The weekend market is in a permanent set of stalls north of Changlimithang Stadium. Vendors from throughout the region arrive on Friday afternoon and remain until Sunday night. It’s an interesting place to visit, where village people jostle with well-heeled Thimphu residents for the best- and cheapest- vegetables and foodstuffs. This is the only time that fresh produce is easily available and the shopping is enhanced by the opportunity to catch up on the week’s gossip.
Depending on the season you may find potatoes, onions, numerous varieties of chillies, red and white rice, buckwheat, flour, cauliflowers, cabbages, lettuces, eggplants, asparagus, peas, squash, yams, several kinds of mushrooms and ferns, strange species and herbs. Fruits come from local orchards and from the south of the country. You will find oranges, apples, pineapples, bananas, mangoes, apricots, peaches and plums. If you wander off into one corner of the market, you’ll find an odoriferous collection of dried fish, beef and balls of dates (homemade soft cheese that is used to make sauces). During the winter, you can even pick up a leg of yak (with the hoof still attached).
At the northern end of the market is a collection of stalls called “the indigenous goods and handicrafts section”. Here you will find locally produced goods, including religious objects, cloth, baskets and strange hats from various minority groups. They are more than happy to sell these to tourists, but it’s mostly intended for local consumption. If you shop here, you may find a Bhutanese housewife or a monk from a near by monastery to advise you on the quality of your purchase. Bargaining is very much in order here.