November 2012 | by Clare Turner

Uma by COMO, Punakha opens in Bhutan

The celebrated COMO group already has one extraordinary property in Bhutan, Uma Paro, and now they have added another to their collection - Uma Punakha. Located 3 hours drive from Thimphu, Bhutan’s capital, and 5 hours from its sister retreat Uma Paro, Uma Punakha is an intimate eleven room hotel nestled at the far western end of the lush and picturesque Punakha Valley overlooking rice terraces, fruit orchards and the winding Mo Chu river.

Uma Punakha continues the COMO tradition of offering super stylish properties, warm service and exquisite cuisine in truly authentic locations. With floor to ceiling glass in each room, we love the sweeping views of the forests, mountains and surrounding valley. The COMO Shambhala Retreat’s traditional Bhutanese hot stone bath with open air views of the valley is one of the many highlights.

With Amankora Punakha its other glamorous neighbour, this valley with its ancient traditions and famous Punakha Dzong continues to lift the bar.

Try to time your visit here with the Punakha Tsechu Festival. There are many different tsechu festivals held throughout Bhutan at different times of the year and they are a real highlight of any visit here. While the Punakha Tsechu Festival is not as big as some of the others, its more intimate feel will make for a memorable experience. Set in an inner courtyard of the Punakha Dzong with a striking bodhi tree for shade, you are likely to find yourself one of only a handful of tourists among families of local Bhutanese dressed in their finest traditional dress watching monks in colourful costumes performing time-honoured dances. It really is one of the most atmospheric and authentic experiences on offer.

The next Punakha Tsechu Festival will take place on 20-22 February 2013. Please don’t hesitate to contact us for other festival dates to help with planning your Seven Skies Bhutan experience!

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