Paro

Sunday 28 April 2019

Leaving Haa already! To head to Paro.

It was just a 45 minute drive to our first stop. At Cheli La, the highest paved road in Bhutan. The sign says the elevation is 3,988m but apparently that’s a bit of an over estimation and it’s around 3810m.

There are lots of prayer flags up here. The most we’ve seen so far!

After wandering through all the flags, we started hiking. Through forest. There was quite a lot of rhododendron. Bhutan is famous for its rhododendron, and some species grow only here.

It was around a 90 minute walk through the forest before we saw the Kila Nunnery hanging on the side of the mountain.

This nunnery was established as a meditation site in the 9th century and reputedly the oldest nunnery in Bhutan. There are around 50 nuns living here. The main prayer room was small and stuffed full of material hangings. Again we spoke to a nun here, she also had a phone and said her favourite website was Facebook. But claimed to have no knowledge of the outside world, including climate change or world politics.

The bus met us at the nunnery and we headed down a winding gravel road, down into paro.

We had lunch at a restaurant and they made me special food (plain vegetables) which was nice of them. But I am getting miserable from the food now!!

Then we were given two hours of free time to wander around Paro town.

The Main Street is basically just a line of souvenir shops. Nothing else. Just behind these are the normal grocery shops and local restaurants.

At the end of the street is the Paro Rinpung Dzong, however we weren’t going inside this one.

I wandered around the weekend market – lots of fruit and vegetable stalls. Red rice. Betel nut. And dried yak cheese.

I bought a few things – a prayer wheel, and some lemongrass spray that is common here. The shops were pretty expensive – probably because they think tourists are rich after paying $250 per day to be here. Plastic bags are banned across the country, so all shopping comes in small fabric bags!

Every hotel we have stayed at has been good. Probably because they have so much space and are all decorated in a traditional way! And today was too – loads of prayer flags.

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