What is the first thing that pops up in your mind when you think of fairy tales? Is it lofty mountains, breathtaking monasteries, and colorful villages set in an other-worldly landscape? Well, that’s Bhutan for you. The air of Bhutan carries with it a mystique of years of legends, tales and heritage. If our description of the valley hasn’t convinced you to visit the town yet, then Anupama’s Paro travel guide will certainly send you packing your bags.
Bhutan was on my wishlist for the longest time. I decided to visit it after reading the book “The Living Road” by Ajit Harisinghani where the author embarks on a bike trip from Pune to Bhutan. His description of the country and its rich, complex culture propelled me to take a leap. TravelTriangle planned my Paro trip within minutes and before I knew it, I was on a plane with my pal jetting off to my dream town.
Details Of Our Paro Travel Guide
Trip Cost: INR 34,000
No. Of People: 2
Trip Duration: 6 days and 5 nights
Inclusions: Private cab, accommodation, breakfast, sightseeing, all immigration formalities, all internal taxes, parking fee
Exclusions: Lunch, dinner, evening tea and snack, guest insurance, monument entry fees, hot stone bath cost, tour guide
Our Paro Travel Guide Itinerary
Day 1: Arrival in Paro and leisure day
Day 2: Sightseeing in Paro and arrival in Punakha
Day 3: Sightseeing in Punakha
Day 4: Day hike to Tiger Nest Monastery
Day 5: Rinpung Dzong tour and arrival in Phuentsholing
Day 6: Departure
Weather In Bhutan
The weather in Bhutan varies from one city to another. In the Northern reaches of Bhutan, the weather is cold throughout the year. This is because the mountain peaks are perpetually covered in snow. If you plan to visit Thimphu and Paro, make sure to pack extra layers. The weather is relatively warmer in Punakha since it is located in the central part of the country.
Our Top 4 Experiences During 6 Days In Paro
After a lot of thought, I have arrived at 5 experiences from our 6 days in Paro trip that stole my heart. You can read them on our Paro travel guide:
1. Hike To The Temple Of Fertility
At Chimi Lhakhang monastery, illustrations of the male genitalia adorn the walls of buildings. The monks keep wooden phalluses to bless women or couples who seek to be blessed with children. Incidentally, in modern Bhutan, the use of male genitalia is frowned upon. We had to hike to reach the temple. The hike can be easily done by anyone.
Suggested Read: Street Food In Bhutan: 10 Tasty Delicacies To Relish
2. Visit Dzongs, Museums, And Shrines
Our Paro travel guide will be rendered incomplete without mentioning Bhutan’s stunning architecture. The beautiful Paro Dzong towers over the town and is visible throughout the valley. Perched above Paro Dzong, the National Museum is a storehouse of information on Bhutan’s gems, namely festivals masks and natural history. We made sure to get a picture against the line of six chortens that mark the entrance into Paro.
3. Interact With Monks At Buddha Viewpoint
The bronze statue of Buddha Dordenma, located high above the hill, can be seen from the city. Its sheer size, and the details that went into it, makes it a breathtaking sight. It is perched on top of a temple where you can seek prayers and interact with Buddhist monks. We thoroughly enjoyed the panoramic views of Thimphu city from the terrace.
4. Hike To Tiger Nest Monastery
We were equal parts excited and nervous about our 4.5 kilometre-long trek to Tiger Nest monastery. You have to conquer more than 700 steps to make it to the monastery. Most travelers only made it half-way. You can also opt for a horse ride if walking all the way is not your cup of tea. This was one of our most memorable experience and deserved a spot in our Paro travel guide.
Our Hotels In Bhutan
We stayed at Hotel Galingkha in Thimphu. The hotel is located in the center of the town. The local market is easily accessible from there. The rooms are spacious and the staff is hospitably warm. In Punakha valley, we stayed at Hotel Pema Karpo. The hotel is located on the banks of the Punakha river. The food served at the hotel was delicious. We had Jasha Maroo and loved every bit of it! We also availed the spa facilities there. At Paro, we stayed at Hotel Dewachen. It is located at the edge of a hill. It offers panoramic views of Paro valley.
Local Food Of Bhutan
Based on the reviews we found online for restaurants in Bhutan and cafes in Paro, we tried Ema Datshi, Shakam Datshi, Jasha Maroo and momos. We enjoyed the food at Zombala in Thimphu, hotel Pema Karpo in Punakha and at the house of a local in Paro who happened to be a relative of our tour guide. It was an unforgettable experience. In addition to this, we also explored the local cafes, like the ambient café at Thimphu and the Mountain Café at Paro.
Shopping In Paro
Most of the shops in Bhutan sell souvenirs. However, they are all quite expensive. One should not forget to buy prayer flags and little paintings that depict the Buddhist culture prevailing in Bhutan.
Paro Travel Tips
Here’s a combined list of Paro travel tips and Bhutan travel tips that I believe will help you avoid mistakes and vacation like a pro:
1. Opt for a homestay to get an insight into Bhutan’s rich cultural heritage.
2. Learn a few phrases in Dzongkha to interact with locals.
3. Carry extra layers with you because it can get cold anytime.
4. You can choose to pay in USD or INR, so there is no need to exchange money.
5. Do not disrespect the Royal Family.
Our Experience With TravelTriangle
My travel agent was kind enough to customise the itinerary according to our requirements. Our journey was, for most parts, hassle-free. All our needs were taken care of. We didn’t have to raise a finger. Our package included a private cab with a driver who drove us everywhere, no questions asked. TravelTriangle gave us more than we could have ever asked for.
Common Queries You May Have About Bhutan
Here’s a compilation of all the travel queries you may have vis-a-vis our Paro travel guide. I am pretty sure the answer to your question will be here:
Q. Is Bhutan worth visiting?
Bhutan’s beautiful dzongs and ancient fortresses make it worth traveling to the country.
Q. What is the best time to visit Bhutan?
The best time to visit Bhutan is from October to November when it is sunny in the valley with some snow in the higher areas.
Q. Can you smoke in Bhutan?
Cigarettes are banned in Bhutan and you need to pay 100% tax if you’re taking cigarettes to Bhutan.
Q. How many days do you need in Bhutan?
You need 5-6 days to explore Bhutan’s cultural treasures.
Q. Does Bhutan have internet connectivity?
Thimphu, Paro, Trongsa, and Bumthang have internet connectivity but Phobjikha doesn’t.
Feasting our eyes on pretty houses, hills lined with trees, embellished temples and cultural treasures in Bhutan, we did not want our trip to end. If you resonated with my experiences after reading my Paro travel guide, you too can book your trip to Bhutan with TravelTriangle and have the time of your life in this country. We promise you won’t be disappointed.