A small but attractive town situated in the Paro Valley of Bhutan, Paro is home to hundreds of beautiful temples and monasteries that date back to the 14th century. The town is also home to the only international airport in the country.
It boasts a captivating landscape and is sprinkled with traditionally-built houses as well as lush fields. The Tiger’s Nest or the Taktsang, one of the most iconic monasteries around the country, supervises a cliff in the town. Paro is also home to an overabundance of sites that allure travelers- from museums to monasteries. Below we have listed a few best places to visit in Paro.
The top tourist lures in Paro involve Rinpung Dzong, the National Museum of Bhutan, Kichu Lhakhang, Paro Taktsang, Jangtsa Dumsteg Lhakhang, Zuri Dzong, and Chele La. Another must-visit place in Paro is the Paro Weekend Market, which proposes a potpourri of items for shopaholics to purchase.
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Zuri Dzong Fort
The Zuri Dzong in Paro is the oldest in Bhutan and is, hence, one of the most imperative places to visit in Paro. Built during the early 14th century, it is not only a testament to the amusing cultural heritage of Bhutan and Paro but also the art, architecture, and lifestyle of the individuals back then.
The structure, despite being so old, looks as good as new, without any wear or tear, and is assisted by a double wall as well as a bridge. There are different murals on the walls of the Dzong which are enthusiastic to the Buddhist protector- Zaa. It is also a great viewpoint, and you can relish the picturesque beauty of the surroundings from this 5-story structure.
Tiger’s Nest Monastery
Tiger Nest Monastery or the Taktsang Monastery should be the initial destination among all the places to visit in Paro! A monastery that hangs around a scenic precipice at a towering height of 2,950m, this devout site is often admired as one of the most virtuous sites in the complete Himalayan Range! The monastery is only 12km away from Paro and is available only through a fascinating 2 hours’ trek!
Legends have it that by the 8th century, Guru Padmasambhava flew to this cliff on the back of a tigress and meditated here for nearly three years, three months, three days, and three hours.
The Guru later chose a cave to meditate, and progressively appeared in eight dissimilar forms; thus, consecrating the place. The monastery got its name as locals claim to have observed a tigress residing in one of the caves; Taktshang translates to Tiger’s Lair in the Bhutanese language
Namgay Artisanal Brewery
You wouldn’t predict to find a microbrewery in Paro, which makes the Namgay Artisanal Brewery one of the most exhilarating places to visit in Paro. Established by Dorji Gyeltshen, the microbrewery attends local drinks such as apple cider and beer like pale and dark ales, red rice lager, pilsners, milk stout wheat beer, and craft beer.
The brewery was established to generate an active local beer culture around the country and to that determination, it grasps the Bhutanese Beer Festival every year. You should absolutely try out the place for its exclusive beers and local flavors.
Rinpung Dzong Monastery
Paro Dzong or Rinpung Dzong Monastery is a site of attractive Bhutanese architecture. It has been constructed with astounding precision, as the structures stand even today. One stimulating aspect of these structures is that they are dovetailed firmly without the use of nails! Rinpung Dzong which has been summarized for Rinchen Pung Dzong means ‘Fortress on a Heap of Jewels’.
This fort has in the past shown its worth by safeguarding Paro valley from Tibet invasions on different occasions. As of now, it adorns rich wooden carvings, attractive paintings, and statues of that era. You can click the most breathtaking images from Nyamai Zam wooden bridge, just below the Dzong. We have added this to our list of places to visit in Paro.
Airport View Point
Do you know that not everyone is permitted to land an airplane at Paro? Yes, you read it right. Landing at Paro is not a piece of cake and only a few pilots are specialized to land at the challenging airport of Paro.
This makes the journey electrifying even before you have landed here. Celebrate the stunningly beautiful sights as you land at this tiny airport suspended on the Himalayan ranges.
And once there, head to the Paro Airport Bird’s Eye Viewpoint which is one of the foremost Paro sightseeing points, and celebrate the vistas from atop this vantage point.
Drukgyal Dzong Monastery
Now in wrecks, Drukgyel Dzong is a fortress that was built in 1649 to mark the triumph of Bhutan over Tibet. If you want to see the captivating stonework of the Dzongs of the past, then this is the place to go. On ascending to the top of the ruins, an astounding view of the valley greets you, making it worth the effort.
Situated in the upper part of the Paro district, the fire that broke open in 1951 engulfed the Drukgyel Dzong in flames and left it in the present situation. The efforts have been begun by the government to renovate it and bring it back to life and the splendor that it deserves. Despite its ruined state, its grandeur has not lessened even a bit. Perhaps that is why it is a UNESCO structure and fascinates thousands of eyeballs from all over the globe every year.
Dasho Nishioka Chorten Museum
A marvel to behold, Dasho Nishioka Chorten was constructed to honor Dasho Nishioka, a Japanese man who established modern agricultural approaches and tools in Bhutan.
His selfless function brought prosperity to the lives of many individuals and made the country agriculturally rich. This stupa should not be skipped if you want to observe the Bhutanese gratitude for goodness.
Paro Chu is the lifeline river in Paro that begins from Mount Jomolhari and flows through picturesque meadows and gorges and then enters the town of Paro. The river meanders with abundant turns between mountains on either side spattering its waters everywhere as it rumbles down.
Nature lovers and photography fanatics are bound to fall in love with this picturesque river. The river tops the list of places to see in Paro for escapades as the waters have Grade III currents and are perfect for white river rafting. The lower Paro Chu River is a prodigious stretch for kayaking and the gentle waters are appropriate for even first-time kayakers.
