Located in the valley of the Paro River, Paro is at the centre of Bhutan’s most rich areas, dotted with scared sights and historical buildings. The town’s scenic setting and tranquil atmosphere, all in the shadow of the mighty Himalaya, make it the perfect base for exploring. Wander down the main street to see the colourful wooden shop fronts after a day visiting the world-famous Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) Monastery and admiring the relics of the National Museum of Bhutan.
Also known as ‘Tiger’s Nest’, Taktsang is Bhutan’s best known and most impressive monastery. Hanging precariously off a rock face 900 metres above the floor of the Paro valley, the temple was built in 1692 around eight caves, some of which were used for meditation by Guru Padmasambhava, who bought Buddhism to Bhutan. Four main temples with white walls and golden roofs are linked together by steps that are carved from the rock. Whilst it may look impossible to reach from the valley floor there are in fact three paths that will take you up to Taktsang – trekking, though, is the only way to reach it.
The premiere example of Bhutanese architecture in the country, the Paro Dzong watches over the town from its hillside perch. Used many times to defend Bhutan from Tibetan invaders, this dzong is perhaps the best known and most impressive of them all. As with the majority of Bhutan’s dzongs today the building is part monastery part administrative seat – there are 14 shrines and chapels spread amongst the courtyards and towers to explore.
Partially housed in the old round watch tower of the dzong below, the National Museum sits on a hilltop above the town. The building was built in 1656 and was turned into a museum in 1968. The extensive collection includes thangkas, and festival masks, a natural history gallery and a heritage gallery that features religious statues and stone carvings. After you’ve finished exploring, take a pleasant walk back down the hill, enjoying the views as you go, to the dzong and back into town.
Uma by COMO, Paro, is an intimate resort with an enviable location in the Paro Valley. The nine private villas and 20 luxury rooms combine traditional Bhutanese craftsmanship with clean-lined contemporary design. The resort amenities include a spa with holistic Asian-inspired treatments and award winning cuisine.
Amankora has created a series of lodges in Bhutan, all creatively unique and sympathetically balanced to their environment. At the Paro resort there are six dwellings with four suites each, two on the ground floor and two on the upper floor. The 24 suites are similar in design featuring natural rammed-earth walls, gently sloping roofs and wood-panelled interiors with a king-size bed, a traditional bukhari (wood-burning stove) and a large terrazzo-clad bath.
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The world’s largest and most populous continent, Asia is a vibrant and rambunctious fusion of ethnicities, cultures and customs; an incomparably rich and turbulent history showcased by mindboggling feats of architecture and engineering; a geography that encompasses towering peaks, unfathomable gorges and paradisiacal beaches; and a biodiversity that is so abundant that you’ll be reaching for your wildlife guide.