Visit Paro and do following sightseeing and hiking
PARO Region Overview:
The Paro region is one of the widest valleys in the kingdom and is covered in fertile rice and has beautiful, crystalline river meandering down the valley. The region is, without a doubt, one of the loveliest in Bhutan. Willow trees and apple orchards line many of the roads, whitewashed farmhouses and temples complement the green terraced fields, and forested hills rise on either side to create a beautiful, organic and peaceful whole.
There are over 155 temples and monasteries in the area and the country’s first and only international airport is also located in the region. Several treks begin in or near Paro. The Druk Path Trek climbs east over a 4200m pass before descending to Thimphu. The Jhomolhari, Laya–Gasa and Snowman treks all lead west from Drukgyel Dzong on to Jhomolhari base camp and the spectacular alpine regions of Gasa and Laya. These attractive tour itinerary has resulted in the development of an array of luxurious, high-end tourist resorts making Paro one of the main destination for visitors.
Paro sightseeing: (1 whole day)
Visit Paro Rinpung Dzong: One of the main attractions in Paro is the Paro Rinpung Dzong (fortress), which was built in 1646. The Dzong now houses for the office of the district Administration and district monastic body of Bhutan. On the way to Dzong, you can able to see Bhutanese traditional wooden bridge built in ancient style. Along the wooden galleries lining the courtyard of the Rinpung Dzong are fine wall paintings illustrating Buddhist lore such as four friends, the old man of long life, the wheel of life, scenes from the life of Milarepa, Mount. Sumeru and other cosmic Mandala.
Visit The National Museum (Ta-Dzong) is located just above the Paro Rinpung Dzong, which was built to be used as the watchtower for the Dzong during inter-valley wars of the 17th century. The Ta Dzong is now serving as National Museum. The Museum has got a collection of all kinds of traditional Masks, extinct wildlife animals skin cover, Stamps, Photos, Statues, Pottery, Arms and Ammunition, ancient costumes, relics, religious paintings, handicrafts, and hangs the Biggest mask in Bhutan. The collection at the National Museum preserves a snap-shot of the rich cultural traditions of the country.
Visit Drugyal Dzong (Victorious Fortress), Another site worth visiting in Paro is Drugyel Dzong or The Fortress of the Victorious Bhutanese. It was constructed by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646 to commemorate his victory over marauding Tibetan armies. On a clear day, one can get a spectacular view of Mountain Jhomolhari, the third -highest mountain in Bhutan at 7,326 meters. The fortress was destroyed by fire in 1951 but the ruins remain an impressive and imposing sight.
Visit Kyichu Lhakhang, (Lhakhang means temple) en-route to Drugayl Dzong, visit Kyichu Lhakhang which is the oldest temple in the country, built in the 659 AD, by the King Songtsen Gampo of Tibet. It is believed that king had built 108 temples in the various place he visited on earth to spread Buddhism and Kyichu Lhakhang is included as one. The Lhakhang is located in between Paro Town and Drugyal Dzong. In Bhutan, people believe that the place where Lhakhang is built is considered one of the holiest place in the country, as it marks the advent of Buddhism in the country.
Visit Kila Goenpa: This nunnery perched on a vertical hill is great to go for hiking because the place is well known for its serenity and beauty of looking down at the Bonday Valley. It’s only a half day hike, which we recommend you to take chance.
Visit Chelela Pass – Located at 3810m (13,000ft), between the valley of Paro and Haa, Chele La pass is the highest road pass in the country. It is popular for short excursion for maybe two and half hours. You will see many tourists visiting this vantage point. Some prefer driving, some hiking and many wheels down either to Haa or Paro valley in their mountain bikes. The drive to Chele La is through dense spruce and larch forests. Depending on the season you will encounter various sights such as a frozen river, waterfall, Rhododendron forest and yaks grazing peacefully. On a clear day, you can view Mt. Jumolhari (the third -highest mountain in Bhutan at 7,326 meters) along with other sacred mountains Jichu Drake and adjoining peaks to the North West, as well as the view of both the valley (Paro and Haa).
Visit Paro international Airport viewpoint: En-route to Chella Pass, we will visit a great Paro international Airport viewpoint, which is fully opened to the area, there is no restriction wall built making viewers enjoy the full view.
