8 Day Uma Paro Bhutan Through Lens

  • Uma Punakha

    Uma Punakha

  • Uma Punakha

    Uma Punakha

  • Uma Punakha

    Uma Punakha

  • Uma Paro

    Uma Paro

From bustling markets to prayer flag-strewn mountain passes, from happy monks in maroon robes to massive ancient fortresses, Bhutan is a Shangri La for image-makers. In the month of June the summer landscape takes on a luscious green with rice paddy fields covering all of Paro Valley, wildflowers strewn like dots of paint on the alpine meadows. In November the monsoon clouds are a distant memory and the landscape snap s into sharp focus with crystal light, inky skies and fabulous mountain views.

Day 1

     Arrival in Paro, Bhutan

Elevation 2,280 m     Weather in Paro

Uma Paro staff will welcome you at the airport for the 10-minute transfer to the property. After lunch, in order to aid acclimatization and to get your bearings, we invite you for an introductory photo opp with a short, guided local walk. Stroll through bustling Paro Town and out to the massive Rinpung Dzong - ’Fortress on a Heap of Jewels’. The trail then leads across Paro Chhu (river) via a traditional covered bridge (Nyamai Zam). This bridge provided the backdrop for scenes in the feature films, Little Buddha and Travellers and Magicians. In the evening, please join us for a welcome dinner and photographic adventure briefing with slide show.

Duration of walk: 2-3 hour photo opp
Difficulty: Easy
Guided with support vehicle and picnic

 

Hotels:

Day 2

     Paro to Punakha

Elevation 1,300 m     Weather in Paro

Depart for the one hour scenic drive to Thimphu, winding alongside two snaking rivers and passing countless fine examples of the quaint, traditional farmhouse architecture of Bhutan. The capital itself sprawls up the wooded western hillside of the Wang Chhu and is the centre of government, religion and commerce. After lunch the drive is truly awe-inspiring as it zigzags up to the 3,1 4Dm-high mountain pass of Dochu La with its forests of fluttering prayer flags, maze of memorial chortens and sweeping views of the main Himalayan range. We then enjoy a short walk across rice paddies to Chimmi Lhakhang, a fertility temple dedicated to Drukpa Kuenley, a Tibetan Buddhist saint known popularly as ’Divine Madman’ because of his colourful and sometimes outrageous adherence to the Buddhist faith. The temple sits atop a picturesque hill surrounded by rice fields. By late afternoon the light is perfect.

 

Distance: 76 km

Duration: 3-4 hours
 

Hotels:

Day 3

     Punakha

Elevation 1,300 m     Weather in Paro

A full day for further exploration of this scenic valley, low enough (1 ,200m) to allow bananas and oranges to grow. The destination for this morning’s optional walk up through whitewashed homesteads and farmland is Khamsum Yuley Namgay Chorten, a shrine recently built by the roya] family depicting Guru Rinpoche in startling images. Heading down along the riverside the massive architectural edifice of the 17th century Punakha Dzong (fortress/monastery) soon looms into view. This was built in 1637 by Shabdrung Nawang Namgyal in a commanding position at the confluence of the Po Chhu and Mo Chhu (Father and Mother rivers). Bhutan’s second oldest dzong, it goes by the full name of Druk Pungthang Dechen Phodrang (the Palace of Great Happiness) and is arguably the country’s most attractive. It served as the seat of the Kingdom’s government until the time of the second King and today is the winter home of Je Khempo, the head abbot of Bhutan, along with a retinue of 1,000 monks. An afternoon troll through the quant bazaar at Wangdue Phodrang to visit its dzong rounds off the day. Founded in 1638 by the Shabdrung, Wangdue Phodrang Dzong is located on a high promontory overlooking the Punatsang Chhu (river).

