Looking for single day trips and nearby tourist attractions within the city areas of Paro and Thimphu?
One of the most popular places to visit in Bhutan is the Paro Takstang, otherwise known as the Tiger’s Nest monastery. Sitting 3,120 meters above sea level in the Himalayan mountain range, this sacred Buddhist temple was built around the caves and mountainside in 1692 and has remained well known as a cultural icon and one of the most popular tourist attractions in Bhutan. The story of the creation of the monastery centers around Padmasambhava, the legendary enlightened Buddhist master whom is known in Buddhism to have flown on a tiger to the holy site that determined one of the famous Buddhist temples. Due to a fire that occurred in 1998 to the Tiger’s Nest temple, some of the inside walls remain charred and many valuable artifacts, statues, and paintings went missing, however the historical site remains a common places to visit in Bhutan and the Paro Valley area thanks to the multimillion dollar restoration work undertaken by the Kingdom of Bhutan and the Bhutan royal family. Amongst the limited several thousand tourists allowed to travel annually throughout Bhutan, the lower quantity comparatively to other international tourist attractions, makes the high quality of tourism unparallel, with the Tiger’s Nest among the top must see historical sites. The following excerpt is what you can expect from an average trip through the mountain hiking trail to reach the Tiger’s Nest tourist attraction in Bhutan.
“When I take people there to Tiger’s Nest, a sacred Buddhist monastery, I take them to do some shorter hikes first so that they can get acclimated to altitude change easier, and that is the most important aspect to get used to before the trek. The fastest I have ever done the hike up was in 46 minutes, but a normal hike with a group of tourists to the temple would take around 2-3 hours one way to go up and maybe another hour down, and there are also local tour guides from Bhutan that you can pay to take you up by horse or donkey. With so much traffic from the local people of Bhutan during certain religious celebrations, the trail can be very crowded and not always well maintained. There is a teahouse about halfway up the trail where you can stop for tea and lunch, and that is where you can then see the Tiger’s Nest in the mountains, aside from where you begin the trailhead in the parking lot. The last 20 minutes there are no way for the horses to take you to the monastery so you have to walk the trail, and that is where the viewpoint of the Tiger’s Nest is clear and nice, you still have to go a ways up and down the trail. The temple is very pretty from the outside, and on the inside there are many intricate paintings on the walls…however you cannot take photos of the inside and must leave your belongings behind with the police guard. You can see the charred walls and evidence within the temple that occurred from a fire that occurred in the late 90s… I would say that if you only had one or two days to make a trip through Bhutan, the Tiger’s Nest is one of the top places to visit in Bhutan and definitely a highlight.”
–Thomas Kokta is an experienced world traveler and has accomplished the adventure to Tiger’s Nest over a dozen times, throughout a total of nine different visits to the Kingdom of Bhutan