ARRIVAL- CHECK-IN AND LOCAL SIGHTSEEING
- Upon arrival at the airport, you will be greeted by staff from COMO Uma Paro who will assist with the 10-minute transfer to the property. After checking in and spending some time settling into your new surroundings, we will take you on your first foray into the Himalayan Kingdom, with sightseeing in Paro town and a temple visit. This afternoon trip allows you to acclimatise to the rarefied air at this altitude and to get to know your guide. Dinner and overnight stay in Paro.
PARO TO PUNAKHA VALLEY VIA THIMPHU AND DOCHU LA
- The capital Thimphu, sprawled across the wooded western hillside of the Wang Chhu river, is Bhutan’s centre of government, religion and commerce. During the journey from COMO Uma Paro to COMO Uma Punakha, Visit Thimphu Sightseeing Places. After leaving Thimphu, the drive to Punakha. Reach at resort and check in. Overnight stay in Como Uma Punakha.
PUNAKHA - CHIMMI LHAKHANG, PUNAKHA DZONG AND KHAMSUM YULLEY NAMGYAL CHORTEN
- This is a full day of exploration through the lush Punakha Valley, which at 1,200m is low enough for bananas and oranges to grow. The morning starts with a short walk across farmhouses and rice paddies to Chimmi Lhakhang, a 15th-century fertility temple dedicated to Drukpa Kuenley, a Tibetan Buddhist saint, better known as the ‘Divine Madman’. Heading further down the valley, the 300-year-old Punakha Dzong comes into view. Built in the 17th century by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal (who founded the Kingdom of Bhutan), the fortress once housed the country’s government. It is now the winter home of Je Khenpo, the head abbot of Bhutan, along with a retinue of 1,000 monks. After lunch, the tour takes you on a walk-through homesteads and farmland to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, a shrine recently built by the royal family. Overnight stay in Como Uma Punakha.
PUNAKHA VALLEY TO PARO, CHUZOM AND TAMCHOG LHAKHANG
- Retrace your steps back over the Dochu La Pass for another chance to view the Himalayan mountain range. Returning to the Chuzom (the confluence of the rivers Wang Chhu and Paro Chhu), you can glimpse three nearby shrines, built to ward off evil spirits – each with a different style of architecture: Nepali, Tibetan and Bhutanese. Time-permitting, there will be a visit to Tamchog Lhakhang, a temple built by Thangtong Gyalpo, a pioneering engineer who introduced the construction of suspension bridges into Bhutan and Tibet (several of which are still in use today). The final part of the drive to COMO Uma Paro is through apple orchards and rice paddies. You can see out the day here trying something from our activities menu such as archery, Bhutan’s national sport. Overnight stay in Como UMA Paro.
WALK TO ZURIG DZONG, RINPUNG DZONG, TA DZONG, PARO TOWN, KYICHU LHAKHANG AND DRUKGYEL DZONG
- Wind through pine forests high above COMO Uma Paro to the pretty grounds of the fortress-like monastery of Zurig Dzong. Traverse across to Ta Dzong, home to Bhutan’s National Museum, with magnificent views over Paro, then on down to Rinpung Dzong (Fortress on a Heap of Jewels). Driving a few kilometres north of Paro, we pay our respects at Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan with its magical orange tree that bears fruit all year round. Time permitting, we drive further up the valley to Drukgyel Dzong, built in 1648 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to control the northern route to Tibet. Overnight stay in Como UMA Paro.
PARO VALLEY – TAKTSANG WALK
- The historical Paro Valley is the focus of today’s activities, culminating in a visit to the Taktsang ‘Tiger’s Nest’ Monastery, one of Bhutan’s most important pieces of architecture. According to legend, this cliffside is where Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) landed on the back of a flying tigress, bringing Buddhism to Bhutan from Tibet. The trip starts early in order to avoid the hot sun during the two-hour climb to the Tiger’s Nest viewpoint. After lunch – either a prepared picnic or from the charming Taktsang cafeteria – you return to COMO Uma Paro. Overnight stay in Como UMA Paro.
- Although it is sad to leave the “Happiest Place on Earth”, an early departure is necessary since all flights depart in the morning. After an early breakfast, transfer to the airport as per your flight schedule.