COMO Uma Punakha
At a Glance
Possibly the best views of any luxury lodge in Bhutan
Only 11 rooms, so lovely boutique option
Fantastic service and the cuisine is some of the best you can find in Bhutan - the King chooses to dine here when he is in Punakha!
Small COMO Shambala Spa
Punakha has an abundance of things to see and do, but just sitting on the terrace looking out at the views is absolutely amazing
Best time to Visit
Good time to visit
Average time to visit
In the western, central and eastern Bhutan you will mostly experience cold European-like weather. Winter lasts here from November to March. The Monsoon occurs between June and August when the temperature is normally between 8° and 21°C. October and November are arguably the best months, when the monsoon has passed and the skies are clear. The spring months of March, April and May are best for the flora, but it can be stormy as the monsoon builds up for July-September.
To start planning your holiday to COMO Uma Punakha
Uma Punakha by Como is a stunning luxury boutique lodge overlooking the Punakha Valley in Bhutan. Uma Punakha provides fantastic accommodation for guests wanting to experience this less-visited area of Bhutan in style.
Uma Punakha is splendidly perched on a hillside overlooking the Mo Chu River, about a 20 minute drive to Punakha Dzong. All rooms have dramatic views overlooking the valley, lush-green paddy fields and the rolling forested mountains beyond. In many ways, it has the best views of any luxury lodge in Bhutan, and if you are wanting amazing jaw-dropping views then Uma Punakha is for you.
Punakha used to be the capital of Bhutan, and its main Dzong is the country's most impressive. With options to take day-walks, raft down the river, cycling and visiting local markets, Punakha is possibly Bhutan's most interesting destination to visit. Added to that, it is a lower in altitude, therefore it offers a better climate and doesn't become quite as cold during the winter months.
The luxury lodge has just eleven light and airy rooms complete with wood-burning stoves, hand-painted murals and amazing views over the valley. Guests can opt for rooms with a terrace downstairs, or even better views on the first floor, but without outdoor space. There are also two luxury villas, the COMO villa with one bedroom and the two-bedroom COMO Villa, both set away from the main rooms offering a great deal of privacy coupled with the best views.
Uma Punakha has one restaurant, The Bukhari which serves both local and international cuisine. We loved the little terrace where you have the option of eating al fresco on warmer evenings. When it is colder, they can set up heaters right next to your table, or you can retreat to the inner dining room. The food is absolutely exceptional, possibly the best you will be offered in Bhutan.
Despite its small size, Uma Punakha still has a COMO Shambhala spa offering traditional holistic therapies such as hot stone baths to relax after time exploring the valley.
There are 11 rooms at Uma Punakha. All rooms have views of the valley, complimentary WiFi, tea/coffee making facilities, Italian linens, bathrooms with separate bath/shower, 32 inch TV and safe. There are Valley View Rooms (either with terrace on the downstairs) or with better views and a larger window on the upstairs. The One Bedroom Villa is located away from the main rooms, and has a separate living room, private terrace and a bathtub with views! The COMO villa has two rooms, the best views, living and dining room and large terrace.
|One Bedroom Villa||
The One Bedroom Villa is located slightly down the hillside from the main lodge, and is a standalone villa with large separate living room (where you can place an extra bed), two bathrooms and large french windows with superb views. You also have a private terrace.
Size: 51sqm and the Outdoor Terrace: 18sqm
The luxury two-bedroom villa has a large living and dining area with huge French windows offering exceptional views. There is a large terrace. The fixtures and fittings are also of the highest order, from Bhutanese cottons and hand-knotted carpets.
Size: 90sqm and Outdoor terrace: 40sqm
The Uma Punakha has a restaurant, Bukhari, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner with options to eat outside on the terrace with spectacular views. The Como Shambhala Retreat has one double treatment room and a single treatment room, and a hot-stone bath. There is complimentary WiFi throughout the hotel, laundry and pressing services and babysitting is available upon request.
Jack Mace (Staff)
COMO Uma Punakha is such a fantastic property which has so much to give. As you wind steeply up to the property you are expecting some amazing views of this beautiful valley and it doesn't disappoint! The views north to south last for miles and you're overlooking paddy fields, mountains and the river which meanders below. There's no bad view from the hotel but I'd advise on a ground floor room as they benefit from a terrace area which is a lovely spot to enjoy a cup of tea from. The rest of the hotel is also great, the lobby and living area to the front of the property is light, bright, airy and very welcoming. The restaurant served up the best food I had in my time in Bhutan and the menu changes daily. There's also a great spa which is perfect to frequent after a hard day exploring!
Amy Ropner (Staff)
Throughout my journey in Bhutan I had heard various people saying that the food I was going to eat in COMO Punakha was going to be some of the best I would have in this country, and to be honest they were right! The food was out of this world and made even more delicious considering that a lot of the ingredients are hard to come by and have to be imported in. I would suggest that you head to the terrace during sunset and it sinking behind the hills while enjoying a delicious cocktail and then heading into the restaurant. Make sure to order a variety of dishes and save some space for pudding.
