Welcome To The Tiger's Nest, The Sacred Buddhist Temple Dangling Off A Cliff
Paro Taktsang isn't your average monastery. Also known as "the TIger's Nest," it clings to the side of a steep mountain in the small Asian country of Bhutan. It's the most iconic tourist destination in the country, but it'll take a little bravery and a lot of time for you to actually get there.
It's A Bird! It's A Plane! No, It's A Tiger!
The Tiger's Nest is a beautiful tourist attraction with a colorful backstory. The 8th-century Buddhist master Padmasambhava (also known as Guru Rinpoche and the "second Buddha") is said to have meditated here. This is a big deal seeing as he spread Tantric Buddhism through Bhutan and Tibet, and is considered nearly as holy as the Buddha himself in those areas.
Legend has it, Padmasambhava landed on the site of the Tiger's Nest on the back of—what else?—a flying tiger who was once his Tibetan concubine. His arrival brought Buddhism to Bhutan, and his four months spent meditating in a cave at the site of the Tiger's Nest is said to have subdued the country's demons.
Hope You Like Hiking
Let's say you're all out of flying tigers but want to visit Paro Taktsang. Welp, hope you're wearing comfortable shoes—the hike up to this monastery is a precarious, two-hour journey with a long drop. The Tiger's Nest sits about 3,000 feet above the valley floor, which itself is situated at a pretty heighthy 7,000 feet. Just take it slow, watch your step, and keep breathing (the altitude of 10,000 feet might get a little difficult if you don't pace yourself). Luckily, you'll take phenomenal views of the Paro valley every dangerous step along the way.