Pretty much everybody that visits Bhutan takes in Paro. Not just because this is the site of Bhutan’s international airport, but because it is also the location of Bhutan’s most iconic building – Tiger’s Nest. This is the name given to Taktshang Lhakhang, the extraordinary monastery built on a cliff edge high above Paro Valley. It’s about a 5 hour round trip to walk there along a forest trail, although you can get a horse to take you a good part of the way if you prefer.
Paro is overlooked by a pretty impressive fortress. These buildings are found throughout Bhutan and are still in everyday use. Known as dzongs they are administrative centres, part occupied by local officials and part by monks.
From here you can stroll down to the town itself which is full of character with a lot of traditional buildings and several good shops for souvenirs, textiles, arts and crafts.
Paro is set in the centre of a fertile valley and this is very much an agricultural area. There are farmhouses all around the valley and if you go in autumn you’ll see thousands of red chillies drying on the rooftops and even hanging from windows in the middle of town.
It’s pretty nice to stay in a hotel that’s out in the countryside to get a feel for life in this scenic valley with its terraced paddy fields.
At the other end of the valley there’s an old derelict fortress called Drukgyel Dzong that was originally built in 1649 to control the trade route through to Tibet. You get a great view of the valley from here and it’s also a trailhead where quite a few of the treks start from.
Time: GMT +6 hours
National carrier Druk Air flies from several locations but commonly you'll connect from Delhi (2hrs), Koltata or Kathmandu (both just over an hour). You will need to come via one of these destinations which in turn are about 12 to 15 hours from the UK depending on the routing.
Language: Dzongkha is Bhutan's national language. English is widely spoken and is used in all schools.
Visas are required and are issued from Bhutan. Tribes will arrange your visa for you through our partners in Bhutan.
There are no compulsory vaccinations.
Tribes Travel, The Old Dairy, Wood Farm, Ipswich Road,
Otley, Suffolk, IP6 9JW.
Office hours: Monday - Friday: 9am to 5.30pm
Telephone: 01473 890499