1. The Tiger’s Nest (Taktshang).
A 10 km drive from Paro is the famous Tiger’s Nest Hermitage on the face of a sheer 3,120m-tall cliff. The Tiger’s Nest or Taktsang Monastery is without a doubt the most visited and the most photographed of all the monuments in Bhutan. Nestled above a beautiful forest of blue pine and rhododendrons, overlooking the Paro valley, the monastery is of tremendous religious significance to the Bhutanese. Legend has it that Guru Rinpoche flew to this site on the back of a tigress to subdue a local demon and it was here that Buddhism took roots in Bhutan. The monastery was built in 1692 to honor and worship the Guru. The hike up to the Tiger’s Nest is give-or-take a two-hour ascent and, the view from the top, is well worth the climb.
2. Kila Goemba:
Kila Nunnery is among the most reputed and oldest nunneries in Bhutan. It was established as a meditation site in the 9th century. Located on the Paro-Haa Highway, the nunnery can be reached via a farm road. At present, there are around 50 nuns pursuing their Buddhist studies there. The striking feature of the goemba is the series of nunneries that are built intricately against the cliffs. The nunnery can also be reached from Chelela pass, traversing through chortens, prayer flags and a scenic stretch of flora and fauna. The hike takes approximately one hour.
3. Dzongdrakha Monastery:
Dzongdrakha Goempa is often called the mini Taktsang monastery as it is built on a cliff face in the village of Bondey in Paro. As such, Dzongdrakha literally translates into the ‘Temple on a cliff’. To get there, it takes about 20 minutes by car from Paro town. Located at an altitude of 2227 meters, the temple was built in the 16th century. It is one of the many places m Guru Rinpoche meditated in.
4. Bumdra Monastery hike:
This hike is an overnight trek that is highly recommended. It provides a great view of the Paro valley. Hikers can soak in the gorgeous sunsets over the mountains of Haa. It also provides for an interesting cliff-face pilgrimage site, and one can look at all the chapels above Taktshang Goemba, not to forget the spectacular view it offers of the Tiger’s Nest Monastery. For the adventurous, the trail can also double as an excursion to a sky burial site.
The camping accommodation at Bumdrak is the most luxurious in Bhutan. To get to the camping site is an uphill battle on the first day. The second day, however, you’ll be going downhill. Please note that this trek requires one to be in decent shape to enjoy it.