Paro (population 4,500) is a town in in the south west of Bhutan.
Paro is a historic town with many sacred sites and historical buildings scattered through the area. In addition, the Paro Valley is wide and verdant and is recognized a one of the most beautiful in all Bhutan. Prefer to stay in Paro if you are someone who is fond of nature and would like to spend quiet and peaceful time. However, apart from the main street (which is constructed of traditional wooden structures), the bazaar area is a nondescript hodgepodge of concrete buildings that is totally bereft of charm and character. Along with Jakar and Punakha, Paro forms the 'golden triangle' of popular tourist destinations in Bhutan.
- Paro Airport, PBH. An international airport located in a deep valley.
- Druk Air, (Royal Bhutan Airlines) is the main airline serving Paro Airport, and offers flight to from Bangkok, Delhi, Dhaka, Kathmandu and Kolkata.
- Bhutan Airlines, now serves Paro every day from Kathmandu
- Can hire a taxi from Thimphu and reach Paro in approx. 45 mins. The drive of 30kms is very pleasant and roads keep on unfolding with every turn.
As the main tourist sites in Paro are spread out throughout the valley, a vehicle is required to get around. Taxis are available for hire inside the main bazaar.
- Taktsang Monastery, (Tiger's Nest). Precariously perched on the edge of a 1,200 meter cliff, this monastery creates an impressive sight, and is the unofficial symbol of Bhutan. It is about 2-3 hour, totally up-hill hike from the parking lot to the monastery, though there is a cafe located on ridge across from the Taktsang (about 90 minutes into the walk) that provides a welcome opportunity to take a rest and purchase refreshments and snacks. The hike up to the Tiger's Nest can be very strenuous and you can rent a horse to bring up the mountain for about USD $10. The horse ride is a one-way trip (this is recommended if you are not very fit and may face altitude sickness) and you have to make your way down the mountain by foot. Taktsang was established as a sacred place for meditation by Guru Rinpoche who visited the site on his second visit to Bhutan in 747 CE, though the first monastery was not constructed until 1694. In 1998 a tragic fire destroyed most of the original buildings, but these have since been painstakingly restored to their former glory.
- National Museum of Bhutan. Located in a former watch tower (which itself is a museum piece) above the dzong, the museum displays artifacts from Bhutan's history as well as examples of indigenous flora and fauna.
- Rinpung Dzong, which was constructed in 1646.
- Drukgyel Dzong This dzong (fortress) was built in the 16th century to commemorate a victory over the invading Tibetan forces. The fortress today lies in ruins, the elements and a fire in the 1950s having taken a toll on the site. Drukyel dzong is about 15 kms from Paro.
- Drakhapo, above Shaba (keeping Shaba School to the right, follow the dirt road to end. The complex is a five minute walk from here). Drakhapo is a monastic complex perched on a cliff. Guru Rinpoche spent two months here after completing a retreat at nearby Taktsang, and during his stay placed many treasures (terma) into the cliff. The area also has several hand and foot prints embedded in the rock.
- Kichu Lhakang is one of the 108 monasteries that were miraculously constructed by King Songten Gampo in one night. It is located just off the road running between Paro bazaar and the Taktsang.
- Jangsarbu Lhakhang, located behind Paro Dzong. This small and insignificant looking temple is home to a magnificent statue of Sakyamuni Buddha that was carried all the way from Lhasa, and also houses the protector deity of Paro. Legend has it that the statue of Sakyamuni was destined for Paro Dzong and merely placed in the temple for overnight safe keeping. However, when the time came to move the statue, it proved impossible to lift. As a result, it became a permanent feature of the lhakhang.
- Paro Tshechu - a religious festival normally held around Feb-Mar
- Kiras - The elegant traditional dress comprising of a cloth wrapped around as a skirt with a jacket for the top worn by Bhutanese women. The kiras are a lot cheaper in stores that are "General stores", as this is where the locals shop.
- Souvenirs - The town is dotted with souvenir shops. Bargaining is recommended, especially if you are purchasing high-value items above Nu 400
- Hotel Peljorling, next to clock tower. Tel: + 975 8 271-365. Excellent local and Indian cuisine at reasonable prices.
