Paro – Amazing Bhutan

Paro, one of the most religious towns of Bhutan is also a trekkers paradise. It is home to the celebrated Taktsang Monastery also knows as Tiger’s Nest. The monastery was built in 1692 by Guru Padmasambhava which is 10,000 feet above the sea level and my sole purpose of the visit to this town was to trek to the monastery. It took me 3.5 hours to trek up and 1.5 hours to trek down.

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How to reach Paro

From Phuntsholling I hired a shared cab to Paro. There are buses also running to Paro from Phuntsholling. However they have particular timing for the buses and I had missed the time frame hence the cab.

Where I stayed in Paro

I had stayed in Ama’s Village Lodge. This beautiful place is 5 mins away from Paro taxi stand and 15 mins away from the Taktsang Monastery base hill. They own a cute cozy cafe and serve some amazing Bhutanese food. They use all organic produces by the local farmers. The owner Ama and the staffs who work there are hospitable and helpful.

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Early morning view from the homestay

 

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Suja (butter tea) with the view from the homestay

Taktsang Monastery aka Tiger’s Nest

At the base of the hill I bought the pass for the Monastery and rented a hiking stick as well. There is a small market put up at the base with all the handicraft materials.  I started the trek at 9:19 AM. There are options for pony rides till half way through the hill and rest of the path needs to be trekked on foot. I decided to trek the entire track on foot and it was a difficult trek. I took a lot of breaks in between. There are a lot of resting places for the pilgrims and tourists. My favourite part was the view on the way to the monastery. The trek is beyond beautiful with the waterfall breaking the silence. This large waterfall drops 200 feet into the sacred pool and is crossed over by a bridge. The track to the monastery passes through the beautiful pine tree forest with garland of moss and colourful prayer flags.

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Pine Forest in Tiger’s Nest

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The colourful moss and the bird

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The scenic view that passes through the trek

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Taktsang Moanstery or Tiger’s Nest

 

Brownie Points

  1. There is a cafe called Taktsang cafe for refreshments on the way to the Monastery.
  2. There will be a point where one may want to quit. Don’t give up, take breaks, take your time and move forward.
  3. Carry dark chocolates to deal with mountain sickness and low in energy. Also carry some snacks in case the cafe is closed as was in my case while I trekking down,
  4. Make sure to trek down the hill before dusk. There’s a possibility of getting lost.
  5. Carry water bottles.
  6. While trekking it gets warmer but up in the Monastery it’s really cold. Please carry warm clothes.
  7. Maintain cleanliness and sanctity of the place.
  8. There is a dress code, if not formal, please dress appropriately. Scarves, caps, stoles etc to cover head is not allowed.
  9. Photography inside the Monastery is not allowed.
  10. There are lockers to keep our belongings including cameras and phones right below the Monastery.
  11. The home stay accepts Gpay. Hence instead of paying cash try as much to use Gpay or online banking because there are a lot of places in Bhutan where only cash is accepted. As I wanted to save the hard cash I transferred the cab money to the home stay owner and asked her to pay in cash to the driver.
  12. The home stay will arrange cabs to the Tiger’s Nest.

Quick Budget Per Person

Shared taxi to Paro from Phuntsholling = Rs 750
Stay for two nights = Rs 2000
Food for two days = Rs 700
Cab <-> Taktsang Monastery = Rs 700 (Pick up and drop)
Hiking stick = Rs 50 (Non- refundable)
Pass to the Taktsang Monastery = Rs 500

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