We were on the last leg of our Bhutan trip, to the city of Paro. We got an early start because we wanted to catch the Dochula Pass again if the skies were clear. This meant that we could see the eastern Himalayan ranges. But unfortunately we got caught in the middle of some massive clouds. And when we stopped to take a break, our van windows fogged up and our breath could be traced, meaning that when we exhaled, we could see it happening. Disappointed, we continued our sojourn from Punakha to Paro. It was the longest time that we had spent in the van without stopping anywhere. When we reached Paro, I was surprised by how different Paro was compared to Thimphu and Punakha. This was seen not only by the condition of the buildings, the roads also were slight worse for wear. But one of the most amazing sights that I have ever seen is the scenery and background of Paro. It is essentially a valley so the mountains are surrounding the town. But to actually be in the middle of some of the youngest mountains in the world and actually be able to see snow-capped peaks while standing near some fields, is truly amazing! But unfortunately Paro doesn’t have much to see.
We first went to see the Ta Dzong Museum which had two buildings dedicated to Bhutan and its culture, tradition, geography and history. But one building was severely affected by the 2011 earthquake. The Ta Dzong was originally a watch tower, which is also the meaning of the name, for the fortress that overlooks the town of Paro, Rinpung Dzong. The Rinpung Dzong is a very famous fortress dedicated to protecting the town of Paro. It was also instrumental in preventing the marauding Tibetans from invading Paro in the past.
Our next stops were 3 temples, Druk Choeding; Dumtse Lhakhang and Kitchu Lhakhang. Dumtse Lhakhang is a temple with 3 floors, the bottom most representing hell, the middle representing earth and the top most representing heaven. It is a one of a kind temple and the experience visiting the temple is something else all together because there are no lights and the stairs to reach each floor is very steep. Kitchu Lhakhang is a special temple because it was part of the 108 temples built by an enterprising king from Tibet who built these 108 temples all across the Himalayan countries.
We finally reached our last hotel, the Metta Resort and Spa which is by far the most amazing and cutest hotel that we have stayed in Bhutan. Set far away from Paro city, it has the view of the mountains. The spa also offers hot stone massages and full body oil massages for an after hike treatment. And the dinner, well that will be discusses tomorrow.
The only item on the agenda for tomorrow is a looooong trek to Taktsang Monastery also known as Tiger’s Nest. Details will be revealed in painful length tomorrow!!