 

Duration: 6-8 hours

Difficulty: Easy

Guided with support vehicle and picnic

 

Hotels:

Day 4

     Punakha to Paro

Elevation 2,280 m     Weather in Paro

Time to retrace our steps back over the Dochu La for a second chance of that wonderful view of the Himalayan range. An early morning start for the three- to four-hour drive means that on arrival in Thimphu, the capital’s weekend market is in full swing. Returning to the Chuzum or confluence we catch a glimpse of the three shrines in Nepali, Tibetan and Bhutanese style which were built to ward off evil spirits near the checkpoint. The journey will be broken with a visit to Tamchog Lhakhang built by Thangtong Gyalpo. Also known as the ’Iron Bridge Builder’, this former saint from the 14th century introduced the art of building suspension bridges with iron chains. The only way to reach his temple is by one of these photogenic bridges. On the final leg the road snakes alongside the Pa Chhu, through apple orchards and rice paddies, past quaint homesteads to our home in the Himalaya, Uma Paro. After check-in and a show round, we invite you to spend the rest of the day relaxing around the property, enjoying the facilities (Uma has two desktop computers in the library on which to view photos) or perhaps trying some other activities like the Bhutanese national sport of archery. In the early evening we pay our friendly Farmer Tshering a visit at his smallholding for a traditional Bhutanese dinner and the chance to shoot the farm at rice plantation time (June) or harvest time (November).

 

Duration: 4-5 hours

Distance: 120 km

Difficulty: Easy

Guided with support vehicle and picnic

 

Hotels:

Day 5

     Paro

Elevation 2,280 m     Weather in Paro

Start early for the drive to Chele La (pass)which at 3,988 m 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 Jhomo!hari (7,31 4m). This sacred prayer flag-bedecked pass has appeared in several Bhutanese films plus many fashion shoots in the past. Once we have captured our images, we walk down through the rhododendron forest to Kila Goemba, an ancient nunnery, before driving further down the mountain where we walk out to the Dzongdrakha Goemba complex (time permitting). Both locations are rarely visited by foreigners. Once we have paid our respects and made some offerings the photography can begin in earnest. Back at Uma Paro our guides await in their finest traditional costumes (gho for men and kira for women) to put on an archery demonstration for our cameras.

 

Duration: 3-4 hours

Trail Conditions: A well-trodden but narrow mountain path

Difficulty: Moderate

Guided with support vehicle and picnic

 

Hotels:

Day 6

     Paro

Elevation 2,280 m     Weather in Paro

A few kilometres north of Paro, we pay our respects at Kyichu Lhakhang. This is one of the oldest temples in Bhutan with its magic orange tree which bears fruit all year round. This ancient temple is connected to the famous Jokhang in Lhasa, the comings and goings of the worshippers making for unforgettable images. Nearby we have arranged a visit to a local school to meet the kids and hand out some disposable cameras for a school project. Afterwards there is the opportunity to shoot at the weavers centre in Paro. The rest of the day is free for more photography perhaps just to relax around Uma Paro, enjoying the peace and quiet.

 

Guided with support vehicle and picnic
 

Hotels:

Day 7

     Paro

Elevation 2,280 m     Weather in Paro

One of the most amazing and important pieces of architecture in Bhutan, Taktsang Goemba 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. To avoid the hot sun an early start is advisable for the two-hour climb to the Tiger’s Nest viewpoint. Descend steeply, and then climb up to the monastery, passing a waterfall and entering through the main gates, which are filled with murals

Retrace our steps or alternatively (if time and energy levels allow) head further up to several remote temples and monasteries. Return to Uma Paro in the afternoon for some time to rest and relax and enjoy the facilities such as the steam rooms, swimming pool or a Bhutanese Hot Stone Bath followed by a soothing massage. In the evening you are invited for a firelit farewell dinner either in the courtyard at Uma Paro or at our Bukhari restaurant.

 

Duration: 7-8 hours

Difficulty: Moderate to Hard

Guided with support vehicle and picnic

 

Hotels:

Day 8

     Departure Day

Elevation 2,280 m     Weather in Paro

Today we will bid fond farewell to this beautiful Himalayan country and take an early flight back to Singapore. We hope by now you would have made some friends and also kept many photos and beautiful memories of Bhutan! And we look forward to seeing you again in this beautiful land of endless Enchantments! Tashi Delek!

What's Included

Suitable Months
  • Whole year round
  • High Season: March-May and September-November
  • Low Season: December-February and June-August
Prices
  • For Travel during the months of: Dec-Feb and Jun-Aug
  • From USD 7,311 for 1 person traveler
  • From USD 5,569 per person for 2 person travelers
  • Based on Valley View Room


  • For Travel during the months of: Mar-May and Sep-Nov
  • From USD 7,466 for 1 person traveler
  • From USD 5,724 per person for 2 person travelers
  • Based on Valley View Room
What's Excluded

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