Sunday, 24 May 2015

Back to Paro

Your tour guide can make or break your vacation. After traveling independently for so long, I was rather apprehensive about having a guide with us all week. As it is mandatory in Bhutan, we just hoped for the best.

As it turns out, we had nothing to worry about. Phuntshok is a knowledgeable and efficient person who works in tandem with Karma to ensure that our trip went without a hitch.

Over the week, Bhutan was getting increasingly beautiful in our eyes. We were charmed by the well mannered people and enjoyed the company of Phuntshok and Karma who made the long hours on the road fun and interesting. 

 In fact, they had saved the best for last. We were heading back to Paro, the place we landed days ago.
At an elevation of 2,250m, Paro is the entry point for most journeys through the Kingdom as the international airport is located here, in a deep valley on the bank of river Paro Chhu. It is said that the approach to the airport is so unbelievably complicated that only pilots with special training are qualified to land there.

Paro is home to some of the most impressive Dzongs in Bhutan. It's no wonder that Hong Kong A-list stars Tony Leung Chiu-wai and Carina Lau Kar-ling picked Paro as the destination to hold their wedding.

The first Dzong we visited was the imposing Paro Dzong built on the steep hillside. The correct name is Rinchen Pung Dzong which means "Fortress on a  Heap of Jewels".  Some scenes from Bernardo Bertolucci's 1995 film Little Buddha were filmed here.

In Paro, it is impossible to miss the 600-year old iron chain link suspension bridge, festooned with colourful prayer flags.
 It is worth making a stop to experience what it feels like crossing on this flexible bridge.
We were reaching the end of the trip and were thankful to be staying in Paro for 2 nights. Metta Resort & Spa is just like my dream home with the most gorgeous garden. 

The owners, a Malaysian lady and her Bhutanese husband, are super friendly. Knowing how much we miss Chinese food, she came up to us during dinner to announce that they will be serving beef kuey teow (noodle) soup for breakfast the next day. The Chinese dinner was a nice change too, after a week of eating Bhutanese food.