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The beautiful alpine valley of Paro, located in western Bhutan, is the gateway to the last Himalayan kingdom. Encapsulating a rich culture, scenic beauty and hundreds of myths and legends, Paro is home to over 155 temples and monasteries, some are the oldest in Bhutan and dating as far back as the 14th century, the country’s only international airport and the National Museum.

Paro is situated on the banks of the Paro Chhu river, which gently carves its way through the wide valley, creating beautiful vistas and fertile rice fields. This valley is one of the Kingdom's most fertile, producing the bulk of Bhutan's famous red rice from its terraced fields.

The charming town itself is fairly simple, with one main street (only built in 1985), dotted with delightful wooden shops and local restaurants, from excellent home-style Bhutanese cooking adapted to foreign tastes to more sophisticated options. The imposing Paro Dzong is one of the highlights of visiting Paro, built in 1644 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. This massive structure is the epitome of Bhutanese architecture and is visible throughout the valley. Just beyond and perched above the dzong is the old watchtower, built in 1649 to protect the fortress, and renovated in 1968 to house the National Museum. Housing hundreds of ancient Bhutanese artefacts and artwork including traditional costumes, armour and weaponry, the collection provides a perfect snap-shot of the rich cultural traditions of the country. Paro is one of the best and easiest towns in Bhutan to explore on foot, so we always recommend leaving an hour or two to explore.

Mount Jomolhari, at a height of 7,300 metres, reigns in white glory at the northern end of the valley (whilst the town lies at 2,200 metres) and its glacial waters plunge through deep gorges into the Paro river below. The Paro valley is also home to one of Bhutan’s most iconic landmarks, Taktsang Monastery, often referred to as the Tiger’s Nest. This awe-inspiring temple was constructed upon a sheer cliff face, 900 metres above the valley floor and floating above forests of oak and rhododendrons. Whilst a visit involves a bit of uphill legwork, it's well worth the effort!

>> See our gallery: Bhutan Research Trip

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The traveller sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see.
G. K. Chesterton

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We had a wonderful holiday - everything was perfect. Thank you for helping us to make a thoughtful plan to enjoy and make most out of our trip. The places we visited, the guides, the transportation and driver, the hotels selected... Everything was great!
- Jaime Benitez, South India
I had a very lovely time and was looked after splendidly. My first visit to India could not have been better, save for being longer! But I shall return at some point and I shall look to you to make the arrangements.
- Matthew Nicklin, North India
Difficult to articulate just how good the service from you and your team really was. We know you will continue to do well and hope we have the chance to seek your assistance again before long.
- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India
Ampersand’s preparation, attention to detail and interaction before and during our trip show exactly why good travel agents have a role in today’s internet booking age. They were a delight to deal with!
- Mr David Wallace, North India
I would recommend Ampersand without any hesitation!!! The best travel agent that I’ve ever had. Everything – from the individual care and attention in planning the trip, through to the efficiency of the agents on the ground in India – was handled brilliantly. An absolutely first-class service all round!
- Matthew Annable, Rajasthan, India
I thought the Ampersand team was outstanding. We couldn’t have hoped for anything more.
- Mr Geoffrey Johnson, India
Everything you did for us whilst we were away was hugely appreciated, and Ampersand has been exemplary in every way. I'll always recommend you!
- Mr Richard Stoughton, Sri Lanka
Without question, you put together the best trip I have ever taken. We were shown around like visiting dignitaries, the hotels were fantastic and the itinerary was just right. Everybody I know will hear about how amazing Ampersand is!
- Leslie Siben, India
Ampersand provided a bespoke and flexible holiday, tailored to my every whim. Their highly professional staff had only one goal which was to arrange an exceptional holiday and some unforgettable experiences in India. I have no hesitation in fully recommending them and they will be the first company I approach in the future - 10/10
- Anonymous, India
So many highlights to choose from! The hotels were amazing but Maya Villa was a highlight… I loved just hanging out in the hammock reading my book and watching the peacocks chase the cows!
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