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Kathryn Brierley, Director

What can we organise for you?

Kathryn Brierley, Director

We've been creating fabulous healthy holidays since 2003. Let us know where and when you would like to travel, what sort of healthy activities and services you're interested in, and our experts will tailor-make the perfect healthy holiday for you.

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luxury adventure in bhutan

luxury adventure in bhutan 7 nights full board from £2,740

7 night luxury adventure in the ethereal Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan staying in two luxury lodges.

From the gravity-defying Tiger’s Nest Monastery to the temple of the Divine Madman, this trip combines spectacular drives, unique nature walks and fascinating monastery visits. You spend four nights at Uma Paro and three nights at Uma Punakha - both of which are luxury Como properties.

You journey deep into the kingdom’s heartland exploring three distinctly different but important valleys: the bustling capital of Thimphu in a valley dotted with monuments, museums and markets; the tropical Punakha Valley with its magnificent dzongs, and the emerald valley of Paro, with its rice paddies and ancient temples. Throughout your adventure, you return nightly to the simple luxury and comfort of the Uma lodges.

Day 1 - Arrival, Check-in and Local Sightseeing

Upon arrival at the airport you will be greeted by staff from Uma Paro before embarking on the 10 minute transfer to the property. After you check-in and spend some time settling into your new surroundings, you will be taken 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 as well as the chance to get to know your guide.  Overnight: Uma Paro (pictured above)

Day 2 - 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 Uma Paro to Uma Punakha, you can stop off in the nation’s largest city, with an immersive tour taking in some of the major attractions, including the Buddha Dordenma statue, the National Memorial Chorten, a view of Trashi Chhoe Dzong and the Folk Heritage Museum (exact tour itinerary varies). After leaving Thimphu, the drive to Punakha is spectacular, winding snake-like up the 3,000m-high mountain pass of Dochu La, offering views to 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: Uma Punakha (pictured above)

Day 3 - Chimmi Lhakhang, Punakha Dzong and Khamsum Yulley Namgyal

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’. This site has long been a pilgrimage for couples hoping to start a family. Heading further down the valley, the 300 year old Punakha Dzong (above) 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.  Duration: 6 to 7 hours.  Difficulty: Easy to moderate. Overnight: Uma Punakha

Day 4 - Chorten Ningpo and Khabasa Village

After breakfast, drive to Chorten Ningpo, which dates back to the 17th century. The chorten is a little-known spot with a magnificent statue of Maitreya (the future Buddha) and images of the great lamas of the Drukpa lineage.  This magical spot was once a dense forest inhabited by evil spirits. The great oak tree outside the monastery is said to have grown out of the blazing log that the ‘Divine Madman’ threw (the tree’s bark is still black from where it was burnt). In 2005 the monastery began to house orphans from the nearby village, and founded a small Buddhist educational institution where the children can study both traditional Buddhist scriptures and texts as well as Western subjects. The hike back to Uma Punakha is around 45 minutes, going past Thodrup Lhakhang.  Duration: 3 to 4 hours.  Difficulty: Easy to moderate.

After lunch there are two activity options, or you can remain at Uma Punakha and relax with a wellnes therapy.

Option 1 - Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Nunnery and Talo Nobgang Village Walk

Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Nunnery has one of the biggest bronze statues of Avalokiteshvara – a bodhisattva embodying infinite compassion – created entirely by local Bhutanese artisans. The temple complex also houses a permanent higher learning and meditation centre for nuns, for both religious training and life skills. Nobgang monastery, dating back to the 17th century, was built as the residence for Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, a Tibetan Buddhist lama. Start your hike down and you’ll see the spectacular valleys, mountains and Punakha Dzong.  The hike will go through chir pine trees, passing the school, farms and farmhouses. You will come across an amazing tree (local people believe the tree is the walking stick of the ‘Divine Madman’ used during the 15th century and planted upside down) before you reach the finishing point.  Duration: 4 to 5 hours.  Difficulty: Easy to moderate.

