Paro and Haa Valley


My final destination in Bhutan was Paro. It’s the place where I landed only 10 days earlier and supposedly one of the most beautiful towns in Bhutan. I certainly wasn’t disappointed. Like Punakha, Paro is in the middle of rice fields. Paro itself has only a couple of streets. I’m always impressed by how tiny Bhutanese towns are, but then I am reminded that Bhutan has only a population of 800,000 people. You could visit Paro within a few hours, most places being either hotels, souvenir shops or restaurants. It’s the place where every Bhutan tour starts or ends, so there are perhaps more tourists than locals in Paro.

IMG_3391We first visited Dungtse Lhakhang which is a temple that people literally chained down, because they believe the temple would fly off to heaven otherwise. Of course, we also visited Paro’s dzong. The dzong is on top of a hill and the view from it is very beautiful. Finally, we visited the textile museum right behind it which was built inside of a forteress.

The first night, we stayed in a traditional farm house. The farm house visibly belonged to a wealthy family and was surrounded by rice fields. Again, I was able to take strolls through the rice fields and chat with locals on the way. The farm house also offered visitors to take a bath. They basically heated stones in the fire and then put them in the wooden bathtub. Of course locals say this type of bath is supposed to be very good for you.


IMG_3529On my second day, we ended up going to the Haa valley. I had originally not planned going to the Haa valley, but we had extra time and my driver came from this valley. It was a long way driving there. We stopped on top of the mountain to pay respect to the elders and then continued driving to Haa. Haa was a tiny little town and we ended up visiting my drivers family and having lunch with them. It was clear that Haa was not getting as many tourists. It was a very rural area, with cows on the street and only rudimentary stores. But it was also a fun little detour. I must say that much of Haa valley reminded me of an old Swiss village.

I spent my last two nights in perhaps the most beautiful hotel I have stayed at in Bhutan. The view from the veranda was just sublime. A perfect place to finish my trip.

See more pictures here.