Paro was a historical province, often referred to as the last kingdom in the Himalayas among the nine historical provinces of Bhutan. The old province was similar to the present day town limits, occupying the western lands of Bhutan. The Paro Dzong houses the administrative headquarters of the Paro Province.
The present day Paro is a picturesque valley town in the heart of Bhutan, situated on the banks of the river Paro Chhu. It extends from the Paro Chhu and the Wang Chhu, up till Mt. Jomolhari near the Tibetan border in the north. The town is surrounded by precious mountain valley views of untouched natural habitat. The city town isn’t a very old one; the main strip was built in 1985. With the passing years, the painted wooden cafes, restaurants, shops, and other establishments in Paro have begun to come under the shadow of mass concretisation. However, the charm of the city is still intact. The town is flanked by the Paro Dzong on the north-west, while the popularly known as the Tiger’s Nest lies nearby. Incidentally, Paro is the only Bhutanese town to have an international airport.
How to reach Paro
By Air – The main airport in Paro is the Paro International Airport. National carriers and other airlines operate flights to Paro from New Delhi, Kolkata, Kathmandu, Bangkok, etc. If you’re flying from other countries, it is advisable to first take a flight to one of the abovementioned cities and then a connecting flight to Paro.
By Train – One can reach Paro by train from West Bengal, India. Trains run from Kolkata to Paro.
By Road – One can drive to Paro via the international borders from India, but an international driving permit costing INR 400 is required, along with all the relevant documents of the car and the driver’s license. A valid visa is required for everyone entering Bhutan. Paro is a 32-hour drive from India’s capital Delhi. Buses also ply from the border at Phuntsholing.
What to do in Paro
Paro is the poster child of Himalayan aesthetics, with mountains, cliff-clinging monasteries, and sturdy fortresses, and it is a beautiful amalgamation of traditional Bhutanese and modern cultural habits. The area itself houses many sacred and historical sites, left to explore either by foot or the easily available taxis in the main town area. Exploring Paro Valley is considered one of the most exhilarating experiences in Bhutan, what with its lush green surroundings and uphill hikes. Paro is the part of Bhutan that is tailor-made for the nature lover looking to explore and relax in peace and quiet.
However, the main bazaar, the hub of tourist attractions, is an image of chaos, concrete, and activity. The “golden triangle” of Bhutanese tourist destinations is formed by Paro, Jakar, and Punakha.
Be it hiking or drinking and making merry at a café, Paro has something for every kind of traveller, and here are the top things to explore in Paro:
Taktsang Palphug Monastery
Taktshang Goemba (Tiger’s Nest)
Chele La Pass
Tachogang Lhakhang Bridge
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche Memorial House
Jangtsa Dumtseg Lhakhang
Ugyen Pema Woedling Zangthopelri
Major Airports in and near Paro
One among the four airports in the Kingdom of Bhutan, the Paro International Airport is the sole international airport in the country. Situated at an elevation of 2,235 m, and surrounded by peaks at an elevation of 5,500 m, the Paro International Airport is one of the most challenging airports in the world to fly in and out of. The national carriers, Drukair and Bhutan Airlines, fly daily to Paro. All international flights to Paro land here. One can get flights to Paro from cities like Kolkata, New Delhi, Kathmandu, and Bangkok.
MakeMyTrip offers a wide range of flights to Paro. One can easily use the website to book a flight to Paro or from Paro, with the major airport being a hub for domestic and international airlines. MakeMyTrip flights to Paro can be availed at highly discounted rates during festivals and off seasons.