After breakfast, optional hike up to the iconic Taktshang Monastery (Tiger's Nest), which is a strenuous 2 - 2.5 hour walk uphill (you can ride a donkey up to the halfway point). Spend up to an hour visiting the monastery, then walk back down. This visit is definitely recommended if you have not visited before. After lunch watch an archery demonstration, the national sport of Bhutan. Overnight in Paro.
Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner
Paro is the second largest town in Bhutan although small in size and population. Its main street is lined with buildings richly decorated in traditional architecture that house a scattering of shops and restaurants. Paro is an ideal base for exploring the surrounding attractions, such as Taktsang Monastery (Tiger's Nest). After Bumthang, the valley is amongst the most beautiful in Bhutan. Altitude: 2,280m.
Also known as the Tiger’s Nest, the Taktshang Monastery is perhaps the most famous of Bhutan’s monasteries and is perched precariously on the side of a cliff, 900m above the Paro Valley. It is said that Guru Rinpoche, the founder of Tibetan Buddhism and the Buddha of our time, came here on the back of a tigress to meditate, hence the name. This site has been recognised as a most sacred place and was even visited by the Tibetan Buddhist Lama, Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, in 1646. All Bhutanese people visit this monastery at least once in their lifetime. On 19 April 1998, a fire severely damaged the main structure of building, but it has now been restored to its original splendour.
The hike to the monastery is a 2-2.5 hour strenuous walk uphill. This can be broken down into three stages and a donkey can be used to ride up to two-thirds of the way. The first stage is trekking to the rocky outcrop across a ravine from the monastery, which takes approximately 45 to 60 minutes. Lunch will be served here later today. The second stage is walking from the cafeteria to the lookout opposite the monastery, which takes close to one hour. The third stage is climbing down 475 steps in the cliff face to the bottom of the ravine, crossing over a stream and waterfall and climbing up another 300 steps to the entrance of the monastery. You will spend up to an hour here and view the cave where Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal meditated.
Cameras are not allowed inside the monastery.