Initiated by Thangtong Gyalpo, the Tago Lhakhang stands out in the tiny village of Bondey, 6 km from Paro. It is beside the foremost road near the Bondey bridge and can be effortlessly spotted because of its unusual structure.
Located on the eastern side of the Paro Chhu, the most outstanding feature of this shrine is the circular chapel on its greater floor.
Constructed in the memory of Ugyen Wangchuck, the first king of Bhutan, Five Chortens is one of the most remarkable places to visit in Paro. Situated at the foot of Paro Dzong, Five Chortens is an architectural splendor that looks breathtakingly attractive.
The atmosphere at this Buddhist monument overflows with peace and tranquility. If you are looking for the best place to interchange within and find your ‘Ikigai’, nothing can beat Five Chortens.
Bhutan, being a country with mountainous scenery, is associated with a series of passes. Situated at nearly 13,000 feet between the valley of Paro and Haa, Chele La Pass is the greatest motorable road pass in Bhutan. The pass is well-known for the spectacular Himalayan views it proposes, especially Mt. Jhomolari which is Bhutan’s most blessed peak at 22,000 feet, Tsherimgang mountains, Jichu Drake as well as assessments of both the valleys, Paro and Haa.
Just a two-hour drive from the valley floor in Paro, you will arrive at Chele La Pass, covered in unharmed forests, home to flourishing flora and fauna. The surrounding area of this pass has different ancient trails, flawless for hikers.
The slopes of the mountains across are covered in White Poppy, which cannot be found anywhere else around the world. The drive to Chele La Pass is through compressed spruce and larch forests where you can see different sightings such as yaks skimming, frozen river, rhododendron forest, waterfalls, and roadside springs.
Tachog Lhakhang Old Bridge
Translating to “Temple of the hill of the outstanding horse”, Tachog Lhakhang is one of the most attractive places to visit in Paro that sits calmly suspended at the foothills beside the Paroo river. The old bridge was constructed by Thangtong Gyalpo after he fantasized about a spiritual horse while meditating at that place.
The old iron bridge that takes us to the temple was washed away during the 1969 flood and was reinstated back in 2005. Today, it is decorated with colorful prayer flags, and walking on this timeless architectural extravaganza which is as many as six centuries old is indeed an exciting experience.
This 15th-century architecture wholly reflects the religious opinions of the Buddhism culture, this Buddhist temple was originally built to subdue an evil spirit.
This is one of the best tourist places to visit in Paro. Individuals visit this three-story temple which suggests hell, earth, and heaven. The magnificent architecture of the temple and its rich history attract a lot of travelers.
Best Time To Visit Paro
To visit Paro in Bhutan, March-May (Spring) is the best time. Throughout this time, the hills come alive with the most good-looking blooms. October and November are the autumn months around Bhutan.
Throughout these two months, the weather in Paro it’s primarily sunny throughout the day with a bit of snow in the greater elevations. The skies are clear with an enjoyable climate and the temperature experienced is barely 20 degrees Celsius. For trekking, October is the best month as the sky is clear and the temperature is not so bad.
Also, it is directed that you carry an umbrella along as there are potentials of seasonal rainfall. The monsoons in India, commonly influence Bhutan’s climate. June to September is the monsoon season around the country when there’s a lot of humidity and rain all around Bhutan.
Late November to early March is the dry season in Bhutan which is again an upright time to travel without the tourist crowd; however, it can get cold from early December to February. June-August is the low season in Bhutan and hotel rates, and airfares are inexpensive during these months.
How To Reach Paro?
By Air: Air journeys are in fact the best choices to reach Paro as the only international airport in Bhutan is in the Paro Valley. Druk Air, the National Air Carrier of Bhutan has unvarying flights from international destinations such as India (Delhi, Gaya, and Kolkata), Bangkok (Thailand), Nepal (Kathmandu), and Bangladesh (Dhaka). Flyers can also select other key airlines that fly between Paro International Airport and Guwahati (India), Kolkata (India), Bodh Gaya (India), Bagdogra (India), Delhi (India), Mumbai (India), Dhaka, Bangkok, Singapore, and Kathmandu.
By Train: Since the Land of Thunder Dragons doesn’t have any international railway network, India aids as the best option to arrive at Paro by train. In India, West Bengal and Assam are the two linking points from where visitors can effortlessly enter the Bhutanese territory via road. From West Bengal, New Jalpaiguri Junction (152km / 3 hours from Jaigaon), Hasimara (17km / 1 Hour from Jaigaon), and New Alipurduar Railway Station (60km / 1 Hour from Jaigaon) serve as the nearest station to arrive Paro. Anyone traveling from Assam should travel to New Bongaigaon Junction, which is nearly 175-177km (4 Hours) away from Phuentsholing and Jaigaon in Bhutan. Upon entrance into Phuentsholing or Jaigaon, one can conveniently reach Paro by road.
By Road: The Indian states of Assam and West Bengal are the closest and most committed destinations for those yearning to arrive at Paro by road. From West Bengal, one can drive up to or take train journeys to arrive at Jaigaon (West Bengal, India). From Jaigaon, the journey would trace through Phuentsholing and demands one to drive nearly 147km (4 Hours) through Phuentsholing-Thimphu Highway to reach Paro. From Assam, one can begin their road trips either from Guwahati or Bongaigaon.
Paro is also a hub for escapade seekers in Bhutan, from mountain biking and cycling to river rafting and kayaking, the place proposes everything to get your adrenaline rushing. For those who love trekking, there are sufficient hidden routes around the valley to discover. Amongst all, the ‘Mount Jhomolhari Trek’ happens to be the most prevalent and often finds its mention on the list of ardent trekkers.
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