After a tasty breakfast in Ugyen’s kitchen, we left the farmhouse and spent a little time walking down the street of the small nearby town, enjoying some of the shop signs. We also stopped and bought some chocolate as I was all out (the horror!). As we started on the road to Paro, we stopped for some great photos of Haa Valley.
The road was even crazier than the one from yesterday! It was one lane the whole way, so Lama kept blowing the horn before every sharp corner (and there were a lot of them). Finally, we reached Chelela Pass (12,620 feet elevation), where we were rewarded with stunning views in every direction.
We were going to visit a nunnery on the way, but the access road was covered in snow and ice. Namgay offered for us to hike up to it, but when he said it would take about an hour and a half, we passed. Further down the road, there was a nice pull-off area with a good amount of snow, and Lama in particular really seemed to enjoy himself with it!
The weather in Paro was significantly warmer than Haa. Yay for lots of layers! We drove straight to lunch, which was at a random hotel (not the one we’re staying at in Paro). Lunch was delicious, even though some of the foods were similar to ones we’ve already had. As usual, we were brought many enormous bowls of food.
After lunch, we visited a 15th century temple, Dumsteg Lhakhang. This might have been my favorite temple so far – no one else was there, and the interior was dark so we had to use our phone flashlights to see the paintings on the walls. We climbed up two levels of steep, worn ladders and you could really feel the sense of history there. The temple is in the shape of a chorten, which is very unusual. Its three floor represent hell, heaven, and earth.
Next up: the National Museum of Bhutan. The first section had examples of all the different masks used in the festival dances, and the next had traditional paintings (thangka). We also saw many different Buddhist statues. The art and heritage part of the museum gave way to the natural history gallery, with photos and specimens and information about various flora and fauna of Bhutan.
After the museum, we took a short walk up to the Paro Dzong (fortress), which was much like the other dzongs we have seen on this trip. A lot of the fortress has been destroyed by natural disasters and then rebuilt.
After walking down the Main Street of Paro and poking around in a couple of shops, we made one more stop for the day, at the 7th century Kyichu Lhakhang, built by the same Tibetan saint and king as the Black and White Temples.
Our hotel, Metta Resort, is showing her age a bit. The room is quite cold and the internet is incredibly weak, but we have a lot of space and a huge king-sized bed. The hotel could probably do with some updating, as it seems to want to bill itself as upscale.
Distance walked: 4.8 miles
Flights climbed: 29