Craving a break from the routine and stress of the big city life? Dreaming of a timeless land, somewhere with people, who are warm and friendly, with a fascinating culture and plenty of activities for a good time with the family? Well, you will find this and more in Paro, our own neighbour in Bhutan, that truly delivers a wonderful holiday experience. How I wish I had known about this gem much before, but it’s never too late as they say.
Just five minutes from the airport, Le Meridien, Paro Riverfront, accorded me a warm welcome. From my entrance into the foyer, filled with local craftsmanship, I loved it. The Latitude lounge in the lobby with river and valley views from its panoramic windows grabbed my attention and beckoned me to stop by for a coffee before I headed up to my room. My Grand Deluxe room was beautiful, warm and personal, with uninterrupted views of the river and the valley. Its opulent interiors were a perfect blend of contemporary comfort and local design.
Paro Taktsang is worth a day’s stop, we are told, best discovered on foot. But we have two days here, with lots to discover! So we set off of on a pony and reach a point to get great pictures. Once we reach the point, there is an awed hush. This intensely verdant landscape and the beautiful cliffside monastery stunned us all.
A quick tea and Wai-Wai noodles later, we reach Kyichu Lhakhang, one of Bhutan’s oldest temples, which is again stunning. It is believed that if you make a wish here, it comes true which of course I do.
Next up is the National Museum, which houses beautiful pieces of art but I am more my mesmerised by the location. Exquisite, beautiful, charming, every word is too less, too inadequate for this landscape; I need new words to describe what is around me; the beauty of the Paro Valley has completely thrilled me.
Equally impressive is the Rinpung Dzong, one the best examples of Bhutanese architecture with a mystical environment. We are hungry and stop at a local place called Sonam Trophel for lunch, where we were served the best momos ever!
Tired we go back to Le Meridien for a rest before we head back again for some shopping in town. Tea is served at Latest Recipe, which is chic and has seating indoor as well as outdoors. The USP is the picturesque terrace that overlooks the waterfront and valleys and just the perfect spot for that cuppa.
The hotel’s General Manager Randal Whelpdale comes around chatting up with guests and ensuring they are comfortable. As for me, I am now inclined to read a book, sipping on my cuppa as the valley breathes around me. Or go for a walk by the river. Shopping can wait for the next day. Life never felt more uncomplicated.
Best Way to Reach: Fly Druk Air. 30 Kg weight is allowed in economy class.
Where to Stay: Le Meridien Paro, Riverfront, P.O.Box No.1265, Shaba, Paro, Bhutan; lemeridien.com/paroriverfront