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Paro,  Bhutan - flag Bhutan -  Paro
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In the Kingdom of Bhutan

  32 votes
Page: 1 2

Paro travelogue picture
Years of isolation, limited relationship with neighbors and undeveloped infrastructure determined that Bhutan remains the most mysterious country in Asia. Since few years more and more people would like to visit Himalayan kingdom. Lonely Planet published Bhutan guidebook in their survival series but it does not mean that Bhutan is open for all categories of backpackers. King and his government make great effort to uphold country’s old culture and traditions, they do not want crowds of westerners. Flow of tourists is stemmed by the imposition of high tour fees since you can enter country only in the escorted group. Group can be as small as one person – no problem. And your all-inclusive (but drinks) package tour will cost you around 200 USD per day. No exemptions! Only students and diplomats have 25% discount. It is not possible to travel around the kingdom on your own: if you want to visit Bhutan you need to contact one of the tour agencies in Thimphu, make a choice of program.

Favourite spots:
Paro travelogue picture
Small township of Paro with the only Bhutan’s airport act for most tourists as gateway to the kingdom. Fortunately in the surroundings there are numerous and easy accessible places of interest. So even if you are coming for just one day on your route from Bangkok to Katmandu there is still enough to see. Along the main street you will find probably the best in country complex of traditional architecture: two lines of rich decorated buildings housing small shops, institutions and restaurants. But the most interesting place is Paro Dzong – fortress-monastery overlooking beautiful valley. There are more dzongs sprayed out around kingdom. They were built in 17th century to defend the country, but until today they are also centers of religious and secular power. Tourist are usually allowed to visit only the courtyards of the dzongs. On the slope of mountain above Paro Dzong (long access by narrow but paved road) is the old watchtower called Ta Dzong which is now home to the museum.

What's really great:
Paro travelogue picture
Some 10 km from Paro by road you will see in the distance famous Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) Hermitage on the face of a sheer 1000m cliff. It is the place where Bhutan’s history begins. People of Bhutan believe that Guru Rinpoche – father of Bhutanese Buddhism landed here on the back of tigress. It is possible to climb the mountain. You can cross valley by car to the other edge and then use the pony or just walk uphill. I takes me 40 minutes of heavy walk to reach the tea house (the only shelter on this route) and another 30 minutes to the stupa on the level of the hermitage. Ponies do it in 3 hours. Slippery when wet! Trekking shoes are recommended.

Sights:
List of other picturesque places in Paro includes Dungtse Lhakhang – 15th century temple situated by the new bridge (access by special permit only) and Ugyen Perli Palace – visible through the fence. Members of royal family stop here during their visit to Paro. Close to the palace there is a row of old stupas heading to the picturesque, old bridge. The view of Paro Dzong is best from this place.
See more pictures and maps on my page:
http://www.kontynenty.tpi.pl/5rtw6a.htm<-br />

Accommodations:
Accommodation is always arranged by your agent in Bhutan. I stayed in the beautifuly located on the mountain slopes Olathang Hotel in Paro. They built it in national style. Ornate bungalows have baths and heating. I can recommend reliable travel agent: Tshering Sky Travels - Post Box 1052, Thimphu, Tel +975-2-326994 and 326944, Mobile +975-1760-3836, Fax +975-2-323651
E-mail sky@druknet.bt or skybhutan@yahoo.com

Other recommendations:
Paro travelogue picture
Narrow but still paved 16-km road takes you up the valley to the ruins of Drukyel Dzong. Drukyel – another fortress-monastery was destroyed by fire in 1951. Now it is romantic ruin – still worth a picture. Trekking path starts here – if you are ready to pay 200 USD per day you can walk in 7 days through passes and pristine valleys to the capital - Thimphu. Above the road you will see snowy summit of Mt Jomolhari (7313m) – one of the highest mountains in Bhutan Himalaya.

Published on Sunday October 6th, 2002


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Tue, Feb 12 2008 - 12:47 AM rating by krisek

This one is truly useful, full of practical information! Now, I want to go there!!

Sun, Feb 26 2006 - 04:02 PM rating by ehs1193

You have to pay to go to Bhutan?

Mon, Jan 09 2006 - 01:32 PM rating by frenchfrog

Well done, good informations given, will be useful for my next comming tri in this lovely contry. Do you have more photos?

Sun, Oct 23 2005 - 01:29 PM rating by miguelmarchi

This country is really Shangri la

Sat, Oct 01 2005 - 02:21 PM rating by jesusferro

It is sorprendent! How did you visit this hermetic country?

Sun, Jun 19 2005 - 08:00 AM rating by jorgesanchez

Apart from a good traveler, you are a good journalist!

Fri, Jun 03 2005 - 03:03 PM rating by gloriajames

loved the report! 5*

Thu, Nov 11 2004 - 03:37 PM rating by magsalex

Great report!

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