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Things To Do In Paro
Mountain regions are never short of exciting adventures. There are places to see, things to buy and stories to tell. Bhutan, being the only carbon negative country in the world, holds us spellbound with its fresh mountain breeze that carries along the scent of wild flowers and the sound of the gurgling streams. In Paro, when you have visited the monasteries, the temples and the museums, you can go trekking, kayaking and shopping. If you go to Paro in spring, celebrate the Paro Tschechu with the locals and if you happen to visit in summer, enjoy the water sports and trekking galore. There are so many things to do in Paro that you will need to visit it again!
Trekking is one of the most interesting things you can do while in Paro. There are short sunrise to sunset trips like the trek to Tiger's Nest or those that take days like the Tsaluna, Yaksa and Jomolhari Treks.
The Druk Path Trek from Paro Valley crosses apple orchards, yak camper settlements, mountain rivers, pine and juniper forests, and the ruins of the Jele Dzong Fortress till it reaches Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan.
The Laya- Gasa Trek is considered one of the most beautiful treks in Bhutan. It takes you from Drugyel in Paro through rich alpine meadows, sub-tropical jungles and mountain villages of Laya. You can see Takins, Bhutan’s National animal or Blue Sheep before you arrive at Tashithang.
Snowman’s Trek: The most difficult and challenging trek in the world is the 27-30 day Snowman’s Trek from Paro to Bumthang. The trek crosses over 10 Himalayan mountain passes, some as high as 5000 m. The Snowman’s Trek is certainly not for the feeble hearted.
Kayaking and Rafting
Kayaking or rafting through the gushing rapids of the Paro Chuu is such a beautiful experience. The Paro Chuu begins at Mt. Jomolhari and flows through the mountain gorges before it enters Paro valley, flows through the city of Paro and meanders off to join Thimphu, where it’s called Thimphu Chuu. The mighty mountain river makes kayaking a great adventure sport. There are easy or hard courses you can choose, if you want to go kayaking. While kayaking down the rapids, you’ll get the opportunity to sail past more tourist places that are inaccessible by road. Check out the wooden bridge over the National Museum.
A variety of freshwater fishes like the Trout live in the Paru Chuu River. You will have fun trekking on foot by the banks of the river, walking past flourishing rice fields, apple and peach orchards on the way.
Paro Tschechu is one of the most popular festivals of Bhutan. It’s a spring time festival that honours Guru Rinpoche. The highlight of the festival is the unfurling of the Thongdroel, a huge sacred picture scroll that is hung over the face of the building. The Thongdroel is displayed only for a few hours in the early morning of the final day of festivities, in the full moon day of the second lunar month. From all parts of Bhutan people throng to the Paro Dzong, to see and touch the Thongdroel, which is believed to give them liberation from sins. In the courtyard of the Paro Dzong, vibrantly dressed masked dancers perform the Tshengye dance along with an array of dances using hand bells, drums and swords. The King and Queen of Bhutan attend the festivities on the final day.
There are Atsaras or jesters, who wear a red mask with a huge nose to entertain the people with their clownish antics.
Most of Paro’s restaurants serve Bhutanese, Indian, Continental, Italian and Asian food. You will find good restaurants around Paro’s main marketplace. Some of the restaurants you can try include Taste of Bhutan, Sonam Trophel Restaurant and Hotel Peljorling.
Most of Paro’s native cuisine includes a lot of chillies and cheese, as does the cuisine of whole of Bhutan. There are not many restaurants in Paro, but you get the chance to taste their buckwheat pancakes, momos and noodles. Try the vegetarian food Ema Datshi with chilli and cheese or Asparagus Datshi i.e asparagus with cheese and Jasha Maru, a spicy dish with chicken.