Paro dzongkhag lies in the west of the country. Blessed with one of the widest valleys, Paro is one of the more populated district in the country. Located at about 2200 meters, Thanks to a rich history, it has many attractions of the varied kind. Old temples, stunning view, amazing hikes, be to Taktsang or Bumdrak, and for the adventure and adrenaline lovers, cycling through pine forest to Drukgyal Dzong or rafting on the PaChhu river, Paro welcomes all.
Home to Paro Taktsang (Tiger’s nest), the most iconic attraction of the Bhutan. A complex of temples that hangs on a cliffside at around 3100 meters. A hike along the trail to experience this journey is a must for every visitor. It is believed that Guru Padamasambhava (‘lotus born’) or Guru Rinpoche (‘precious one’) as known in Bhutan, flew here on a back of a tigress, thus the name Taktsang literally meaning tiger’s nest or lair. Legend has it that Guru spent a considerable time meditating in the various caves and spreading dharma during the 7th century. The monastery is built around the main cave.
About 12 km. south to Taktsang lies the Rinpung Dzong. Sitting stunningly on a hilltop overlooking the town and beyond. Built in 1646, as a fortress to fortify Buddhism, by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, a Buddhist lama who came to Bhutan in the 16th century and unified Bhutan a nation/state. The Dzong now houses the offices of the government and monastic body of Paro district. Above the Rinpung Dzong, on the hillside is the circular Ta-Dzong. Once a watchtower built to defend Rinpung Dzong, Ta- Dzong now houses Bhutan’s National Museum. Converted into a museum in 1967, the museum showcases many important historical artifacts. Since it is currently under renovation, the exhibits are showcased in a neighbouring building.
An overnight trek to Bumdrak is also highly recommended. A loop trail starting from Sangchokor Monastery and finishing pass Taktsang at Ramthangkha is a wonderful hike with great views of Paro valley. Sitting on the sun lounger sipping butter as the sun goes down over Haa, is marvelous short trekking experience within Paro. It also offers a different perspective to Paro Taktsang the next day as the trial winds above the temple taking you pass the temple.
Paro is hard to miss and you are bound to stay a night or two as the only international airport is also located south of the valley. The evening walks along Paro town is a pleasant time and you will be able to watch men play the game of archery, the Bhutanese way!