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.
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
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.
When to visit
Combine with Uma Paro, its sister property in Paro for the ultimate Bhutan experience!
Uma Punakha is located along the Mo Chu River from Punakha, overlooking the valley.
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.
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.
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.