This spectacular hotel is set in a beautiful forest setting, close to the Tiger's Nest Monastery in Paro.
The Amankora Paro is one of five Aman properties in Bhutan that are built around the basic principles of a beautiful natural location, small number of rooms and exclusive service. The 20-room Paro lodge is located in the woods with majestic views of the 17th century Drugyel Dzong ruin and the Greater Himalaya that include 7,300m Chomolhari, Bhutan’s highest mountain.
Look The lodge’s Living Room is furnished with banquettes and lounging chairs. Adjacent is the Library and the Dining Room which opens on an external terrace overlooking a small stream. A track leads to a stone and timber terrace that contains a central fireplace surrounded by two lounging areas. I have dinner on the patio, then drink by the fire and finally sleep on a very comfortable bed.
Stay The rooms are spacious with warm woods, earth tone fabrics, large high ceilings and huge glass windows that allow awesome views of the scenery outside. The open bath has twin showers and sinks with luxurious tubs. There are six blocks with four suites each, two on the ground floor and two on the upper floor. All the suites are centrally heated along with wood burning stoves which provide a romantic ambiance.
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.
Explore The next morning we set off early to hike to the beautiful Taktsang Gompa or the Tiger’s Nest, the 17th century Monastery hangs from a sheer rock cliff that plunges 3,000 feet to the valley below. The present monastery has been re-built after the original that I visited in 1981 was burnt down. The 4-hour hike is challenging but there are horses on hand to ease the journey. The valley below is dominated by Paro Dzong, a prime example of Bhutanese architecture and the National Museum, which was once the watchtower of the valley.
Relax Tired and exhausted, we drive back at the lodge and I decide to pamper myself. The wood oven is lit and my Amankora suite is warm as I sink into the tub with a glass of wine. Everything is just perfect, except a lingering thought. Travelling to Bhutan is like taking two inter-linked journeys; the first is covering physical space in distance and time. The other journey is through metaphysical space and finding the solution lies in finding the balance between two or the middle way, the basis of Buddhist philosophy.
One More Thing Take a hot stone bath in a tub filled with local herbs, followed by traditional therapies and remedies to overcome the effects of jet-lag or ease muscles after a day’s expedition. Emphasising harmony with Bhutan’s pristine environment and serene natural setting, the Spa’s relaxation and sauna rooms feature local timbers and glass walls filtering the light of the surrounding blue pine forest.
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).
Aman Villa Suites feature a combined lounge and bedroom that is furnished with a king-size bed, banquette window-seat and reading chair. In one corner is the traditional bukhari, a wood-burning stove. Opening from the bedroom is the spacious bathroom which is dominated by a large terrazzo-clad bath, flanked on one side by twin vanities and hanging space, and on the other by a separate shower and toilet. Spacious bathroom has open plan terrazzo-clad bath, shower and twin vanities. Size: 52 sqm
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Local Experiences The hike to the Tigers nest is a must. The Monastery hangs from a sheer rock cliff that plunges 3,000 feet to the valley below. The hike takes 4-hours but the views are incredible and you will enjoy the day. Horses are available.
Almost every village has archery competition. Ask the concierge at your hotel and they will organise an archery lesson or allow you to participate in the local competition. You may have to wear the ‘Gho’, the traditional kilt like dress, dance and cheer like the locals.
Other Activities: Ask your hotel concierge to arrange any of the following activities: fishing, golf, white-water rafting and trekking.
What to See The Paro Valley: For insight into Buddhism and the spirituality of the Bhutanese people, visit the National Museum, Paro Dzong and Dumtse Llakhang. The National Museum is the most dominating feature that was once a watchtower of the valley. Nearby is the Paro Dzong, a prime example of Bhutanese architecture. A leisurely walk back into town crosses over one of Bhutan’s traditional cantilevered bridges and continues on to the 15th century Dumtse Lhakhang town temple with its altar and beautiful wall paintings.
Paro and Surrounds: On the outskirts of Paro town lie the twin temples of 7th century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the first Buddhist temples built in the country. Paro Valley is also the starting point for many of Bhutan’s treks that range from the short four-day Druk Path crossing the mountains between Paro and Thimphu, to the challenging 21 - 42 day Snowman’s Trek that is often considered the world’s most difficult.
Drukyel Dzong: Not far from Amankora Paro are the 17th century ruins of Drukyel Dzong. Don’t be fooled by the dilapidated structure, this Dzong still provides an amazing foreground for pictures of the valley’s scenery.
When to go Winter in Bhutan is from mid-November till mid-March, and at this time of the year the climate is dry and sunny for the most part, temperatures peaking at around 15c. in the daytime and falling below zero at night.
The best time to go is in the spring (March, April and May), when the wild rhododendrons are in bloom, in the valley and all along the roads. The scenery is unimaginably beautiful and it is a great time for trekking in the Himalayas.
By the middle of June, clouds begin to build up for the monsoon that arrives in July. By mid-September the monsoon clouds have all but dried and the skies begin to clear. The two-month window between October and November offers clear skies but it can be cold in the night. It is also a good time for trekking deep into the Himalayas, sitting around a camp fire and seeing the high Himalayas in the morning and evening golden light.
Tipping Hotel and restaurant bills include service charges amounting to 20%. There is no need to add anything further to this. Tipping of your guide, driver and trek crew is a purely personal matter. The bottom line in determining whether or how much to tip is to ask yourself how much our representatives did to make your Bhutan travel experience more enjoyable.
Visa & Health British nationals require visa and this is generally arranged by our country agent in Bhutan. Individuals who are travelling to Bhutan from an endemic area will require yellow fever certificate. We recommend that you contact your doctor to check for any inoculations required.