Jessica Cator (Staff)
Uma Punaka is located slightly further along Punaka valley than the other hotels. This gives it a sense of exclusivity and privacy. The rooms are lovely and over look the river and mountains. Ask the staff when you arrive for more specific details - but there is a fabulous walk up to a little known lake not far from the hotel.
Daniel Smith (Staff)
The Uma Punakha was absolutely splendid - it is small and intimate, with mesmerising views over the Mo Chu Valley. The food is absolutely first-rate and dining on the terrace is delightful. I did think the rooms are a touch on the small size, yet given what Punakha has to offer will mean you are always out and about. In terms of views, it has the very best you can find in Bhutan (maybe Gangtey Goenpa or Amankora Gangtey come a closed second). Overall, this is truly one of the best places to stay in Bhutan, if not one of the best I have had the pleasure to stay at anywhere.
Emma Neale (Staff)
Uma Punakha a lovely and intimate property and as such you get to know the friendly staff really well even if your stay is short. I was really impressed that all the rooms had excellent views to the valley below - it is stunning to wake up to such a glorious setting.
A visit to Chimmi Lhakhang
The Chimmi Lhakhang Temple is a temple of fertility dedicated to the Buddhist saint known as the Divine Madman. A short walk through paddy fields takes you to the temple and is popular with Bhutanese families wanting to start a family.
Cycling up the Pho Chhu River
Take a morning cycling up the beautiful Pho Chhu River, famous for the White-Bellied Heron and dramatic scenery. Take a walk into the local village for a spot of tea before having a lovely picnic lunch overlooking the river before returning to Punakha.
Day in Punakha
In the morning head to Khasum Yuley Namgay Chorten before walking down to Punakha Dzong. In the afternoon take a walk across the rice paddies to Chimmi Lhakhang, the fertility temple.
Dochu La Pass
At an altitude of 3,100 metres, The Dochula Pass is a high mountain pass known for its 108 distinctive memorial stupas and breathtaking panoramic views over the Himalayas.
Dressing up in traditional Bhutanese dress
Anyone who works in Bhutan must wear traditional national dress, and you can have the chance to dress up for a few hours to see how it feels. The Bhutanese absolute love visitors doing it!
Evening Prayers at a Buddhist Monastery
Evening prayers at a Buddhist Monastery is something you should do at least once on a tour of Bhutan. You will witness monks chanting traditional prayers, helping them prepare for meditation.
Enjoy an excursion into one of the Bhutanese rivers and try your hand at fly-fishing.
Giligang has a 300-year old temple and a wonderful way to escape other tourists and see an authentic side to Bhutan, and can be added on to a visit to the Khansum Yulley Namgyal Chorten and Butterfly Trail.
Hike to Hokatsho Lake
Bhutan is a full of excellent hiking trails waiting to be discovered, all with equally mesmerising landscapes. On this six to seven hour jungle trek, you will head to Bhutan’s largest lake, Hokatsho where you can expect sensational views.
Hilltop Nunnery Visit
This evening visit Sangchhen Dorji Lhendrup Lhakhang Nunnery which is home to a higher learning and meditation centre for nuns, as well as being home to some of the most impressive statues in Bhutan.
Khansum Yulley & the Butterfly Trail
Take the short hike up to the Khansam Yulley Temple where you can sit back in awe at the wonderful views down the Mo Chhu Valley before heading off on the one-hour Butterfly Trail, stopping off for tea in the local home.
Meet a Monk Your Own Age
Your children can have the opportunity to meet a monk their own age. 10% of Bhutan's population are monks and they can hear stories of getting up each day before first-light for prayers and their daily routines.
Nalanda Buddhist College and Nobgang Walk
This fantastic experience combines the Sangchen Nunnery, the Nalanda Buddhist College and the Nobgang Village walk which takes you from the high hills above Punakha and winds gently down to the Punakha Dzong - you approach it almost vertically!
Punakha Drubchen Festival
Held annually on February in Punakha, local militias dress up as Bhutanese warriors in this festival to re-enact the famous battle between Bhutan and Tibet.
Punakha Dzong, otherwise known as the Pungtang Dechen Photrang literally means the palace of great happiness or bliss, and is the finest of its kind in Bhutan, dating from the 17th century and located on the confluence of the Mo Chhu and Po Chhu Rivers.
Punakha Weekend Markets
Khuruthang Saturday Vegetable Market is located in the small town next to the Punakha Dzong. On Sundays, you can visit the Wangdue Market, about a 30-minute drive away. Wander around the stalls, selling local fruit and vegetables.
Tea with a local family
Visiting a local home in Bhutan is an exceptionally interesting experience given the lovely hospitable nature of its people. Try traditional butter tea, or even some locally made rice wine 'Ara'.
The Butterfly Trail & Rafting in Punakha
Take the Butterfly Trail which is a one hour trek through local villages and paddy fields, stopping for tea in a local home before hiking to the Khamsum Yulley Chorten and then rafting back to the main Dzong of Punakha.
