The Tiger’s Nest Monastery, also known as Paro Takstang, is one of Bhutan’s most recognized spots. Even people on the quickest of tours through Bhutan find the time to make it here. Why? Because this place is extraordinary.
The Tiger’s Nest Monastery is a small collection of buildings precariously perched on a cliff, 900 meters off of the ground. It is stunning in its beauty and location.Without a doubt, a first time trip to Bhutan would not be complete without seeing the Tiger’s Nest.
DAY 1: ARRIVE PARO
The flight into Paro provides one of the most stunning views of the mighty Himalayas. As you descend into Paro valley, you will see the Paro Dzong (fortress) on the hillside overlooking the Paro Chu (river), with its watchtower, now the national museum, to its north. We will be there to receive you at the airport and escort you to your hotel.
In the afternoon, you will visit the auspicious Kyichu Lhakhang the 7th century monastery and one of Bhutan’s oldest and most beautiful temples. The temple was built in 659 by King Songtsen Gampo of Tibet, to pin down the left foot of a giant ogress who was thwarting the spread of Buddhism.
In the evening, explore the small town of Paro, which is filled with handicraft and souvenir shops. If you like, you could visit a farmhouse and try out a local meal and get to know locals or soak in a traditional bath heated by stones and sprinkled with herbs while sipping on ara, a grain distilled alcoholic brew.
DAY 2: Hike to tiger’s nest
Today, you embark on the stunning hike to Taktshang monastery. The trial starts in a pine wood forest, about 10 kms north of Paro valley.
From there, it is an uphill climb through trees adorned with Spanish moss, and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags. Stop for a rest and light refreshments at the Taktsang cafeteria. The hike takes about two and half hours at a moderate pace.
This incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900 meters into the valley below. Legend has it that Guru Padmasambhava, the tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan in 746 AD, flew here on the back of a tigress, said to be his consort.
In the afternoon visit the national museum housed in the ancient watchtower locally known as Ta-Dzong. The seven-floor museum highlights various aspects of Bhutanese culture and history. A short walk downhill leads to Rinpung Dzong fortress, which serves as the district centre for civil and monastic administration.
Walk further down and cross the traditional cantilever bridge over the Paro River to enter Paro town. There is an archery range nearby, where you might catch a few enthusiasts shooting at targets 140 yards apart using compound bows or traditional bamboo bows. We can arrange for you try your skill in traditional archery if you like!
DAY 3: Departure
Morning, drive to the Airport, for your onward journey.