Best Things to Do in Paro 9 Best Things to Do in Paro: The Ultimate Guide for Nature Lovers! (2023)

25th February 2024

9 Best Things to Do in Paro: The Ultimate Guide for Nature Lovers! (2023)

Looking to uncover the best things to do in Paro? Well, you’re in luck because we’ve got you covered in this blog post!

As experienced travel enthusiasts, we’ve had the pleasure of leading group trips and exploring the hidden gems of Paro. Our last visit to this incredible place left us in awe of its rich heritage, breathtaking landscapes, and unforgettable experiences.

In the following paragraphs, we’ll take you on a virtual journey through Paro, unveiling its iconic landmarks, local monasteries, vibrant festivals, and thrilling activities.

Whether you’re a culture enthusiast, an adventure seeker, or a food lover, Paro has something incredible in store for you.

So, let’s dive right in and discover the best things to do in Paro;

5 Facts About Paro

  1. Paro is a scenic valley located in western Bhutan.
  2. It is home to Bhutan’s only international airport, Paro International Airport.
  3. Paro is renowned for its cultural landmarks, including ancient monasteries and fortresses.
  4. The iconic Tiger’s Nest Monastery, perched on a cliffside, is one of Paro’s major attractions.
  5. The Paro Tshechu, a vibrant religious festival held annually, showcases Bhutanese traditions and masked dances.

Best Things to Do in Paro

1. Kyichu Lhakhang

Kyichu Lhakhang

Located in the serene valley of Paro, Kyichu Lhakhang is one of Bhutan’s oldest and most sacred monasteries. This ancient temple, believed to have been built in the 7th century, is a testament to Bhutan’s rich spiritual heritage.

Nestled amidst lush greenery, Kyichu Lhakhang exudes an aura of tranquility and devotion. Its intricate architectural features, adorned with vibrant prayer flags, prayer wheels, and ornate murals, offer a captivating glimpse into Bhutanese artistry.

This spiritual haven provides a unique opportunity to witness Buddhist rituals and immerse oneself in the serene ambiance of prayer and meditation.

  • Location: Paro, Bhutan
  • Best Time to Visit: Year-round
  • Famous For – Being one of the oldest and holiest temples in Bhutan

2. Local Monasteries

Local Monasteries

Paro is blessed with an array of local monasteries, each showcasing the vibrant tapestry of Bhutanese Buddhism. These sacred abodes offer a profound insight into the country’s spiritual traditions and teachings.

From the renowned Rinpung Dzong, with its grandeur and architectural brilliance, to the secluded Taktsang Monastery perched dramatically on a cliffside, each monastery in Paro holds its own unique allure.

Visitors can witness monks engaged in prayer and witness the monastic way of life. The tranquility and serenity of these monasteries provide an opportunity for introspection and a deeper understanding of Bhutanese culture.

  • Locations: Various locations in Paro, Bhutan
  • Best Time to Visit: Year-round
  • Famous For – Architectural beauty and cultural significance

3. National Museum of Bhutan

National Museum of Bhutan

Situated in the picturesque Paro Valley, the National Museum of Bhutan is a treasure trove of the nation’s rich history and cultural heritage. Housed within a former watchtower, known as Ta Dzong, this museum offers a captivating journey through Bhutan’s past.

From ancient artifacts and religious relics to traditional costumes and exquisite Bhutanese art, the museum’s exhibits provide a fascinating glimpse into the country’s artistic, social, and historical evolution.

As you explore the galleries, you’ll be enthralled by the intricate Thangka paintings, vibrant masks used in religious festivals, and informative displays showcasing Bhutan’s unique identity.

  • Location: Paro, Bhutan
  • Best Time to Visit: Year-round
  • Famous For – Extensive collection of Bhutanese artifacts and artwork

4. Local Delicacies

Local Delicacies

Indulging in the flavors of Paro is an essential part of any visit to this enchanting destination. Bhutanese cuisine offers a delightful blend of spicy, savory, and aromatic dishes that reflect the country’s cultural heritage.

Exploring the local restaurants and cafes, you’ll have the opportunity to savor authentic Bhutanese flavors, often prepared using organic and locally sourced ingredients.

Don’t miss the chance to embark on a culinary adventure, discovering the unique taste sensations that define Paro’s gastronomic landscape.

