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Motithang Takin Preserve

Thimphu

13.0/5(7 Ratings)
Ranked 9 of 39 sightseeing in Thimphu

Motithang Takin Preserve is a very renowned wildlife reserve area in the Motithang district of Thimphu, Bhutan. The region which was originally a mini-zoo caught attention and was popularized by the intriguing animal “Takin” that belonged by habitat to the area.

The “Takin” is Bhutan’s national animal. Native people of Thimphu take great pride in these mammals for their regal aura and domesticated nature. A very mythical story is the cause for the declaration of the Takin as the national animal, attributed to the animal’s creation by the then Lama Drukpa Kunley. A twenty minutes’ drive from the city of Thimphu, you might have to opt for a hike on the trail that is built of paving blocks.

History

A legend dating back to the 15th Century points to this very Tibetan Saint known to the natives as “The Divine Madman” who created the Takin with its unique features. When the saint was challenged to conjure a miracle before the people of Bhutan, he with his proficient tantric powers did so. To do the deed, he was then provided with a whole cow and a whole goat. After devouring both the animals and leaving just the bones, he separated the head of the goat and fixed it to that of the cow’s skeleton. By simply uttering abracadabra, he worked his magic to create a live animal.

The dong gyem tsey or Takin was born with the head of a goat and body of a cow just like that out of mystic tantrism. A common sight in the hills of Bhutan, the animal exhibits high religious connotation amongst the culturally inclined people of Bhutan.

A few years ago the fourth king of Bhutan made a decision to disband a facility like the Motithang Takin Preserve as it did not align with the region’s religious and environmental convictions. Following this rule, the animals were then released into the wild. However, the Takin’s were so tame that they chose to wander the very streets of Thimphu looking for food. Their original conviction to the habitat, therefore, led the ruling king to put them then back to captivity as a solution.

Reason to Visit.

Locals of the Thimphu region know the short distance leading up to the Motithang Takin Preserve as BBS telecommunications tower. The large fenced enclosed area leads by a trail originally established as a zoo, now converted to an 8.4-acre preserve is a major attraction as a viewpoint. Takins are known to quite elusive, so be patient a come prepared before you get all too excite to spot them.

The perfect destination for wildlife experts and photographers to capture the serene and divine surrounding. You are likely to come across few barking or red deer too. These mammals are oddly fascinating in their behaviour and the best time to observe them is early in the morning when they head up near the fences to feed. If you love handwoven scarfs, few ladies sell them right near the caretaker’s home very near to the entrance. A beautiful souvenir to buy directly from the artisan.

Where to Eat.

Many vegetarian and non-vegetarian restaurants surround the outskirts of the reserve. Traditional food is popular in many of these delicious eateries. If you still wish to stick to continental and other Indian cuisines you can make your way to Druk Pizza, Central Café, Cypress (Great for Indian dishes), Yu Wang Restaurant & Café, Chh’a Bistro & Bar and Café Himalaya & Bakery amongst the many tempting options.

There’s a unique joint known as “The Station” for hard-core bikers on an adventurous road trip. You can try the Bhutanese, Tibet Kitchen, Ching-JA-Gye, Folk Heritage Museum Restaurant, Zombala and San Maru amongst those serving authentic Bhutanese food for those who love dwelling into cuisines. Try Swiss Bakery, the zone, and Ambient Café near the Motithang Takin Reserve for interesting food places.

However, the actual premise of the reserve does not have restaurants. Hence, planning your meals before taking this adventurous trip would be a good idea.


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What travellers are saying about Motithang Takin Preserve

Experience scale
  • Average 2
  • Poor 1
  • Below Average 1
  • Very Good 1
  • Terrible 0
  • Good 0
  • Excellent 0
Travellers recommend
  • Best Time: During DayLength of visit: Below 1hr
  • Length of visit: 2-3hrsBest Time: During Day
Facilities available
  • Food available for purchaseFood available for purchase
  • Bathroom facilitiesBathroom facilities
  • Camera/Video allowedCamera/Video allowed
  • Wearing of shoes/footwear allowedWearing of shoes/footwear allowed

Timing, fees and more

time

Operating hours

Sun:
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Tue:
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Wed:
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Thu:
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Fri:
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Sat:
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
fee

Entry Fee

Adult:
BTN 50
Adult:
BTN 50
Adult:
BTN 50
Child:
Free/not applicable
Child:
Free/not applicable
Child:
Free/not applicable

Reviews and Ratings

Aseem Kumar

Aseem Kumar2.9/5

1 review

The small National Zoo to view the National animal of Bhutan

The Zoo is small with few animals. If you wish to see the National Animal of Bhutan, which is Takin, by all means this place deserves a visit. The place is well-maintained. For Indian Nationals, BTN 30 entry fees apply. Fees are higher for non-SAARC nationals.There is no place for refreshments. The kids can certainly be taken to this place, they will enjoy the place. Undoubtedly, the place affords a very close view of the animals which is a huge plus.

Read More

  • The small National Zoo to view the National animal of Bhutan
  • The small National Zoo to view the National animal of Bhutan
  • The small National Zoo to view the National animal of Bhutan

Shinto K anto

Shinto K anto3.9/5

38 reviews

Motithang Takin Preserve

The Motithang Takin Preserve in Thimphu is a wildlife reserve area for Takin, the National Animal of Bhutan. Originally a mini-zoo, it was converted into a preserve when it was discovered that the animals refrained from inhabiting the surrounding forest even when set free.
  • Motithang Takin Preserve
  • Motithang Takin Preserve
  • Motithang Takin Preserve

Amrish Sahgal

Amrish Sahgal1.4/5

7 reviews

Visit only with spare time

Sure they have a few Takin but beyond that the time and effort to reach and view the animals is hardly worth it. Go only if you have a lot of spare time on your hands and are willing to undertake a stiff climb.

Rajkumari Batheja

Rajkumari Batheja2.5/5

6 reviews

Not worth

If you miss this no worries, there are some animals who look so good that you feel like watching them. But Takin has no good looking animal and besides there is nothing else to see there.

Saurav Roy

Saurav Roy2.1/5

4 reviews

Definitely worth a pass

It is a sheer waste of time and ENERGY. Besides, Very few animals in the preserve anyways. Govt. of Bhutan should improve this.

Shreya Sood

Shreya Sood2.9/5

11 reviews

Glimpse of Bhutan's national animal

Since most of us wouldnt have seen a takin, it makes sense to drive up to Motithang to see it. Its the first enclosure, after which there is no major attraction if you have seen big zoos or national parks. You can walk around if you please. It is a pleasant enough place.

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Photos of Motithang Takin Preserve

Motithang Takin Preserve, Thimphu

Photo by

Thejasvi Bhat

Motithang Takin Preserve, Thimphu
Motithang Takin Preserve, Thimphu

Photo by

Shinto K anto

Motithang Takin Preserve, Thimphu
Motithang Takin Preserve, Thimphu

Photo by

Aseem Kumar

View outside the cage enclosure