A quaint and intimate resort set in an old farmhouse along a lovely riverside, just outside Punakha.
The secret to travelling in Bhutan is to sit back and let your expectations be defied. Expect the unexpected in a country that believes in the middle-way philosophy to achieve happiness. Many decades ago, the King of Bhutan had impressed on the importance of Gross Domestic Happiness over the GDP, and the result is still visible for the traveller to experience at the Amankora Punakha lodge.
Not far at the confluence of Mo Chhu and Po Chhu is Punakha Dzong; strategically located in the centre to cover enemy approaches. We cross the suspension bridge on foot and are received by staff from Amankora Punakha lodge. The manager is there himself with a golf buggy to take us to the lodge which is not far. We prefer to walk, past paddy fields and smiling farmers.
Stay The Amankora lodge replicates the design of the Paro lodge but that is where the similarity ends. It was built by a former Chief Abbot of Bhutan as a residence to oversee the surrounding rice paddies and fruit orchards. The quaint, three-storey structure is now the combined common guest area. The Dining Room is situated on the ground floor, and the upper floors offer relaxation areas. The Courtyard of the farmhouse is suitable for outdoor dining and beyond is the two-storey Spa which provides a yoga/meditation room.
Eight Suites are located in three, rammed-earth buildings set in an orange orchard with views across the rice paddies and up Punakha Valley.
Dine As the morning sun hits the façade of the farmhouse, we eat breakfast outside on the courtyard. The light is beautiful and I can hear the birds and cicadas. 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.
Explore The day starts with rafting down the river, biking up the valley and then trekking down to the lodge. The good part is that we don’t have to worry about either cold or altitude. Punakha is as low as you can get in Bhutan.
Relax The Spa at Amankora Punakha emphasises on the spiritual path towards healing, with meditation and Reiki treatments. While the word is Japanese, the chakra system Indian and the therapists Bhutanese, the healing energy that flows through this treatment is universal. Additional healing with a range of massage therapies are also 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. 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 Paro it is a windy 3-4 hours’ drive past Thimphu to Punakha. Driving time from Thimphu is about 3 hours. Punakha lies east to the great Dochu La Pass and just north of the magnificent Punakha Dzong. Amankora Punakha lodge is accessed by a swinging bridge over the river Mo Chu that you cross on foot. Staff will meet you at the bridge and take you to the lodge on a golf buggy (additional cost).