Aman Kora,Paro, As majestic as it is notoriously mysterious, Bhutan is only slowly opening up to foreign visitors, and remains enticingly devoid of the trappings of tourism. Spread across the country, Amankora’s five lodges – Paro, Thimphu, Gangtey, Punakha and Bumthang – offer unprecedented access to the world’s last surviving Buddhist kingdom. Combining the Sanskrit word for peace with the Bhutanese for circular journey, Amankora allows guests to create a tailormade tour of their own, visiting all or a selection of the lodges, with a driver provided for the duration of their stay.
• Near the airport, Paro is the largest lodge, and usually the start and end point of an Amankora journey
• Thimphu lodge lies within reach of the capital’s shops and sights
• Gangtey lodge overlooks a valley in the Black Mountains National Park
• Punakha lodge lies in a valley with a uniquely sub-tropical climate
• Bumthang lodge is further east, in the country’s most historic and sacred region
• Hidden in thick pine forest, Paro suites feature walls clad in wood and black steel panelling
An array of Bhutanese, Western and Indian dishes are served across all five Amankora lodges, using local ingredients such as yak meat and fresh honey from the Bumthang Valley. Private dining can be arranged, indoors or outdoors, for intimate dinners or group celebrations
• The dining room features an external terrace
overlooking a small stream
• Views extend to snow-covered Jhomolhari and
the ruins of the ancient dzong
Incorporating Himalayan plants and herbs, different spa therapies are available across Amankora’s five lodges, offering a uniquely Bhutanese healing experience.
• Paro’s two-storey spa is surrounded by glistening conifers in the forest
• Try a herb-infused hot stone bath, followed by a traditional massage
• Facilities include a glass-walled yoga studio,a sauna, steam room, changing areas
• The five treatment rooms each have a shower and an outdoor bath
Hiking and cycling are arguably the best ways to explore the incredible landscape, and every lodge offers an exhaustive list of options and routes. In addition, guests will be given a ‘top ten’ list of activities and experiences to try in each locality. Below is a selection of those available.
• Embark on the exhilarating four-hour hike to the Tiger’s Nest, the iconic 7th-century monastery that clings to the mountainside, 900 metres up
• Take a guided cultural tour of Paro, taking in the major museums, institutions and sights
• Enjoy a private lecture on Bhutan and Buddhism with the Mynak Rinpoche, the twelfth spiritual leader of the Mynak province in Eastern Tibet