Thimphu Weekend Market
You shouldn’t miss the weekend market in Thimphu. People from nearby valleys arrive on Thursday afternoon and stay to sell their goods – vegetables, other foodstuffs and handicrafts – until Sunday evening.
Try your hand at Archery
Archery is the national sport of Bhutan and can be seen played throughout the Kingdom. Traditional bows are made from bamboo and witnessing an archery competition is an absolute highlight. We can easily arrange for you to have a go should you wish.
White Water Rafting
Enjoy the thrilling white water rafting down Mo Chhu.
A Week in Bhutan
Thimphu, Punakha & Paro
from £3100 pp inc flights & transfers for 6 nights
- Perfect introduction to Bhutan seeing all the major highlights on a private tour with your own driver and personal expert guide
- Combine the capital Thimphu, with the fertile valley of Punakha and Paro with the amazing walk to Tiger's Nest Monastery
- See the local life in action with farmhouse home-cooked dinner, archery experience and brushing shoulders with the locals at Centenary Farmers Market
Bhutan and Thailand for Teenagers
Bangkok, Thimphu, Punakha, Paro & Koh Lanta
from £5200 pp inc flights & transfers for 13 nights
- Experiences that are designed around the children from creating their own stamps, meeting a monk their own age, dressing up in traditional dress, archery, tea with a local family, rafting and making prayer flags
- This itinerary provides a fantastic combination of culture, amazing scenery, fascinating history and relaxation
- Private tour with personal guide and exclusive driver in a large six-seater vehicle
Bhutan for Teenagers
Thimphu, Punakha, Gangtey & Paro
from £6000 pp inc flights & transfers for 7 nights
- A tailored private tour of Bhutan with personal driver and expert private guide throughout
- All experiences are included and adapted to your interests, whether it is cultural, active or simply soaking up the scenery
- Visit all the major highlights, from Thimphu, Gangtey, Punakha and Paro
Classic Nepal and Bhutan
Kathmandu, Annapurna Trek, Dhilikhel, Thimphu, Punakha & Paro
from £6800 pp inc flights & transfers for 14 nights
- Combine both Nepal & Bhutan - a fantastic combination seeing the two great landlocked Himalayan countries
- Trek in the Annapurna foothills where you can take in unspoilt mountain views
- Walk to the iconic Tigers Nest Monastery
Bangkok, Paro & Punakha
from £5300 pp inc flights & transfers for 9 nights
- Get a glimpse into this somewhat secretive yet fascinating small Himalayan kingdom, well and truly off the beaten track
- Try to time your trip with one of Bhutan’s famously vibrant festivals, an ancient expression of their Buddhist culture, and witness spectacular masked dances and enlightenment rituals
- Stay at seriously cool and stylish hotels…the perfect retreat after a busy day of cultural explorations
Epic Bhutan and The Andaman Islands
Calcutta, Thimphu, Punakha, Paro & Andaman Islands
from £6300 pp inc flights & transfers for 13 nights
- 14-night itinerary taking in Calcutta, Bhutan and ending by the beach in the Andaman Islands
- Perfect for intrepid travellers wanting to get off-the-beaten track
- Great in winter months, travel from November to March
Thimphu, Punakha, Gangtey, Bumthang & Paro
from £4700 pp inc flights & transfers for 10 nights
- In-depth itinerary that takes you from the more-touristed Western circuit into the pristine Central valley of Bumthang
- Discover the best of Bhutan, from jaw-dropping Tiger's Nest Monastery to Punakha's scenic rice field
- Authentic seasonal experiences including farmhouse cooked dinner, tea with local family, apple plucking and matsutake mushroom-picking
Highlights of Sikkim and Bhutan
Calcutta, Sikkim, Singritan near Darjeeling, Thimphu, Punakha & Paro
from £10300 pp inc flights & transfers for 15 nights
- An ideal winter adventure, as the best visibility is November through to February
- Ideal for walkers of all levels of fitness
- The terrain is undulating and the routes tailored to you
Off the Beaten Track Bhutan
Bangkok, Thimphu, Punakha, Gangtey, Bumthang, Haa & Paro
from £9000 pp inc flights & transfers for 14 nights
- Amazing journey into Bhutan's more remote corners
- Private guide and driver throughout and all experiences are included
- Options for a range of day-walks into more rural parts of Bhutan
Thimpu, Punakha, Gangtey, Paro
from £5400 pp inc flights & transfers for 9 nights
- Immerse yourself in Bhutan’s spellbinding culture, including evening prayers at the Gangtry Goenpa Monastery perched high up on the hills.
- Be stunned by the boundless panoramas and captivating views from some of the Himalayas most inconceivable sites and trails.
- Enjoy the ultimate seclusion of the Phojikha Valley, where pure sumptuousness combines with unadulterated wildlife.
Location & directions
Uma Punakha is located along the Mo Chu River from Punakha, overlooking the valley.
How to get there
Punakha is located about 3.5 hours from Thimphu and 4-5 hours from Paro where Bhutan's international airport is located.
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