Located at an altitude of 2280 meters, Paro is perhaps one of the most beautiful valleys in Bhutan and pre-dominantly agrarian in nature, the valley is known for its red rice production. Home to Bhutan’s only international airport, the Paro international airport is one of the smallest airports in the world. Paro in-fact is tourist’s first point of contact with Bhutan. The valley includes some of the most popular points of interest in Bhutan, such as the majestic Rimpung Dzong, National Museum, Kyichu Lhakhang, Drugyel Dzong Ruins, Jomolhari Mountain (7300 Meters) at the north end of valley and world famed Taksang Monastery. Besides visiting the important Tourist places of Paro, the valley also offers opportunity for wide range of authentic tours such as cycling, astrology, hot stone bath, Bhutanese cooking classes, easy walks and a plethora of nature hikes.
The villages are characterized with traditional Bhutanese houses and at leisure one can easily discover these villages at one’s pace. The roads leading from end of Paro town to Drugyel Dzong is very apt for bicycle enthusiastic. Furthermore some of the famous trekking and hike routes also start from Paro such as the Druk path trek, Jomolhari Trek, Hike to Bumdra or hike to Jele Dzong. The National capital Thimphu is a smooth one and half hour drive and one can easily incorporate a day tour to Thimphu with Paro as a base. The Haa Valley can also be accessed at one and half hour drive from Paro via the Cheila Pass meandering amidst pristine pine forest and abundant bio diversity. En route one incorporate a picnic at Cheila Pass or a hike to Kila Gompa Nunnery or one may simply drive to Cheila and bike free wheel back to Paro, the choices are plenty.
There are numerous tourist hotels in Paro, however the best in terms of ultimate luxury are Uma Paro, Zhiwaling Hotel, Amankora, Naksel Boutique Hotel, Le Méridien Paro and Haven Bhutan. The valley also offers a wide range of mid-range hotels as well as budget hotels. Please see our Hotels in Paro page for options. Besides one may also choose to stay in a local farmhouse for experiencing authentic Bhutanese way of life. Paro is also incredibly famous for its annual festival, the Paro Festival held is annual in March or April (Spring Season). Check our Bhutan Festival Calendar for accurate dates. It is recommend hotels are booked in advance during Paro Festival to avoid non availability of quality hotels.
Places to See in Paro.
Rimpung Dzong: Rimpung Dzong means "fortress of the heap of jewels". Built in mid-17th century, it now serves as the administrative and judicial seat of Paro district and residence for the 200 monks of Paro. It is also the venue for Paro festival, held in the spring. The Fortress is a prominent landmark in the town and houses many important old paintings and status.
Drukgyel Dzong; Overlooks the beautiful village with Mount Jomolhari in the background. This ruin Dzong (Fortress) was built in 1646 by Shubdrung Nawang Namgyal to commemorate his victory over the Tibetan invaders led by Mongolion warlord, Gushri Khan. Historically and strategically it withstood all its glory and had captured western eyes in 1914 vide National Geography magazine. The Dzong was destroyed by fire in 1951 and was preserved as heritage site. However, it was re-commissioned to build in 2016 commemorate the birth of Crown Prince of Bhutan.
National Museum: This monument dates back to 1951. It was built as a watch tower for the Rimpung Dzong. In 1967 it was converted to National Museum. It holds fascinating collection of arts, relics, religious thangkha, and many other interesting objects.
Kyichu Monastery: A Tibetan king known as Songtsen Gompo in the 7th century miraculously built 108 temples. Kyichu is considered to be one of them and is one of the oldest temples in Bhutan. The temple is a popular place of pilgrimage for many Bhutanese.
Tigers Nest Monastery: The trail to the monastery climbs through beautiful pine forest, many of the trees festooned with Spanish moss, and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags. We stop at the cafeteria for a rest and refreshments and continue our hike for short while until we see, clearly and seemingly within reach, the remains of Taktsang monastery. Dedicated to Guru Padmasambhava, this incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900 meters into the valley below. The history states that Guru Padmasambhava, the tantrum mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan, had taken the wrathful form of Guru Dorje Droloe to subdue the evil and demon that were obstructing the spread of Buddhism in the Himalayas.
Bhutanese Farm Houses: Bhutanese farmhouses are colorful, decorative and traditionally built without any nails. Majority of the houses are with three story, first floor is utilized for sheltering cattle, second floor for the family to live in and the top for storing and drying of foods and fodder for animal. Almost all the farmhouses follow the same architectural pattern. A visit to farmhouse is interesting and provides you with an experience to the daily life of average Bhutanese.
Paro Bazaar: Rows of shops line the main road built in traditional architecture. This stretch of about 250 meters, houses many different types of shops from handicrafts to restaurant. The Sonam Trophel Restaurant is the oldest in town and offers authentic local recipes. Of late some coffee houses and Thai restaurant has also sprung up, refer to our Restaurant in Bhutan page for details. Paro Bazaar is a good place to meet locals and chit- chat over a cup of tea. On weekends the vibrant vegetable markets comes alive. It is interesting to walk around and checkout the fresh organic veggies and meet local villagers. The valley does not offer lots of night life, however there are few options available.
Druk Choeding Monastery: Built in 1525, this town temple was built by Ngawang Chhogyel, one of the prince-abbots of Ralung in Tibet and an ancestor of the Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal.
Trophel Tours & Treks is accredited by Tourism Council of Bhutan (License No: 1030972) and member of Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and Global Sustainable Tourism Council.