Sitting at 2,250m, the charming town of Paro lies on the banks of the Paro Chhu and boasts some of Bhutan’s most spectacular sites, including the country’s most celebrated dzong, the iconic Tiger’s Nest monastery. Its beautiful location also offers a fabulous collection of treks with breath-taking views you are sure to never forget.
Both the entry and exit point for any visitors to Bhutan, Paro is one of the most beautiful towns in the country and a spectacular place to be welcomed into the kingdom. Located in a beautiful valley surrounded by fertile rice fields, Paro is home to over 155 of Bhutan’s oldest monasteries and temples, some dating back as far at the 14th century. With so much Bhutanese culture to experience, and plenty of fabulous treks and views to take in, visitors often spend a few days in Paro to get a real feel of this traditional Bhutanese town.
Situated 3,000 feet above Paro, on a cliff overlooking a spectacular valley sits Takstsang Lhakhang Monastery, more commonly known as “The Tigers Nest”, and considered Bhutan’s most iconic landmark and religious site. Legend has it that Padmasambava, a 17th century Brahmin Royal, arrived by flying tiger but the hike is approximately a 2 hour trek up steep trails and definitely worth it for the spectacular views along the way. A once in a lifetime experience encapsulates Bhutanese culture, outstanding landscapes of mountains and waterfalls, breath-taking views and pure adventure. No trip would be complete without a visit to this remarkable site.
An architectural wonder, located in the centre of the valley, the Paro Dzong is one of Bhutan’s most impressive and well-known dzongs. The dzong’s full name – Rinchen Pung Dzong – means “Fortress on a Heap of Jewels”, and you are sure to see no finer example of architecture during your time in the Kingdom. Here’s a fun fact – scenes from Bernado Bertolucci’s 1995 film Little Buddha were filmed here!
Above Paro Dzong at the top of the hill, stands an old watch tower, once used to protect the town of Paro and one of the oldest and most celebrated dzong’s in all of Bhutan. In 1968, the watchtower was renovated to house the National Museum, which now aims to provide an insight into the rich and unique cultural heritage and tradition of Bhutan.
At an elevation of 3,810m, the Chele La Pass is considered to be one of the highest motorable passes in Bhutan, providing stunning views of some of the country’s most scared mountains, such as Mt Jomolhari. The 35km drive from Paro to Chele La makes for a fascinating road excursion and offers excellent jumping off points for those keen walkers. Many parts of the pass are lined with prayer flags fluttering in the wind, with endless views of the spectacular scenery – drive through dense spruce and larch forests, and become surrounded by blooms of rhododendrons of all colours, amongst an array of other flora. Chele La is perfect for those wanting to get off the beaten track – enjoy some fantastic walks with breath-taking views, and some brilliant picnic spots!