- Hotel First Floor, main bazaar. Simple, no-nonsense Bhutanese dishes - large helpings at reasonable prices.
- Hotel Tandin, main town, Paro. Tel: 08-272016. Contact for fresh dumpling (momo), Bhutanese dishes, noodle. reasonable price.
- Sonam Trophel Restaurant, on the main street. Tel:+975 2 8287. Mobile:17602292. Not a very big restaurant, but one of the best in town. It is advisable to call and book in advance. Some recommended dishes (which are not on the menu but can be ordered) are ginger potato, pumpkin curry and marinated chicken momos.
- Tshernyoen's Cafe, situated by the river side, near the Bhutan Telecom office, offers coffee (espresso, americano, cappuccino, latte, filter/brewed) along with bakes (carrot, peach, and chocolate cakes, banana bread, brownies, cookies etc.). Grilled sandwiches, pasta salad, are also available but require an advance order. Tel: 77252426. Sometimes they also have fresh seasonal fruit juice. Other things you'll find for sale here are local art pieces, handmade Bhutanese souvenirs, books, and postcards. Internet wifi available. Closed on Tuesdays.
- Tshernyoen's Cafe, near the telecom office, behind Peljorling hotel. Good selection of ground coffees and cakes, also fruit juices.
- Zhiwa Ling Hotel has a nice bar serving most top notch Western liquors as well as international beers. Additionally, the hotel has a disco on the ground floor.
- Sonam Trophel HotelHotel Sonam Trophel, The hotel is located in the heart of the city. Sonam Trophel is a familiar and distinctive landmark, traditional wooden architect & paintings apart from the glass and concrete conformity of other hotels. There are 10 rooms including 2 luxury suites. The rooms are furnished with basic modern amenities including spacious attached baths with running hot/cold water, color TV with satellite channels, direct dial STD/ISD, laundry. WiFi connectivity and car parking is also available.
- "Hotel Samden Norzin", The hotel offers clean and good sized rooms at reasonable price. Its single room is available at Nu 700 while double room is about Nu 1500. The hotel also has room service. However, there is no internet facility. Hotel management is nice and friendly.
- Hotel KK, nice rooms but extremely slow service in food and rude staff.
- Hotel Jor-yangz, on the hill above the airport. Nice rooms with some of them having beautiful views of the Paro valley, efficient service.
- Hotel Holiday Home, PO Box 707 (located near the end of airport complex). Tel:975 8 272-101. E-mail: [email protected] A single story hotel convenient for airport and close to main town. Friendly and efficient service. Pleasant rooms.
Hotel Samdencholing at Geptey on hospital road towards Olathang
This is one of the best Eco Resort owned by Mr. Tandin Wangchuk. Very Very nice accommodation with great panoramic view of the Paro Town, Paro Dzong and Ta Dzong or the Museum. Located very near to the town but in a peaceful and outstanding location in the midst of paddy fields. A well-maintained property with trained and helpful staffs,very good restaurant with both Indian and Bhutanese delicacies, excellent view from the hotel.
- Uma by COMO Paro, PO Box 222, Paro. Tel:975 8 271597. Email: [email protected]. A twenty-nine rooms and villas luxury hotel with full hotel facilities such as swimming pool, gym, etc... Their villas go with personal butler service.
- Aman Resort, E-mail: [email protected], . A very expensive and luxurious hotel. Starting rate for single: US$ 1000
- Zhiwa Ling, . A luxury hotel, owned by Bhutanese investors, with 45 guest rooms accommodating 90 guests. The hotel has a meditation room that has a view of the Tiger's Nest as well as a full-service massage room.
- Nak Sel Hotel and Spa, . A luxury hotel, owned by Rainbow Tours, with ~40 guest rooms. The hotel rooms have a view of the Tiger's Nest and Mt. Jomulhori. (+975 8) 272989.
- There are a couple of internet cafes in the main bazaar - with the most convenient being on the road behind the main square, next to the bakery. However, internet connections in Paro are notoriously slow so be prepared for a very long wait.