With tourists flocking to Tiger’s Nest and Rinpung Dzong, Paro is a small town but offers lovely options to see, eat, stay, and shop. We show you how!
With 15,000 people living in Paro, the touristic valley is growing with more travelers visiting every year. Paro is located in the west part of Bhutan, approximately 45 minutes (by car) from Thimphu. Beautiful loding, rising restaurants and shops can be discovered surrounding two major attractions: Tiger’s Nest and Rinpung Dzong. If you’re in Bhutan for eight days, one night in Paro is enough for both landmarks. But if your Bhutan trip is ten or fourteen days, then you might consider staying in Paro for several nights.
Everything is quite spread out throughout Paro valley. To get around Paro, a driver is highly recommended (please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a driver recommendation). If not, taxis are also available near the downtown area.
*Please note: Not every place listed has a website or can be indicated by interactive maps. But they’re all known by locals and drivers.
SEE: Tiger’s Nest
Tiger’s Nest, full name: Taktsang Palphug Monastery (or Paro Taktsang), is THE reason why travelers come to Bhutan. Besides its legend as a place meant to tame a tiger demon, the geography of the temple is awe-inspiring, particularly during moments of clouds hovering over the monastery that hangs on a precipitous cliff at 10,240 feet. With rock slopes fearfully steep, the monastery is built into the rock face that appears as a face of an actual tiger. Tiger’s Nest continues to inspire travelers, due to its unique geography and its legendary, religious tales.
The hike up to Tiger’s Nest can be strenuous so it’s divided into two sections. The first part requires approximately an hour and can be done via horseback riding or hiking on foot. Upon reaching a tea house is also the start of the second part of the hike, which can only be achieved on foot and requires another hour. Take your time, be careful hiking up and down as there are small and narrow stairs.
SEE: Rinpung Dzong
Rinpung = heaps of jewels. This is the main dzong in Paro. With fourteen chapels and shrines, travelers can discover the ways local government and Buddhist mantras work together as one inside the dzong. Included here are: monks assembly hall, protector’s shrine, apartments of the abbot, chapel of the head lama…etc. The dzong was first founded during the 15th century, and built by lama Drung Drung Gyal.
EAT: Phuensum Gakhil Restaurant
$$$$ Near Children Park, Main Town, Paro, Bhutan
We loved this joint for the cozy atmosphere and its lovely staff. The crowd is a mixture of locals and travelers, but the menu offers plenty of traditional Bhutanese dishes. From all sorts of tasty marinated meats to fresh vegetables. Make sure to enjoy your meal with local beers, then you’ve got a heavenly combination after a lovely day!
EAT: Yue-Ling Restaurant
$$$$ Main street, Paro, Bhutan (map)
Although many guides and drivers will bring small groups to this restaurant, but Yue-Ling is a delicious place to reenergize either during lunch break or dinnertime. Vegetables, red chili and meat dishes are very nicely done. Looking for clean, flavorful Bhutanese cuisine? Yue-Ling is a delightful choice.
Celebrities, governmental officials often visit Bukhari for a contemporary, stylish dining experience near mystic Tiger’s Nest. Lunch dishes lean toward international comfort foods, while dinners are gastronomic. A rare fine-dining treat in the Paro Valley! Menus are based on seasonal, local produce sourced by Executive Chef Dewa Wijaya, who delivers both Bhutanese and international dishes with strong flavors and serious finesse.
Voted by many publications as one of the world’s best hotels, Uma by COMO is an intimate, 29-room resort that includes private villas right next to Tiger’s Nest. The view of the hotel is out of this world! The style combines local artisanship with COMO’s contemporary style, while activities range from yoga to Himalayan camping adventures. Its Bukhari restaurant is a royal favorite.
Want to stay at a place where Bhutanese king used to call home? Gangtey Palace has 19 spacious rooms, an Indian restaurant and bar with an incredible view of Paro Valley. If you don’t want to break the bank on lodging but still want to go the luxury route, this is not exactly cheap but it’s also worth it for the historical aspect of the establishment.
Nak-Sel Boutique Hotel offers a peace of mind experience, as it is located away from the city but further into the forest. The rooms are comfortable, with a gorgeous view of Paro Valley. The staff is friendly, but how can they not be when a serene stream is running through the middle of the hotel.
SHOP: Made in Bhutan
This is THE place to go for a last-minute shopping spree. You’ll find something for everyone as it carries everything from: souvenirs, postcards, jewelries, textiles, books, antiques, masks, armory…etc. So no more excuses to leave anyone off your gift list, you’ll absolutely find something at Made in Bhutan for you and for your loved ones!