The list of things to do in Paro will leave you with a whole new set of life experiences. Of course, you can visit the area’s biggest sights and monuments — Rinpung Dzong, the National Museum, trek up to the Tiger’s Nest monastery or even the town temple, Druk Choeding. But there are also many things to do in Paro that take you off the beaten path.
You could visit the quaint ruins of the Drukgyal Dzong, or the “fortress of victory”, said to be built after the defeat of a Tibetan army, in 1649. While a fire in 1951 has left the Dzong in remains, it is still steeped in history and makes for a great day out in Paro, visiting this relic of an ancient era. Another thing you could do is spend a day checking out the traditional village homes of Paro. This is local culture at its finest — all-natural homes built with traditional methods, and not a single nail! Every detail and element will show you a layer of Bhutanese culture. Some of them, like the renowned Tshering Farm House, even offer delicious meals and hot stone baths as part of the authentic rural experience.
Another one of the things to do in Paro is visit the Airport View Point, the ideal vantage point to witness the surreal landings and take offs from the tricky runway of Paro International Airport. This is one of those things you do just to relax and soak in your surroundings. Or else, you could take the two-hour drive up to the Chele La Pass, Bhutan’s highest motorable road, and a stunning location high in the clouds, surrounded by colourful prayer flags swaying with the wind.
If you’re looking to do some shopping in Paro, then be sure to visit the many handicraft stores spread across town. Some of the well-known ones include Made in Bhutan, Chencho Handicrafts and the Handicrafts Emporium. You’ll find an eclectic mix of souvenirs, everything from wooden crafts, weaves and embroidered pieces, local jewellery laden with traditional symbols, or even rare and unusual stamps! It all depends on what you wish to take away from shopping in Paro. You can even visit the Sunday Market for some more shopping in Paro — a traditional set up where you’ll chance upon everything from native ingredients like yak cheese to mementos like a prayer wheel, flags, incense and local dresses.
If you want some other interesting things to do in Paro, give the local brewery a try. Known as the Namgay Artisanal Brewery, it serves a host of local and new crafts that are sure to delight your taste buds. Make your way there after a short trek or a day of sightseeing. How refreshing!
Paro is Bhutan’s top tourist destination, but with so much to see and do, is that really a surprise? Plan your own trip to this little jewel with one of SOTC’s Bhutan packages and be prepared to be overawed by the natural beauty of Paro.