After an arrival night in Paro, travel to Punakha, visiting ancient sites and the capital Thimphu on the way. In Punakha visit divine sites such as the fertility temple of the 'Divine Madman', try white water rafting or relax with a wellness therapy. After two, wondrous nights there, traverse to Paro, to visit revered monasteries, including Tiger's Nest. Yoga and meditation span 5 of the 7 nights, between 1-2 practices per day.
This 7 night Himalayan Discovery with yoga is perfect for those who want to explore more than one valley. Yoga and meditation are weaved throughout the stay, but this is an opportunity to witness the highlights of this magical land, rather than stay within the resort on retreat. If you have a sense of adventure and want to excite your senses both out and within, this is the trip for you!
These 7 night Bhutan retreats take place over the valleys of Punakha and Paro, an opportunity to explore yoga asana, pranayama and silent meditation. You will optimise your mind and body, while also experiencing Bhutan’s beauty and culture. This luxury Bhutan retreat is open to beginners as well as advanced yoga practitioners. With five nights at COMO Uma Paro and two nights at COMO Uma Punakha, the trip combines the best of both valleys. Blending yoga with guided walks through the Paro and Punakha Valley, including a pilgrimage to the national landmark, Tiger’s Nest Monastery, and Punakha’s magnificent dzongs.
To get the most from this experience you should be reasonably fit and enjoy the great outdoors. You may also wish to book extra wellness treatments at COMO Uma Paro’s COMO Shambhala Retreat to complement this richly holistic itinerary.
DAY 1: Arrival, check-in, property show-round, local sightseeing and introductory private yoga practice. You will be welcomed at the airport for the 10-minute transfer to COMO Uma Paro. After settling in, you will meet COMO Uma Paro’s Yoga teacher, then it’s time for our first foray into the Kingdom with sightseeing in Paro town and a visit to a local temple. Your first private yoga practice will be scheduled for late afternoon. Overnight: COMO Uma Paro
DAY 2: Morning Yoga practice, Paro to Punakha Valley via Tamchog Lhakhang, Thimphu and Dochu La. The early morning will begin with a yoga practice. After breakfast, drive to COMO Uma Punakha. Time-permitting, there will be a visit to Tamchog Lhakhang, a temple built by Thangtong Gyalpo. Stop off in the capital Thimphu, Bhutan’s centre of government, religion and commerce. Take in some of the major attractions, including the Buddha Dordenma statue, the National Memorial Chorten and a view of Trashi Chhoe Dzong. After leaving Thimphu, the drive to Punakha winds snake-like up the 3,000m-high mountain pass of Dochu La, offering views of 108 ‘chortens’ (Buddhist shrines), forests of cluttering prayer flags and, on a clear day, sweeping views of the Himalayan range. Duration of drive: 3 to 4 hours (126km) | Overnight: COMO Uma Punakha
DAY 3: 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 reach Chimmi Lhakhang, a 15th-century fertility temple dedicated to Drukpa Kuenley, a Tibetan Buddhist saint, perhaps 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. After lunch there is the option to try white water rafting (7yrs+ additional cost applies). Alternatively, enjoy a COMO Shambhala wellness therapy.| Duration: 6 to 7 hours | Difficulty: Easy to moderate | Overnight: COMO Uma Punakha
DAY 4: 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. 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. Duration of drive: 3 to 4 hours (126km) Difficulty: Easy | Overnight: COMO Uma Paro
DAY 5: Morning and afternoon Yoga practice with Walk to Zurig Dzong, Rinpung Dzong, Ta Dzong, Paro town, Kyichu Lhakhang and Drukgyel Dzong. The morning will begin with a Hatha Vinyasa yoga practice. We wind through pine forests high above COMO Uma Paro to the pretty grounds of the fortress-like monastery of Zurig Dzong. We then cross to Ta Dzong, housing Bhutan’s National Museum with magnificent views over Paro, and on down to Rinpung Dzong (Fortress on a Heap of Jewels). The trail then leads across Paro Chhu (river) via a traditional covered bridge (Nyamai Zam) and then past the main archery ground, Ugyen Pelri Palace and into Paro town. We then 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. Returning to COMO Uma Paro, we enjoy a private Hatha Vinyasa yoga session that includes elements of pranayama and mediation before settling into a deep Shivasana. Duration: 5 to 7 hours (depending on time spent in National Museum and Paro) | Difficulty: Easy to Moderate | Overnight: COMO Uma Paro
