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Bhutan is a beautiful Buddhist kingdom on the Himalayas’ eastern edge between China and India, known for its monasteries, fortresses and awesome landscapes.

Listed as one of the Top Travel Destinations in the World, the Paro Valley in Bhutan is definitely worth a visit.

Although the number of tourists to this ‘happy kingdom’ (as it is often called) are carefully monitored not to exceed a specific amount, this almost “hidden valley” do not offer big shopping malls or even fast food restaurants.  In fact you will not even find a traffic light.  But instead what is important to this country is their people’s happiness.  Therefore they have the “gross national happiness” index whereby culture, traditions, family, friends, values and the environment, are all top priorities.  It is not being rich that makes you happy, but being content with everyday life.  I think this is part of why a trip to Bhutan is so special.

Don’t expect a hurried touristy destination where you rush to get everything on your itinerary done.  In stead you have to make time to just take everything in.  That includes the purest air you will breathe in.  In fact 70% of Bhutan’s land is protected forestry and a large part of the country is all about agriculture (especially rice paddies which you will see everywhere).

When to visit

During winter time with the snow up on the high mountains the valley seem quite dry.  In my opinion Spring time (March to May) is the best time to visit this beautiful kingdom, as Jakaranda’s starts to blossom and the valley turns green and comes to life.  This is also when the flowering Rhododendrons starts to bloom.  They even have a Rhododendron Festival in April, which celebrates the flower in its natural habitat.  September to November (autumn) is also a nice time weather wise.  But monsoon season is June to August and winter is snowy and cold.

Natural beauty 

High above, in the Himalayas you’ll find the Jomolhari (a popular hiking destination) as well as the Paro Taktsang Monastery (also known as Tiger’s Nest) situated on the cliffs above Paro valley.  Make no  mistake, it is a very difficult uphill walk to get to Tiger’s Nest, Bhutan’s nr. 1 tourist attraction, but the views are spectacular.  In fact with the mountains being everywhere, I simply love the views this beautiful kingdon over all over.

Bhutan Kingdom

The photos above are of Paro Taktsang Monetary. (Tiger’s Nest)

National Sport and Fun Activity

A favorite amongst the locals are their National Sport, which is Archery.  An age old tradition that was previously practiced  with only bows made from bamboo.  Today there are more varieties being used.  The “Zhu”(a Bhutanese bow) can be a

  • single stave bow made of bamboo (called the Changzhu)
  • a bow made from two pieces of bamboo held together by two iron bands (called the Tapzhu)
  • or the modern compound Bow  (basically made of fiber glass)

Should you have the opportunity to join in some informal local fun, do so.  Even William and Kate joined in some archery fun on their visit to Bhutan.  And in my opinion it is definitely not as easy as it looks.

 

Is Bhutan expensive

More about Paro Valley

Paro valley extends from the confluence of the Paro Chhu and the Wang Chhu rivers at Chuzom up to Mt. Jomolhari at the Tibetan border to the North.

Scenic routes flanked by beautiful rice fields and with the river running down the Paro Valley it is truly a beautiful part of Bhutan:  Peaceful and tranquil.

We highly recommend booking a tour with a well-known travel operator like Viator or select one of the travel packages below.

Traveling to Bhutan you have to work through government-approved tour operators.  You can check on their page for the list:  Tour Operators

Where is the Paro Valley

Things to do

As you’ll hear on the video below, Bhutan has many monasteries:  more than 155 temples and monasteries.

In the Bumthang district you will find many of the country’s oldest temples and monasteries.

Visit the National Museum of Bhutan – a cultural museum in the town of Paro.

You should definitely visit the Capital of Bhutan, Thimphu, (Thimbu):  Just walking through town and seeing the lovely buildings decorated with beautifully painted and carved wood.

Getting There

Paro is home to Bhutan’s International Airport (Dzongkha: སྤ་རོ་གནམ་ཐང༌ paro gnam thang) (PBH).  You might have heard that the landing coming in to Bhutan is one of the most dangerous landings in the world.  Well, judge for yourself:

At first I couldn’t decide what is scarier:  The take off at Kathmandu or the Landing in Bhutan. (You will fly past the beautiful Mount Everest with awesome mountain views.)  In my opinion the landing in Bhutan is actually beautiful.  You’ll be greeted with wonderful scenery and a beautiful airport.

Where to stay

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