Option 2 - White Water Rafting ‘Mo Chhu – The Temple Stretch’

The temple stretch is a great introduction to rafting. The most leisurely of all our choices, with the rapids running up to grade II as well as long calm sections. After the exhilaration of the rafting, relax with the hour or so hike up to the temple at Nyezengong and then float down the scenic Mo Chhu river and past the Punahka Dzong.  Duration: 2 to 4 hours on the water, depending on river state (up to 45 minutes shorter during monsoon season, July to August).  Difficulty: Easy.  Additional Cost: US$450 plus taxes per boat (up to five people).  Please Note: Rafting is subject to availability. While the outfitter takes all possible precautions to ensure a safe journey, all white water trips entail an element of risk. It is recommended that all participants are able to swim and are in good health. All safety equipment – including life jackets, splash jackets and trousers, helmets, dry bags for valuables – is supplied.

Overnight: Uma Punakha

Day 5 - Punakha Valley to Paro, Chuzom and Tamchog Lhakhang

Retrace your steps back over the Dochu La pass for a second chance to view the Himalayan mountain range.  Returning to the Chuzom (the confluence of the rivers Wang Chhu and Paro Chhu), you can glimpse the 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 Uma Paro is through apple orchards and rice paddies back to your mountain home, where you can spend the rest of the day in this calming setting.  One popular option is to try your hand at archery, Bhutan’s national sport.  Duration of drive: 3 to 4 hours (126km).  Difficulty: Easy.   Overnight: Uma Paro

Day 6 - Walk to Zurig Dzong, Rinpung Dzong, Ta Dzong, Paro Town

You wind through pine forests high above Uma Paro to the pretty grounds of the fortress-like monastery of Zurig Dzong, then traverse across to Ta Dzong, home to Bhutan’s National Museum, with magnificent views over Paro, and on down to Rinpung Dzong (Fortress on a Heap of Jewels - pictured above). The trail then leads across Paro Chhu (River) via the traditional covered bridge Nyamai Zam, and then past the main archery ground, Ugyen Pelri Palace and into Paro town. Driving a few kilometres north of Paro, you pay your respects at Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan with its magical orange tree that bears fruit all year round. Time permitting, you drive further up the valley to Drukgyel Dzong, built in 1648 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to control the northern route to Tibet.  Duration: 5 to 7 hours (depending on time spent in National Museum and Paro).  Difficulty: Easy to moderate. Overnight: Uma Paro

Day 7 - 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 (above), 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, a steep hike passing a waterfall and ending among beautiful murals at the monastery’s main entrance. If time allows, there is the possibility of heading further up to visit remote temples. After lunch – either a prepared picnic or from the charming Taktsang cafeteria – you return to Uma Paro, where you can recharge on your final night, enjoying the steam rooms, gym and swimming pool or indulging in one of the Como Shambhala treatments.  Duration: 6 to 8 hours.  Difficulty: Moderate to hard.  Overnight: Uma Paro

Day 8 - Depart Bhutan

Your 10 minute transfer to Paro International Airport will be arranged according to your flight schedule.

Price and inclusions

This 7 night adventure costs from £2,740 per person sharing a Valley View room and includes:

  • Accommodation for four nights at Uma Paro and three nights at Uma Punakha on a full board basis, including picnic lunches during excursion days (excluding beverages)
  • Six-and-a-half days of privately guided excursions, taking in the highlights of the Paro, Thimphu and Punakha Valleys
  • The private services of an experienced English-speaking Bhutanese guide
  • One 60-minute COMO Shambhala body treatment
  • Complimentary use of the library, internet, swimming pool, steam room and gym at Uma Paro
  • Complimentary wireless internet throughout Uma Paro and Uma Punakha
  • 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 Uma Paro (except Sundays)

Price excludes flights.  We can arrange everything for you, including your international flights to Bhutan.  We also handle visa application processing (included in the package). It normally takes two to three weeks to process the visa.

What now?

Please call 020 8968 0501 and speak to one of our travel specialists or email us outlining your dates and requirements.

Please note that this itinerary can be adjusted for shorter or longer stays, and can be combined with stays in Bangkok en route.
 

Kathryn Brierley, Director

What can we organise for you?

Kathryn Brierley, Director

We've been creating fabulous healthy holidays since 2003. Let us know where and when you would like to travel, what sort of healthy activities and services you're interested in, and our experts will tailor-make the perfect healthy holiday for you.

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