Paro houses Bhutan’s only international airport and thus it is most likely that you will first touch Bhutan soil, in Paro. The purity of the air, the absence of noise, the serene pace of life, the melody of the clean mountain streams and the magnificence of Mount Chamolhari are a few things that will seduce you to fall in love with Paro. No country in the world has a better fly in. Paro is at a distance of 55 kilometres from Thimpu.
Bhutan is the land of Dzongs (fortress), and the Paro Dzong or Rinpung Dzong built in the 16th century is the first Dzong you will see on arrival by Druk Air into Bhutan. Rinpung Dzong translates into the ‘fortress that sits on a heap of jewels’. This imposing Dzong located above the Paro River is a fine example of Bhutanese architecture with a beautifully roofed cantilever bridge leading to it. This Dzong is the administrative seat of Paro district and also houses the state monastic community.
Above the Paro Dzong is located the main attraction of Paro, the National Museum. It is housed in what was once the watch tower of the Paro Dzong and is called the Ta Dzong. The tower dates back to 1651 and it was here the first king of Bhutan Ugyen Wangchuk was imprisoned, back in 1872. Today, it is Bhutan’s only archive and contains works of art, handcrafted objects, armour, stamps, masks, silver work and an amazing collection of Bhutan’s famous fauna. A fragment of the moon’s surface got by Neil Armstrong in 1969 has also found its way into this amazing museum of Bhutanese culture!!
A few kilometres from Paro, perched 800 meters above Paro Valley lies one of the most revered pilgrim sites of the Himalayan world called the Taktsang Pelphug. It is more well known as the ‘Tiger’s Lair’ in the tourist circle. The genesis of the name goes back to eighth century, when Guru Rinpoche came flying here on a Tiger’s back. Guru Rinpoche is credited with having converted Paro valley to Budhhism. The monastery virtually hangs from the cliff at an altitude of 3060 meters and the image of the monastery is the symbol of Bhutan for many travel guide books.