  • Location: Various restaurants and cafes in Paro, Bhutan
  • Best Time to Visit: Year-round
  • Famous For – Ema datshi (spicy cheese and chili stew), Momos (steamed dumplings), Red rice, and traditional Bhutanese dishes

5. Paro Craft Market

Paro Craft Market

Immerse yourself in the vibrant local culture of Paro by visiting the Paro Craft Market. This bustling market is a haven for art enthusiasts and souvenir collectors alike.

Located in the heart of Paro town, the market is a vibrant tapestry of colors, sights, and sounds.

Here, you can find a wide array of traditional Bhutanese crafts, including intricate handwoven textiles, beautifully carved wooden artifacts, handmade paper products, and delicate Thangka paintings.

The market provides a platform for local artisans to showcase their skills and preserve Bhutan’s rich artistic heritage. Take your time to explore the stalls, interact with the artisans, and select unique souvenirs that reflect the soul of Bhutan.

  • Location: Paro town, Bhutan
  • Best Time to Visit: Year-round (open daily)
  • Famous For – Traditional Bhutanese crafts and artworks, Handwoven textiles, and intricate carvings

6. Drukgyel Dzong

Drukgyel Dzong

Venture back in time by visiting the magnificent Drukgyel Dzong. This ancient fortress, located at the upper end of the Paro Valley, carries tales of Bhutanese history and legends. Built-in the 17th century, the Dzong served as a strategic defense post against Tibetan invasions. Today, its ruins stand as a testament to the architectural grandeur of the past. Surrounded by breathtaking landscapes, the Drukgyel Dzong offers panoramic views of snow-capped mountains and lush green valleys. It serves as a reminder of Bhutan’s glorious past and the resilience of its people. A visit to this historical site will transport you to a bygone era, allowing you to appreciate the architectural marvels and the scenic beauty that surrounds it.

  • Location: Upper Paro Valley, Bhutan
  • Best Time to Visit: Year-round
  • Famous For: Historical significance and architectural grandeur, Panoramic views of the Paro Valley and surrounding mountains, Relics and Remnants of Bhutanese History

7. Thrilling Adventure Activities

Best Things to Do in Paro 9 Best Things to Do in Paro: The Ultimate Guide for Nature Lovers! (2023)

For adrenaline enthusiasts, Paro offers a plethora of thrilling adventure activities that will get your heart racing. Embark on exhilarating hikes and treks through the rugged landscapes of the region, immersing yourself in nature’s beauty.

The Paro Valley is blessed with numerous trails, each offering a unique perspective and rewarding vistas. Alternatively, engage in mountain biking and explore the picturesque countryside, pedaling through quaint villages and scenic trails.

For those seeking water-based adventures, rafting along the crystal-clear rivers is an adrenaline-pumping experience not to be missed. Paro’s adventure activities provide an opportunity to connect with the natural wonders of Bhutan while indulging in exhilarating experiences.

  • Location: Paro Valley, Bhutan
  • Best Time to Visit: Spring (March to May) and Autumn (September to November)
  • Famous For – Hiking and trekking amidst stunning landscapes

8. Discover the Iconic Tiger’s Nest

Discover the Iconic Tiger's Nest

A journey to Paro is incomplete without a visit to the iconic Tiger’s Nest. Also known as Paro Taktsang, this sacred monastery clings to the cliffs at an elevation of 3,120 meters (10,240 feet) and is considered one of the most significant pilgrimage sites in Bhutan.

Legend has it that Guru Rinpoche, the founder of Bhutanese Buddhism, meditated here in the 8th century. The monastery is reached by embarking on a thrilling hike through a forested trail, offering panoramic views of the Paro Valley along the way.

As you approach the Tiger’s Nest, the sight of the monastery perched precariously on the edge of the cliff is awe-inspiring. Step inside to explore the intricate murals, prayer halls, and sacred relics, and feel a sense of spiritual serenity envelop you.

  • Location: Paro Valley, Bhutan
  • Best Time to Visit: Spring (March to May) and Autumn (September to November)
  • Famous For – Guru Rinpoche’s meditation site and spiritual significance

9. Experience Festivals at the Festival Ground

Festival Ground

Immerse yourself in the vibrant cultural celebrations of Paro by attending festivals held at the Paro Festival Ground. Bhutanese festivals, known as Tshechus, are an integral part of the country’s cultural fabric.

