Happiness is a place, and it’s called Bhutan. Bhutan, the only country in the world that measures it’s ‘Gross National Happiness’ rather than its ‘Gross Domestic Product’, is justly a gem and homeland of the spiritually enlightened. The striking landscapes, peaceful attitudes and awe-inspiring traditions make Bhutan one of the best locations in the world to feed the soul. Bhutan stands by their national slogan that “Happiness is a place” and the national government of Bhutan has created many important restrictions intended to preserve their culture, traditions and way of life.
Paro is considered the “gateway” of Bhutan. The Paro International airport is where travelers fly into when entering this majestic country. It is located in the south west region of Bhutan. In keeping with traditional Bhutanese western villages Paro is built in the Paro Valley, distinct from eastern villages that are built into the hillsides. The Paro Valley provides visitors with peaceful views of rolling green hills and pristine rivers. The Paro Valley is considered one of the most beautiful valleys in all of Bhutan. Paro was one of the first destinations that foreigners were allowed to visit to when the country opened its borders in the 1970’s. Since it is frequented by foreign travelers there are many modern amenities available in this beautiful city.
Paro offers spectacular sites to visit. The Taktsang or “Tigers Nest” Monastery is perched alongside a sheer 1,200 meter cliff face and is widely visible throughout the valley. Visitors can hike to the Monastery; however the journey can be quite strenuous and take up to four hours on foot. Horses are available for those that want to trek to the Monastery and do not wish to travel by foot.
The old Watch Tower in the Paro Valley has been turned into a fantastic National History Museum full of ancient Bhutanese artifacts that really portray the rich culture and history of the Bhutanese Kingdom. Throughout the valley it is common to cross over the traditional cantilevered bridges, which are an intriguing and architecturally stimulating site to behold.
The accommodations available in Paro are some of the best in the country. There are many luxury resorts providing ever expanding spa treatments and breathtaking panoramic views of unspoiled valley wilderness. Guests are able to enjoy the richness and splendor that nature has to offer without foregoing the comforts that a contemporary retreat provides.