Amankora’s minimalist design and comfortable rooms philosophy lets luxury sit alongside the gentle Himalayan Buddhism of Bhutan.
Our journey from Paro to Punakha, past Thimphu and across the Black Mountains has taken two days. But we are travelling further east, deep into the remote part of Bhutan to explore the Bumthang valley in Central Bhutan. Having arrived, there is a tranquil feeling about the place as if not much is happening here. Which is true and it fits into the laid-back atmosphere of the place. Perfect for me but may be boring for some. According to our guide, “Each part of Bhutan is different and you are missing something if you don’t travel this far east.”
Look Adjacent to the Wangdichholing Palace in Bumthang, stands the 16-suite Amankora Bumthang lodge surrounded by an apple orchard. The hallway, in Buddhist architecture and colours is grand. At the end of the hall is a library with comfy chairs and an internet. It’s like entering a beautiful Dzong but I am both, confused and amazed. I am travelling not in distance but in time.
Stay The rooms are elegant, with just the right amount of style for the location. Each suite features wood-panelled interiors, a traditional bukhari, king size bed, terrazzo-clad bath, shower, twin vanities and daybed overlooking the courtyard and nearby Wangdicholing Palace and monastery.
I sit at the edge of my chair and watch through the large floor-to-ceiling windows that frame the pristine scenery of the valley outside. The lodge complements its quiet Bhutanese location through the use of natural materials, which create a calm ambience. And I am fast asleep.
Dine Dining in Aman resorts is on demand. In most cases you have a suggested menu but the chef discusses with you what you like and the cuisine is tailored to your liking. There are no fixed timing and you can eat when you like and where you like.
Adventure Next day we trek across the valley to visit its ancient monasteries. Almost all richly adorned altars and decorated with vibrant wall paintings and thankas (wall hangings) with mystical stories. Trekking high up into the forest we break for a picnic. But a chance encounter with a Himalayan bear and her cubs forces us to change our plans. We retreat in haste but excited into a nearby monastery.
We are welcomed with a smile by the monks who offer us tea and I am excited by the experience of being amongst some of the happiest people on earth. I have travelled to many parts of the world but this particular journey; from the 21st century luxury of Amankora Bumthang lodge into the Buddhist monasteries where young monks chant their prayers in a form unchanged for hundreds of years, is for me the longest walk through time.
Relax Ease the strains of the day's journey through the mountains with a variety of holistic treatments at Amankora Bumthang. The spa specialises in customised oil massages which focus on specific areas of tension or provide for overall relaxation. Guests can also enjoy the complimentary steam facilities offered.
Flights to Bhutan are either from Bangkok or New Delhi. You will need to buy a return ticket before you can apply for a visa. Bangkok is the best place to connect if you are coming from North America, Australia or Asia. Delhi is the best place to connect if you are coming from Europe, Middle East or UK. You can also fly to Bhutan from Kathmandu.
We will arrange your flight tickets and visa clearance details and forward them to the Druk office at which the flight originates. All flights arrive at Paro from where it takes about 1-hour drive to Thimphu. Transfers within Bhutan can be arranged by AwimAway with an English speaking guide. Our representative will meet you at the Paro airport and transfer you to the hotel (additional cost).