These joyous occasions bring together locals and visitors in a festive atmosphere filled with masked dances, traditional music, and religious ceremonies.

The Paro Festival Ground hosts various Tshechus throughout the year, providing an opportunity to witness the colorful masked dances performed by monks and laypeople.

Experience the rhythmic beats of traditional instruments, marvel at the elaborate costumes, and immerse yourself in the joyous celebrations that showcase Bhutan’s living heritage.

  • Location: Paro Festival Ground, Paro, Bhutan
  • Best Time to Visit: Check the festival schedule for specific dates
  • Famous For – Vibrant Tshechu festivals with masked dances and religious rituals

Best Time to Visit Paro

The best time to visit Paro is during the spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) seasons. These months offer pleasant weather with moderate temperatures and clear skies, making it ideal for outdoor activities and sightseeing.

In spring, Paro blossoms with vibrant colors as the rhododendrons and other flowers are in full bloom. The lush green landscapes, coupled with pleasant temperatures, create a picturesque setting for hiking, trekking, and exploring cultural sites.

Autumn is equally enchanting, with clear views of the snow-capped Himalayan peaks and crisp, cool air. The autumn foliage adds a touch of golden hues to the valleys, creating a breathtaking backdrop for outdoor adventures and visits to monasteries and festivals.

Both seasons provide favorable conditions for visiting Paro’s famous attractions, such as the Tiger’s Nest and Drukgyel Dzong. It’s important to note that Paro can experience some rainfall during the monsoon season (June to August), which may affect visibility and outdoor activities.

How to Get to Paro

1. By Air

The most convenient way to reach Paro is by air. Paro International Airport, located in the Paro Valley, is the sole international airport in Bhutan. It is well connected to major cities in neighboring countries, such as Delhi, Bangkok, Kathmandu, and Singapore.

Several international airlines operate flights to Paro, including Druk Air, Bhutan’s national carrier, and a few other regional airlines. The flight to Paro offers breathtaking views of the Himalayan mountains, making it a truly remarkable experience.

2. By Road

If you prefer to explore the scenic landscapes of Bhutan by road, you can enter Paro by crossing the border from India. The nearest border crossing is Phuentsholing, which connects with the Indian town of Jaigaon in West Bengal. From Phuentsholing, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to Paro. The journey from Phuentsholing to Paro takes approximately 6-7 hours, depending on road conditions.

Where to Stay in Paro

  1. Uma by COMO, Paro: Located amidst the breathtaking Paro Valley, Uma by COMO is a luxurious retreat offering a blend of traditional Bhutanese charm and contemporary elegance. The hotel boasts spacious rooms and suites with stunning mountain views, a world-class spa, and a fine-dining restaurant serving delectable Bhutanese and international cuisine.
  2. Naksel Boutique Hotel & Spa: Situated amid lush greenery and overlooking the iconic Tiger’s Nest, Naksel Boutique Hotel & Spa provides a serene and tranquil atmosphere. The hotel features beautifully designed rooms with traditional Bhutanese elements, an on-site spa offering rejuvenating treatments, and a restaurant serving organic Bhutanese and international dishes.
  3. Tenzinling Resort: Nestled in the heart of Paro town, Tenzinling Resort offers comfortable accommodations with a touch of Bhutanese hospitality. The resort provides cozy rooms with modern amenities, an on-site restaurant serving Bhutanese, Indian, and Chinese cuisine, and a peaceful garden area where guests can relax and enjoy the serene surroundings.

Where to Eat in Paro

  1. Ambient Café & Restaurant – Located in the heart of Paro town, Ambient Café & Restaurant is a cozy and welcoming establishment that offers a diverse menu catering to different tastes. From delicious Bhutanese delicacies to international dishes, there’s something for everyone.
  2. Sonam Trophel Restaurant – For an authentic Bhutanese dining experience, head to Sonam Trophel Restaurant. This renowned eatery is known for its warm hospitality and traditional Bhutanese cuisine. Indulge in their flavorful Bhutanese buffet, which includes dishes like Jasha Maru (spicy chicken curry) and Phaksha Paa (pork with red chili).
  3. Mountain Café & Restaurant – Situated amidst the picturesque Paro Valley, Mountain Café & Restaurant offers stunning views along with delicious food. This charming eatery specializes in Bhutanese and Indian cuisines, serving up flavorful curries, momos, and thukpa (noodle soup).