DAY 6: Two yoga practices and a wild walk from Chele La pass to Kila Nunnery (with optional bike descent). We begin our yoga practice for the day with half an hour of pranayama and meditation before moving into a gentle Vinyasa flow. After Shivasana, we enjoy a COMO Shambhala juice before heading to breakfast. By late morning we’ll be reaching Chele La which at 3,988m is the highest road pass in Bhutan, snaking upwards through blue pine and rhododendron forests for 35 kilometres. On a clear day the view sweeps away to the snow-dome of Bhutan’s second highest peak, Mt Jhomolhari (7314m), and to Kila Goemba, an ancient nunnery nestled in a craggy patch on the mountainside below. This sacred place has a timeless quality, which is ample reward after the effort of the hike. Having made our offerings and perhaps been blessed, it is time to descend further. An hour later and we are back at the road where we can saddle up on a mountain bike and freewheel down to Paro Valley. In case Chele La Pass is not accessible during the winter months, your guide will propose an alternative for this day’s excursion. We will enjoy a private Hatha Vinyasa yoga session back at COMO Uma Paro that includes elements of pranayama and meditation. Day Out Duration: 6 to 8 hours | Difficulty: Moderate | Overnight: COMO Uma Paro
DAY 7: Taktsang Monastery (2,900m) followed by afternoon private restorative yoga practice. One of the most amazing and important pieces of architecture in Bhutan, Taktsang Goemba, or Tiger’s Nest, defies logic, gravity and reason. Legend has it that this cliffside was where Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) landed on the back of a flying tigress, bringing Buddhism to Bhutan from Tibet. We make an early start for the two hour climb to the monastery viewpoint. Descending steeply, we then climb up to the monastery, passing a waterfall and entering through the main gates which are decorated with murals. After spending some time in the monastery we break for lunch before meditation in one of the ancient temples near Guru Rinpoche’s caves. After meditation, we begin a descent of about 45 minutes to reach our vehicle and drive back to COMO Uma Paro. Time to freshen up before enjoying a late afternoon mindful yoga practice. There’s also time to relax and enjoy the facilities including the steam rooms, swimming pool or a Bhutanese Hot Stone Bath. Day Out Duration: 6 to 8 hours | Difficulty: Moderate to Hard | Overnight: COMO Uma ParoMake an Enquiry
Accommodation for five nights at Uma Paro and two nights at Uma Punakha on a full board basis (excluding beverages), which includes picnic lunches during excursion days
Six-and-a-half days of privately guided excursions, taking in the highlights of the Paro, Thimphu and Punakha Valley
The private services of an experienced English-speaking Bhutanese guide
One to two yoga sessions per day 60 minute daily private yoga session for 5 days
One 60-minute COMO Shambhala body treatment
Complimentary use of the library, internet, swimming pool, steam room and gym at COMO Uma Paro
Complimentary wireless internet throughout COMO Uma Paro
Private airport transfers and transport around Bhutan
All Bhutanese government visa and royalty fees, service charge and sales tax
All museum and visitor centre entry fees and road permits
Complimentary one-hour daily yoga class whilst at COMO Uma Paro (except Sundays)
Double Occupancy USD$4889pp
Airport Transfer Time: It's only a 15 minute drive from Paro International Airport to Uma Paro
Local Currency: The national currency is the ngultrum (Nu) and cash is most widely accepted throughout the Kingdom. Prices are usually quoted in ngultrum although USD is widely accepted and changed. You are recommended to carry cash in either currency or traveller’s cheques, as limited ATM access is available (only with credit cards currently and not always available). At Uma Paro credit cards are accepted
Best Time to Go: Bhutan is very much a year round destination. The winter months offer clear, cobalt blue skies, starry nights, and temperatures that run down to freezing at night, and between 40 – 60F during the day, subject to which valley you are in. The air is very dry through the winter, so you do not feel the cold temperatures, and with the bright sun, the days are great for touring and hiking. The late spring/summer period offers clear mornings, clouds late afternoon and from mid-June till September, an occasional light shower in the afternoon and heavier rain overnight. The temperatures during this period run from mid 70 to high 80s, dropping into the 60s at night. In the spring/summer period the landscape is lush, the flowers are in full bloom, the farms busy and there is often plenty of wildlife to see along the roads and out on the trails
Eco conscious: Currently the world's eco-friendliest country, praised by environmentalists for its low carbon emissions and heavy use of hydropower
Children: Most welcome and we can tailor in activities for the kids too. If your kids are culture vultures and like outdoors (no tech stuff) they'll love Bhutan!
Tips: Bring good sunscreen, hat and lip protection as high altitude sunshine is intense. For hiking, you'll need a warm jacket, waterproof boots and jacket, a warm hat and day pack. Also, check with us for cultural etiquette before traveling and we have a good reading list prior to travel too