy Himalayan city of Thimphu. This program is a week-long community service program providing students with the opportunity to learn about the Bhutanese concept of Gross National Happiness while exploring and giving back to this culturally-rich community.

Participants will work together with young children from Bhutan, as well as environmental and community beautification or construction projects around Thimphu. The group will engage in several field trips, nature hikes, and an overnight trip as part of the program. They will assist local farmers during their peak vegetable harvesting season, and use freshly harvested produce in a Bhutanese cooking class. They will even tour a monastery, receive a water blessing from monks, and learn how to meditate - it is a truly mindful experience!

“[Our Resident Coordinator] was absolutely perfect. She was able to help me with everything I had questions about and was a really fun traveling partner. She is highly knowledgeable and compassionate."

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Ruthanne W. API in Thimphu, Bhutan
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    Cultural Activities

    • Taktsang hike
    • 5-day trip to eastern Bhutan
    • Whitewater rafting
    • Hike to Phajoding monastary
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    Things to Do

    Whitewater rafting in Himalayan streams

    Numerous nature hikes

    Meditation lessons

  • Discover More Small Bhutan Thimphu Food


    Ema datshi (chillis and cheese)

    Kewa datshi (potatoes and cheese)

    Juma (sausages)

  • Discover More Small Bhutan Thimphu Testimonials

    Festivals & Holidays

    Thimphu Tsechu (September 19-21)

    National Day (December 17)

    Rhododendron Festival (April 21-23)

U.S. Staff

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Erica Sowder

Erica Sowder will be your Program Manager and will help prepare you to go abroad!

On-Site Staff


Sonam Choden Tshering

Sonam will be your Resident Coordinator in Thimphu and a resource for you while living in Bhutan with us!