Elevation 2,280 m The broad Paro valley is the entry point for all visitors flying into Bhutan on the national carrier, Drukair. As the plane takes a dramatic sweep into Paro
The bountiful and fertile Paro Valley is the entry point for all visitors flying into Bhutan on the national carrier, Druk Air.
As the plane takes a dramatic sweep into Paro, the flight captain usually warns relieved passengers not to worry if the aircraft’s wings appear to be almost touching the mountainsides.
Tip: If you are flying from Singapore, do request a left window seat.
On bright and clear days, the Himalayan range will be visible to the passengers on the left side of the plane.
The first thing you will notice as you exit from the aircraft is the crystalline purity of the air that you breathe. As you took your first breath of the air in Bhutan, you will notice that Bhutan is unlike any other country you have visited. This is especially true If you hail from the urban city life where the air tends to be polluted. Take a moment, and enjoy the fresh air Bhutan can offer you.
Located 1 hour away from Thimphu (Current capital city of Bhutan),
The charming town of Paro comprises both the ancient as well as the modern face of Bhutan. Paro is the Home to some of the oldest and most revered temple in Bhutan. This is where the famed Tiger Nest Monastery is located.
Things to do and see at paro
Tiger’s Nest Paro
The Tiger Nest Monastery (also known as Taktsang Goemba) is the most famous monastery in Bhutan. Perched beautifully on top of a cliff, the Tiger Nest is indeed a wonder to those who managed to reach there. One can only imagine the architectural prowess required to build the monastery back in the year 1692.
The trek up to Tiger Nest Monastery itself takes around 2-3 hours (depending on the speed of your ascend). The trek is advisable to start early in the morning as the monks will be having lunch from 1 – 2 pm. During this time, the monastery will be closed for all visitors.
For the first timer to Bhutan, Tiger nest is indeed a place that you must go.
- Please bear in mind that you have to deposit camera, phone and belongings as you arrive at the entrance to Tiger’s Nest Monastery. There will be lockers provided by the police for your security.
- A wooden walking stick can be purchased at the parking lot before the start of your trip. Each stick cost (Nu 50 / less than $1 USD)
- Do apply sun block before your trek to prevent any sunburn.
- Do carry a bottle of water and some snack at least as you might get very thirsty or hungry.
- Do maintain respect for the local culture by placing your litter at the littering bin.
Paro Dzong (Rinpung Dzong)
Rinpung Dzong (Fortress on a heap of jewels) is built in the year 1644 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal (Founder of Bhutan). The dzong is currently the administrative centre for the District of Paro and school of monastic bodies for the western region of Bhutan.
Every year (March/April, date varied) the Paro Tsechu (one of the biggest festival in Bhutan) is held at Paro Dzong. A grand celebration whereby for four days there will be religious ritual dance performed, followed by the unfurling of giant Thongdrel (Largest form of Thangka Painting). Legend holds it that just by viewing the Thongdrel itself cleanse the viewers sin.
Note: Some scene of the movie Little Buddha (1993 movie) was filmed here.
Built in the year 659, Kyichu Lhakhang is one of Bhutan oldest surviving temples. This beautifully ornated temple still maintains the architecture and decoration of Bhutan in the 7th Century.
Renowned Actor Tony Leung Chiu Wai and actress Carina Lau are believed to have their wedding blessing conducted in this monastery in 2008.
With an elevation of 3,988 metres, Chelela Pass is one of the highest passes in Bhutan. The pass offers a stunning view of the sacred mountain Jomolhari as well as Jichu Drake. Prayer flags hoisted all around the pass fluttered as the wind continues blow around this area.
For nature lovers, Chelela pass offers a wide variety of roses in different colours. The top of the pass bloom with rhododendrons.
The Dzong was built in the 17th Century by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to commemorate his victory over the Tibetan invaders.
However, in 1951, the Dzong was consumed by fire. Despite the calamity, the Dzong still maintains its glory to these days.
Tip: A great picnic spot here, locals love to visit this Dzong for a picnic as well. At the apex of the Dzong, during clear days you might be able to see one of the unscalable mountain peak in the world named Jomolhari.
Where to stay at Paro
Uma Paro, a 29-room resort features one of the most exclusive private villas in Bhutan. This hotel is great for couples as well as family travel.
With a contemporary design as well as a fusion of Bhutanese architecture, Uma Paro is definitely unlike any others that you can find. Activities provided range from yoga to Himalayan camping adventures.
Tip: Uma Paro was featured in the wedding of famous celebrity Tony Leung Chiu Wai and Carina Lau in 2008. Due to its popularity, Uma Paro get sold out very early. Make sure to make your reservation as early as 3 months ahead for low season and 5 months ahead for high season.
Tip: For family planning to stay here, do opt for a private villa.
Nak-Sel Boutique Spa & Resorts
A humble 4 stars hotel located 20 minutes away from Paro Town. Nak-Sel champions the notion of eco-friendly and energy efficiency. Nak-Sel architecture is a blend of traditional Bhutanese decoration as well modern amenities.
Tip: Do note that this hotel is beginning to get more and more popular, Travelers are advised to book their hotel 3 months before their trip.