Paro Rinpung Dzong at night, as viewed from the Gangtey Palace Hotel 

  1. Bullet  Phase One of the Harmony Project’s Bhutan three-stop circuit is Paro at the Gangtey Palace Hotel.

All flights in and out of Bhutan involve Paro’s airport, the only international airport in the country. Two domestic locations are under construction, but for now all roads (and there is only one east-west road build in the ‘60s by the Indians) lead to Paro.

Gangtey Palace Hotel and Paro’s international airport.

Once the governor’s residence of Paro, the Palace is set high above the river valley over looking the significant attractions of the area. The palace boasts a 19th century traditional Bhutanese courtyard style garden, family alter room and spacious traditional rooms in the center block. Along side the palace is the small Gangten Lhakhang serving the immediate community.  About 12 acres remains with the estate. 



As viewed from the Palace, the Paro Dzong and its watch tower now the National Museum further up the hill, each have a commanding view of the Gangtey Palace from across the river valley.  Down the river, the Dumtse Lhakhang sits low against the hillside among the rice fields.

Top right: Paro Rinpung Dzong, as seen through the private shrine of the Gangtey Palace Hotel.  The night time view of the Dzong at the top of the page can be viewed from the Palace grounds.Built in 1644 and rebuilt in 1897 and 1907 due to earthquake and fire. It used to house the national assembly. Like most Dzong, it houses the monastic body, district government and local courts.

Upper left: National Museum, Gyelyong Damtenkhang was renovated in 1968, first build in 1656.  It houses a collection of Thangkas, ancient and modern.

Upper right: Domtse Lhakhang, built in 1433 has three round floors representing hell, earth and heaven.  Murals inside are said to be some of the finest in Bhutan.

Amankora Paro Lodge

Identical minimalism could-be-anywhere guest rooms are featured at all Alankora locations. Rammed earth walls warehouse-like cottages are actually 4 single bedroom suites. No interior photography allowed.

< web link >


Top right: Gangtey Palace Hotel suite located in the center block.

Top middle: center suite vestibule with multiple doors to the various suites - and sitting room.

Top right: exterior center block and courtyard garden.

Bottom left: Family Altar. Bottom right, textile ceiling hanging

Uma Paro Hotel by Como

Central room block surrounded by cottages. Activities: gym, indoor pool, spa, mountain bike, archery lessons, hikes, visit to local farmhouse.

Room interiors could be anywhere. Cottages have dedicated non-Bhutanese massage room, with western tub, Thai massage platform and a very uncomfortable sitting and dining area. < web link >

Cottage Western Bathtub

In-room massage table

In room Thai massage platform

Spa treatment room - hot rock bath


Zhiwa Ling Hotel

In view of the Taktshang Goemba cliff-side monastery, this resort boasts a spa, tea house, green house and vegetable gardens. A remarkable degree of the facility has been painted and carved is the most Bhutanese of the contemporary Paro room product.  < web link >

Spa building

6 unit cottages

Impressive atrium in room block


Paro is an important destination.  All arrival / departure flights are generally in the morning with the Gangtey Palace just 10 minutes from the airport. The state airline has just two new Airbus planes effectively restricting volume.  Flights are via Calcutta / Bangkok, or Katmandu / New Delhi.

The existing lodging model is a block hotel with surrounding cottages/villas. Some block hotels have been renovated, such as Uma, others are new build such as Zhiwa.  The Aman model had not block hotel, but instead a public area block. Although a few non-luxury hotels were surveyed, benchmarks are noted below.

Dumtse Lhakhang, Paro

Built in 1433 to represent a three dimensional version of the mondara.  Its stupa-temple distinguishes itself from all other temples. Built around a three story cylindrical nucleus each represent hell, earth and heaven. It is said to contain the finest temple paintings in Bhutan.


Taktshang Goemba, Paro

The Lyon’s Nest

A very popular visitor destination is Taktshang. The 3-4 hour hike through  hillside forest is equally memorable.

The prayor flags were recently hung by Damcho Rinzin of the Bhutan Tourism Council

Water prayer wheel at the assent.

Paro Dzong

Although not large, the Paro Dzong is important and commands the central valley.

Instructional wall paintings within

Getting ready for a small festival, the donkeys and ponies are tied up within the center courtyard


Paro Village Life

The National Sport is archery. Every village and Dzong has a long narrow field with targets at each end, very, very far apart.


Village life

Each town or village has a market place. Many are getting renovated or made new. The Thimpu market in the photo is temporarily placed along the river as its old home gets a complete make over.

Gangtey Palace Hotel 

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