Enclosed by blue pine forests and understated farmhouses that only accent the vigorous natural beauty of the surrounding valley, Bhutan’s Paro district is known for its tranquillity and peace. With a population half as large as Thimpu, the nation’s capital, Paro is a modest city known for its production of apples, wheat, potatoes, and other vegetables. The only international airport in Bhutan is located here, and venturing to Paro isn’t complete without a hike or a trek, and a visit to one of the region’s many astounding monasteries.
Impossible to miss, Rinpung Dzong dominates the skyline of Paro. A fortress first constructed in the 16th century, the dzong has been destroyed and rebuilt countless times since its original creation, and today stands as one of the finest surviving examples of traditional Bhutanese architecture. The structure—composed of intricately carved woodwork and massive wooden beams slotted together—is currently home to a monastic community of 200 and also serves as the administrative offices for the Paro district.