Monday, August 23, 2010

Daily Life in Bhutan, Part III: Ambient Café

The definition of home during my year in Bhutan was Ambient Café. Almost no day went by without a visit to my favorite place in Thimphu. Ambient opened just a few days after my arrival in Thimphu in August 2009, and I quickly discovered what a marvelous place it is. Located right in the center of town, near the traffic circle, the big glass windows allow wonderful light to shine into the entire room. The room is tastefully decorated, and the environment is truly comfortable. I came there for the food and coffee, and soon found my Bhutanese family and a remarkable community of friends.

Letho and Junu (up above in the photo) a wonderful couple who run this café, have created a place that serves the best coffee in Bhutan, serves delicious and healthy food beautifully presented and cooked by Sonam, and above all a place that is truly a community gathering place, with great ambience (as the name suggests).

Throughout the year, Ambient’s menu has evolved in wonderful ways. And today you’ll find such delicious dishes as Hummus Platter, Lasagna, Moussaka, Quiche, Tofu Curry and many other varieties along with the assortment of sandwiches, wraps, and appetizers. Everything is made from locally grown fresh vegetables, according to the seasonal vegetables and fruits including a fresh fruit shake that changes as fruits become available.

Letho makes awesome coffee, the best in Bhutan without a doubt!

Indeed, for me Ambient Café was more than just a place to go have lunch every day. It was where I felt most comfortable, most happy to be. Every day, as I would work through my mornings, I would eagerly anticipate lunch time, when it was time to go walk up those stairs and say hello to Letho, Junu, and Jigme! and of course, also always hoping Lama Shenphen would be there. Lama, (in the pic below) with his wonderful sense of humor, his terrific stories, compassion, wisdom and always smiling face is a contagious presence, a magnet and an inspiration. To see how present he is, day in and day out, and to witness his work with youth that have drug and alcohol abuse problems in Thimphu is a true inspiration.

At Ambient Café, I spent so many wonderful afternoons and evenings, sharing great food and great company, laughing, laughing and laughing with friends from far and wide. Spent lovely hours with so many wonderful people, and indeed Ambient would always be a reminder of the impermanent nature of life. People coming and going. Sometimes interesting tourists, but more often than not volunteers from overseas who would be in Bhutan for two or three months, would make Ambient their home for that time, and soon enough it was time for them to leave, and we would say goodbye, and always new people would emerge.

Indeed, after a year in Bhutan, just two weeks ago, it was my turn to leave. I will miss Bhutan so much, and maybe I’ll write a little more about that another time. But for now, I should just say, that I will undoubtedely greatly miss Ambient Café for everything that it is, and for everyone that is there!




  1. Hello Noam!
    I absolutely love your pictures. They are just too cool! You inspire me every day with your adventurous spirit, someday I would love to go to Bhutan.

  2. Ha ha, seems like the Ambient Café has a very nice ambiance! It does look like a nice place. It's great to have a place where you can feel right at home, whether you're in Bhutan or any other country in the world.



  4. ambient cafe is just is a lovely place to hang out and have coffee with friends:)))

  5. Noam, I just arrived in Bhutan and Ambient Cafe is everything you describe. I've been there almost every day so far and love Junu and Letho already. I'll be here for 4 months and hope it will be my home away from home. Leila