Travel Tips & Suggestions

  • Carry a valid passport and visa for entry into Bhutan.
  • Check the weather conditions and pack accordingly, as Paro experiences varying temperatures throughout the year.
  • Respect the local customs and traditions, including dress codes when visiting monasteries and dzongs.
  • Stay hydrated and carry a reusable water bottle, as it is essential to drink plenty of water, especially at higher altitudes.
  • Engage with local guides or tour operators to ensure a smooth and well-planned itinerary.
  • Prepare for the Tiger’s Nest hike by wearing comfortable shoes and carrying essential items like sunscreen, a hat, and a small backpack.
  • Keep important documents and valuables secure and carry photocopies or digital copies of essential documents.
  • Respect the environment by practicing responsible tourism, including proper waste disposal and minimizing plastic usage.

Conclusion – Best Things to Do in Paro

In conclusion, Paro emerges as a captivating destination that seamlessly blends history, culture, adventure, and culinary delights.

From exploring ancient monasteries like Kyichu Lhakhang and immersing in the vibrant festivities at the Paro Festival Ground to embarking on thrilling hikes to Tiger’s Nest and indulging in the local delicacies at the Paro Craft Market, there is an abundance of experiences to cherish.

The National Museum of Bhutan offers a deeper understanding of the country’s heritage, while Drukgyel Dzong stands as a testament to its architectural marvels. Paro is a treasure trove waiting to be discovered, promising a journey of awe, excitement, and lasting memories.

Whether you’re a history buff, an adventure enthusiast, or simply in search of a serene escape, Paro has it all. Come, explore these best things to do in Paro, nestled in the heart of Bhutan and unlock a world of wonders that will leave an indelible mark on your travel memories.

FAQs – Best Things to Do in Paro

What are the must-visit attractions in Paro?

Paro offers a range of must-visit attractions. Don’t miss the iconic Tiger’s Nest, the ancient Kyichu Lhakhang, and the historical Drukgyel Dzong. Explore the Paro Craft Market for unique souvenirs, and immerse yourself in the vibrant festivals at the Paro Festival Ground.

Are there any adventure activities in Paro?

Absolutely! Paro is a playground for adventure enthusiasts. Engage in thrilling hikes and treks, go mountain biking through picturesque trails, or experience the adrenaline rush of rafting along pristine rivers. Paro offers something for every adventure seeker.

What is the best time to visit Paro?

The best time to visit Paro is during spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November). These seasons offer pleasant weather, clear skies, and vibrant landscapes. However, Paro can be visited year-round, each season having its own charm.

What is the significance of Tiger’s Nest?

Tiger’s Nest, or Paro Taktsang, is of great spiritual significance. Legend has it that Guru Rinpoche, the founder of Bhutanese Buddhism, meditated here in the 8th century. It is believed to be a sacred site where one can attain spiritual enlightenment and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes.

What can I find at the Paro Craft Market?

The Paro Craft Market is a treasure trove of traditional Bhutanese crafts. You’ll find intricate handwoven textiles, beautifully carved wooden artifacts, delicate Thangka paintings, and handmade paper products. It’s the perfect place to find authentic souvenirs that reflect Bhutan’s rich artistic heritage.

Are there any local delicacies to try in Paro?

Paro is a food lover’s paradise! Don’t miss out on trying Ema Datshi, a spicy cheese and chili dish, and traditional Bhutanese dumplings called Momos. Savor the flavors of red rice, butter tea, and delicious Bhutanese curries. Paro offers a culinary journey that will delight your taste buds.

How can I experience the local culture in Paro?

To experience the local culture in Paro, visit the Kyichu Lhakhang, where you can witness Bhutanese rituals and immerse yourself in spiritual serenity. Attend the vibrant Tshechu festivals at the Paro Festival Ground, filled with masked dances and traditional music. Engage with the friendly locals and learn about their customs and way of life.

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