Experience Farm House (traditional village house)
The beauty of Paro valley is embellished by cluster of quaint farm houses. Bhutanese farm houses are very colorful, decorative and traditionally built without the use of single nail. All houses follow the same architectural pattern. A visit to Farm House is very interesting and offers a good glimpse into the lifestyle of a farmer.
Day Hike in Paro (1 day for each hike)
Chumbu Monastery Hike
Time: 1 hour drive to the starting point, partly on very bumpy forest road. 5 – 6 hours hike round trip.
Difficulty level: Moderate
If you still have doubts about the validity about the magical stories you hear as you travel through the Kingdom, a visit to Chumbu Monastery might convince you that magic truly exists. The walk to the monastery brings you along the river through an enchanting forest until reaching a chorten. The last incline up to the temple, located at 2800-2900 meters (9350 feet) is fairly steep. As you walk through the forest you might spot birds such as magpie, jungle cock and pheasant.
The highlight of a visit to Chumbu is the statue of the floating Buddha, Dorji Phangmo (Vajira Yogini). This statue is said to be miraculously floating in the air. At a first glance, you might think that the statue is standing on the ground, however if you get a flash light and a piece of paper, you will experience that you can easily slide the piece of paper between the firm ground and the Buddha’s foot.
The temple ground is a serene place for a picnic lunch before exploring the small waterfall above the temple. The five minute walk to the waterfall is steep and can be very muddy. It is most common to follow the same route down, however an alternative route exists which takes you past another beautiful water fall and numerous caves. However, this route is very steep and risky at times, and somewhat difficult as you have to navigate across wet areas.
Chumbo Monastery is a 15th century temple founded by terton (treasurer discoverer) Drugda Dorji. Due to its unique statue, it is a very popular pilgrimage site. There are many miraculous marks of high religious significance that can be seen on the way to the temple.
Taktshang (Tiger’s Nest) Hike
Time : 20 minute drive to the base from the town, 4-5 hour walk round trip.
Difficulty level: Moderate to Strenuous
Tiger’s Nest or Taktshang Goempa is one of Bhutan’s most revered monuments. The Monastery’ is one of the Himalaya’s most incredible sites, miraculously perched on the side of a sheer cliff 900m above the floor of Paro valley. It literally hangs off the face of a cliff 900 meters (2952 feet) above the valley floor. The legend states that Guru Rinpoche flew into Paro on a mythical tigress and meditated in a cave. The Taktshang Goempa is built around the cave, which is opened to the public once a year. It’s the goal of every visitor to Bhutan and while getting there involves a bit of uphill legwork, it’s well worth the effort. The 4-5 hours round trip hike offers spectacular views of the Goempa and the valley below. Horses or mules can be arranged on request to help lighten the journey.
Time: 6 – 7 hours hike
Difficulty level Strenuous
Far up and beyond Taktshang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest) you will eventually find Bumdra located in the mountainside 4000 meters (13120 feet) above sea level overlooking the Paro Valley. Reaching this point will give you a huge sense of achievement as you look down at the distance covered! The route to Bumdra starts from the Taktshang base and follows the same trail until the Taktshang trail turns right above the cafeteria. The trail to Bumdra then continues straight past a handful of temples and hermitages. The trail gets even steeper after passing Taktshang, and climbs harshly all the way up to the cliff-hanging temple. The temple terrace is a beautiful place to enjoy your well-deserved picnic lunch while appreciating the view of the valley and relishing in the feeling of having accomplished the extensive climb. Among a group of prayer flags on the mountain top, you have views of both side valleys before starting the walk down through lively forest on the opposite side. After three to four hours of descending, you will end up next to Kuenga High School where the car will be waiting to take you back to the hotel.
Bumdra Monastery is another 8th century temple blessed by Guru Rinpoche. Behind the altar, you can see what is believed to be the footprints of a thousand angles. Many monks come to this peaceful place to engage in meditation.
Visit Haa and do following sightseeing and Hike in Haa region
On the way to Haa we’ll have a chance to stop for lunch and a photo shooting at Chelela Pass – Located at 3810m (13,000ft), between the valley of Paro and Haa, Chele La pass is the highest road pass in the country. It will take only half an hour from Chelela pass to reach Haa district. We’ll take you to the hotel and let you take some rest, after a brief rest we will visit and Explore Rural Bhutan Culture.