Area and Attractions
Taktsang or the Tiger’s Nest Monastery
Made famous by the myth associated to it, the tiger’s den is certainly a must see site when you are in Bhutan.
In the 8th century, the Indian saint, Guru Padmasambava, was believed to have transformed himself into a ferocious creature riding on the back of a tigress to the cave, where the present complex of temples have been built, and subdued the demons dwelling there. That was how the place derived its name Taktsang meaning the Tiger’s Nest. The monastery, built on a cliff face with a sheer drop measuring some hundreds of meters, is often seen amidst the clouds as though it were floating in the sky. It is about two and half hours hike to the temple if you start your walk from Zhiwa Ling or about two hours hike if you drive to a point that gets you closer to the temple.
Kili Gompa Nunnery
From Zhiwa Ling, take a stunning thirty minute drive on the road to Chele la (pass). A two hour hike through pine and rhododendron forests will take you up to this peaceful nunnery set high in the mountains with stunning views all around.
Heidi Gompa Monastery
This full day hike takes you up the valley past several charming villages. The hiking route follows the course of Paro River until you reach a point where the trail climbs up to this isolated and well revered temple. A twenty minute drive from Zhiwa Ling will take you to the start of this hike.
Dra Karpo temple
Set high above the village of Shaba is a special temple built on a rock face. The temple is dedicated to Guru Padmasambhava who spent time meditating in this location in the 8th century. The temple has a maize of underground caves through which pilgrims navigate to receive the blessing of the guru. The temple has a breathtaking view of the Paro valley. A twenty minute drive from Zhiwa Ling down the valley will get you to the start of this two hour hike.
The beautiful Paro valley provides visitors with all the essential elements of Bhutan. Ancient temples, massive forts, monasteries, picturesque villages, scenic hikes and drives. Zhiwa Ling is in close proximity to the many attractions the Paro valley has to offer
Ta Dzong National museum
A twenty minute drive from Zhiwa Ling will get you to this unique museum. Located inside the circular 7th century fort is the National museum of Bhutan with its wonderful and varied collections. It provides an excellent introduction to Bhutanese art and culture.
Paro Rinpung Dzong
The massive three hundred and fifty year old fort is the center of governance for the Province of Paro. The governor, the chief judge and other government officials keep office within the walls of this fort following old traditions. Half the fort is permanently occupied by two hundred resident monks. Every year in the spring, the fort is host to one of Bhutan’s biggest religious festival.
Kyichu temple, five minutes drive from Zhiwa Ling, is one of the oldest temples in the country, dating as far back as the 7th century. History has it that the temple was a part of an ambitious plan of the Tibetan King, Songsten Gampo, who wanted to build 108 temples in the region, supposedly to subdue an ogress that traumatized the people in the region.
The ruins of Drukgyel Dzong
Fifteen minutes drive from Zhiwa Ling and set on a knoll with a spectacular view of the surrounding valley lies the ruins of this fort. Drukgyel Dzong once protected against Tibetan invasions and provides a wonderful architectural insight to the structure of forts in Bhutan. Drukgyel is also the starting point to many of Bhutan’s most famous trekking routes.
Chele la (pass)
Chele la (pass), at an elevation 3,988 meters, is considered to be one of the highest motorable passes in Bhutan. About an hours drive from Zhiwa Ling, you will travel through lush valleys, pine and rhododendron forests to reach the pass. The pass provides stunning views of the sacred mountain Jomolhari and Jichu Drake.
Chele la is marked by hundreds of prayer flags fluttering in the wind. Take a walk above the pass and one might come across signs of old sky burials, a ritual that has since been banned in Bhutan. Another forty five minutes drive from the pass will bring you to the scenic valley of Haa that is near to the border of China.
Ten minutes drive will take you from Zhiwa Ling to the relaxed town of Paro. Paro town comprises of two main streets lined by many shops selling all manner of goods from handicraft items to yak cheese and prayer flags.
Traditional Archery and Khuru
Archery is more than just a national sport. It’s an activity most Bhutanese men engage in and offers the opportunity for a get-together among friends and socializing with other players. Played almost every weekend and during festivals, you will hear archers loud roars and enchanting singing in all areas of Bhutan. Numerous tournaments are held throughout the year with great prizes given to the successful archers.
Khuru, a traditional dart game, is also a festive game popular in the villages. Unlike the darts in the west, Bhutanese darts are bigger and are made of wood with a five-inch nail hammered at the bottom with adorning feathers to assist flight. This is an outdoor game where the darts are thrown at targets placed at a distance of about 40 meters apart.
Try your hand at these popular sports on our main entrance lawn.
The Paro valley provides innumerable hiking opportunities from short walks to half and full day hiking options. Some options include monasteries, temples and villages perched on hill tops. For the more adventurous Zhiwa Ling offers the opportunity to hike longer and further by providing overnight camping services. Make sure to bring along appropriate clothing and foot wear and leave it to Zhiwa Ling to take care of everything else. Information prior to check in is required to avail of this service.
With the help of an expert guide take a day off to explore the many varieties of birds that inhabit this valley. Information prior to check in is required to avail of this service.
The beautiful streams and rivers of western Bhutan provide an interesting challenge to fly fishing enthusiasts who would like to test their skills fishing to wild brown trout in high altitude locations.
Information prior to check in is required to avail of this catch and release activity.
Note: All the above activities requires booking prior to check in