The Amankora Resort in Punakha 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 yoga/meditation room.
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 to travellers who experience the Amankora Punakha lodge.
Not far from 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 has come half-way with a golf buggy to take us to the lodge which is not far, but following the middle-way philosophy.
Amankora Punakha PUNAKHA, BHUTAN
Stay Amankora resort in Punakha has only eight Suites, located in three, rammed-earth buildings. These are set in an orange orchard with views across the rice paddies and up Punakha Valley. Each Suite features a combined lounge and bedroom, furnished with a king-size bed, banquette window-seat and reading chair. In one corner is the traditional bukhari, a wood-burning stove. The spacious bathroom has a large terrazzo-clad bath, with twin vanities and a separate shower.
ChildCare Children are welcome to stay at the Amankora Punakha, but there are no specific facilities available. Although some of the trekking may only be suitable for older children, there is much to do in the surrounds. The local flora, fauna, handicraft centres and villages form interesting excursions.
Dine As the morning sun hits the façade of the farmhouse, we eat breakfast outside on the courtyard. The light is beautiful and you can hear the birds and cicadas. Dining in Amankora Punakha 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.
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.
Experiences The Punakha valley is dominated by Punakha Dzong. Built in 1637, it was the seat of government when Punakha was the capital of Bhutan. The first king of Bhutan, Ugyen Wangchuck, was crowned here. Nearby is the fertility temple of Chhime Lkahkang or commonly known as the Divine Madman. A number of treks in the region originate from Punakha valley but shorter day treks from Amankora Punakha to the surrounding valleys and villages are also worth taking.
Location Situated a short drive north of the grand Punakha Dzong and Phuntsho Pelri Palace (summer residence of His Majesty The King), Amankora Punakha is accessed via a suspension bridge over the river Mo Chhu.
Getting There Flights to Bhutan are either from Bangkok or New Delhi. 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. Flights from Delhi fly via Kathmandu. We will arrange your flight tickets and visa clearance details. All flights arrive at Paro from where it takes about 1-hour drive to Thimphu.
When to go Winter in Bhutan lasts from November to March. The spring months of March, April and May, are best for treks, flora and the many birds of Bhutan. The Monsoon occurs between June and August. The two-month window between October and November are arguably the best months with clear skies and chilly nights. It is also a good time for trekking into the Himalayas, sitting around a camp fire and seeing the high Himalayas in the morning and evening golden light.