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Festive Season Promotion at Uma Paro in Bhutan

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High in the snow-capped Himalaya, Uma Paro is the perfect place for a unique way to celebrate the festive season. By day itís warm enough to explore in light clothing; by night, cozy up to Uma Paroís wood-burning stoves which are everywhere in the resort.

Over Christmas and New Year Uma Paro is offering a special 5-night privately guided package, incorporating either Christmas or New Year, traditional masked dances or Bhutanese musicians.

This offer is valid for stays from 20 to 29 December 2009. Rates start from US$5,306 for two people in a Superior Room. Accommodation is included on a full-board basis, excluding beverages and there is plenty of free time to relax, enjoy the peace, views, swimming pool, steam rooms and one COMO Shambhala traditional Bhutanese Hot Stone Bath treatment per person.

A range of festive events include the long-life puja ceremony at one of the oldest temples in Bhutan on 24 December, with ancient chants by monks and intricate rituals to receive blessings; local archery contest and gourmet Christmas dinner on 25 December; and Bhutanese dance performance and degustation New Years Eve Dinner welcoming the New Year on 31 December.

Guided excursions include a picnic-style stroll through pine forests high above Uma Paro to the fortress-like monastery of Zuri Dzong, followed by Bhutanís National Museum and nearby temples; a day trip to bustling Thimpu, the capital of Bhutan; market outings; and an encounter with Bhutanís national animal, the Takin, a strange looking beast which looks like a bee-stung moose.

Visits also include Trashi Chhoe Dzong, the 'fortress of the glorious religion', dating back to 1641; the National Institute of Traditional Medicine, National Textile Museum, National Institute of Arts & Crafts and Folk Heritage Museum.

Mountain biking options are to the Paro Valley and Do Chhu Trail deep into mountain forests.

Trekking is highlighted by the two-hour 'Taktsang Walk' to one of the most amazing and important pieces of architecture in Bhutan, Taktsang Goemba, which defies logic, gravity and reason. Legend has it that this cliffside was where the so-called 'Second Buddha' Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) landed on the back of a flying tigress, bringing Buddhism to Bhutan from Tibet.

Guests are accompanied by a personal, English-speaking guide and driver, and offered the perfect combination of action and downtime to enjoy the resortís COMO Shambhala Retreat.

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