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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.

Since Bhutan only opened up to the outside world in the past decade or so, it still retains a very authentic feel, with few, if any, western influences such as restaurants, stores, or brands. This affords students and visitors a unique opportunity to truly immerse themselves into a country and culture in a way that they’d be unlikely to do in a more traditional destination.

API students who are want to study abroad in Thimphu, Bhutan will study at Royal Thimphu College (RTC), Bhutan’s first private college. RTC offers general degree programs under the auspices of the Royal University of Bhutan. Its objective is to contribute to educational excellence in Bhutan and to become an institute of international repute attracting outstanding students from Bhutan and abroad.

The RTC campus, covering an area of 25 acres in Ngabiphu, offers a secluded and peaceful natural environment for study. At the same time, it is only 15 – 20 minutes drive from the capital city, Thimphu, which offers sports, leisure and cultural attractions as well as the potential for student internships and field trips.

RTC faculty staff hail from seven different countries.They come from Bhutan, India, USA, Canada, Netherlands, Australia and Bangladesh. Together they provide diverse and innovative teaching methods and offer students an international perspective on their studies. All of the lecturers are well qualified and dedicated to providing the best possible education for students.

“[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
  • Discover More Small Bhutan Thimphu Reviews

    API Gives Back

    API students in Thimphu have many opportunities to give back to their local community, including tree planting days, building libraries, working in art galleries, helping in differently-abled schools, working with animal shelters, and working with the Clean Bhutan Initiative.

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    Things to Do

    Whitewater rafting in Himalayan streams

    Numerous nature hikes

    Meditation lessons

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    Ema datshi (chillis and cheese)

    Kewa datshi (potatoes and cheese)

    Juma (sausages)

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    Festivals & Holidays

    Thimphu Tsechu (September 19-21)

    National Day (December 17)

    Rhododendron Festival (April 21-23)

  • Discover More Small Bhutan Thimphu University

    University Highlights

    Royal Thimphu College (RTC) is Bhutan's first private college

    Covering 25 acres on a mountainside, the RTC campus offers a secluded and peaceful environment for study

    RTC is accredited by the Bhutan Accreditation Council, receiving its highest grade, an A+ (Excellent)

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!

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