Here’s some of what the Lonely Planet website has to say about Western Bhutan and Paro:
“Whether you arrive by air at the dramatic, mountain-bound Paro valley or by road at steamy Phuentsholing, it soon becomes clear that you have arrived at a special destination. Prayer flags flutter from nearly every rooftop, men and women dress in traditional garb, chorten (stone Buddhist monument, often containing relics)s and stupas decorate river and road junctions, and fortress-like monasteries command the mountain tops.
The west is the region of Bhutan that most tourists see and for good reason. It's the heartland of the Drukpa people and is home to the major airport, the capital, the most popular festivals and the most spectacular dzongs (fort-monastery) in the kingdom. Throw in the trekking, the scope to get off the beaten track and the minimal driving times, and the appeal is obvious. Whether it's the beginning of your trip or the only part of Bhutan that you will explore, the west is a spectacular introduction to this magical country.”
The charming town of Paro lies on the banks of the Paro (or Pa) Chhu, just a short distance northwest of the imposing Paro Dzong (and the airport). The main street, only built in 1985, is lined with colourfully painted wooden shop fronts and restaurants, though these appear under threat as the town grows and multistorey concrete buildings continue to propagate. For now Paro remains one of the best Bhutanese towns to explore on foot and is worth an hour or two's stroll at the end of a day of sightseeing.”
KAPOORS ON THE ROAD
The descent to the airport in Paro was both short and dramatic. And so was the runway! I peeked out the window of the plane and was delighted to see that the modern airport terminal was housed constructed using traditional architectural styling.
After posing for some photos beside the Drukair plane, and admiring the massive billboard with a tender photo of Bhutan’s king and queen, we entered the terminal and passed swiftly through immigration. Our guide was waiting outside for us, dressed in the traditional clothes that Bhutanese men wear. We would later learn a great deal more about why and how the traditional robes are worn.
We loaded our luggage into a comfortable SUV and sped off through Paro and on to the capital Thimpu, a mere 50km away. As our flight to Bhutan had been changed from early morning to early afternoon, there wasn’t any time to do any sightseeing in Paro at the start of our weeklong tour. Depending on how things went, we were told we might be able to see more before our flight back to Delhi.