Paro is a valley town in Bhutan, west of the capital, Thimphu. It is the site of the country’s only international airport and is also known for the many sacred sites in the area. North of town, the Taktsang Palphug (Tiger’s Nest) monastery clings to cliffs above the forested Paro Valley. Northwest of here are the remains of a defensive fortress, Drukgyel Dzong, dating from the 17th century.

Closer to town, Rinpung Dzong, another imposing fortress, is reached via a covered bridge across the Paro Chhu River. A former watchtower nearby houses the National Museum of Bhutan. On display are traditional clothing and jewelry, armor and Buddhist paintings. Set amid woodlands, Ugyen Pelri Palace is a royal residence and a good example of Bhutanese architecture. The 3-story Dungtse Lhakhang, a distinctively shaped temple with a tower, features religious murals. Southwest of Paro, Chele La Pass, with views of the surrounding peaks, is the highest point on a mountain road that winds through thick forests, ending in the Haa Valley.

Best time to Visit

The Paro Valley has a mild climate, with warm summers (Jun–Aug) and dry, cool winters (Nov–Feb). Popular times to visit are Apr–Jun, late summer (Aug) and mid-fall (Oct). Elaborate dances mark the Paro Tshechu religious festival (spring, dates vary), which also features a huge Buddhist painting presented by monks. Monsoon season runs Jun–Sep.