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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, we recommend staying in five different lodges spread across five different valleys – including Paro, Thimphu, Gangtey, Punakha and Bumthang. Bespoke Travel Design will create a tailor made tour of your own, visiting all or a selection of the lodges/valleys, with a private driver provided for the duration of your stay – offering unprecedented access to the world’s last surviving Buddhist kingdom.
bhutan ~ the bespoke to do list
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 your stay.
•The experiences in Bhutan include a range of cultural, active and spiritual experiences. When we arrange a car, driver and guide through Bespoke Travel Design, complimentary activities include visits to ancient fortress monasteries, remote villages, museums, hikes, mountain-biking and yoga.
• Experiences such as blessings, meditation and white-water rafting can be arranged on a chargeable basis. All itineraries are tailor-made to your interests.
• Due to the remoteness of the lodges, most of the lodges operate on an all-inclusive board basis, which includes: all meals taken in the lodges and picnics for road journeys and hikes, house beverages including select wines and spirits and laundry service.
• For stays of 7 or more continuous nights, benefits can include the following free amenities: complimentary private ground-handling with car, guide and driver for all day to day sightseeing; inter-lodge and airport transfers by road; complimentary 60 minute massage, per person, over the course of the journey. Get in touch for more details.
hotels we love
Set in the upper reaches of the Motithang area, the 16-Suite Lodge of Amankora Thimphu is built in the style of a traditional dzong fortress. Within reach of the capital’s shops and sights, the lodge remains a secluded retreat from which to explore both all the city has to offer and the wild Himalayan landscape. Amenities include king-size beds, traditional wood-burning stoves and banquette window-seats, while bathrooms feature terrazzo-clad bathtubs, twin vanities, a separate shower and toilet. 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 experiences to try in each locality. Visit the hotel website.
At an elevation of 2,250 metres, Paro Valley makes a beguiling start or an atmospheric end to an Amankora journey. Hidden in thick pine the 24-suites, with walls clad in wood and black steel panelling, contrast rustic elements with contemporary design. Amenities include king-size beds, traditional wood-burning stoves and banquette window-seats, while bathrooms featured terrazzo-clad bathtubs, twin vanities, a separate shower and toilet. 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, we will give you a ‘top ten’ list of local experiences to try in each locality. View hotel website.
In the little-visited Phobjikha Valley near the village of Gangtey, the eight-Suite Amankora Gangtey is set on a forested knoll with scenic views of the valley floor and the 16th-century Gangtey Goemba monastery. Part of the Black Mountains National Park wildlife reserve, the valley is home each winter to a flock of 300 endangered black-neck cranes. Suite interiors are identical to those of Amankora Thimphu, each enjoying a view across the valley. Amenities include king-size beds, traditional wood-burning stoves and banquette window-seats, while bathrooms feature terrazzo-clad bathtubs, twin vanities, a separate shower and toilet. Visit the hotel website.
Reached by crossing a suspension bridge over the Mo Chhu River covered in prayer flags, Punakha Lodge incorporates a traditional Bhutanese farmhouse built by a former Je Khenpo (chief abbot of Bhutan). Located in a subtropical valley that produces most of the nation’s vegetables, the area is where the Bhutanese royals spend their winters. Eight of the suites are identical in design to those of Amankora Paro, with views across an orange orchard and rice terraces. All accommodations offer king-size beds, traditional wood-burning stones and banquette window-seats, while bathrooms feature terrazzo-clad bathtubs, twin vanities and a separate shower and toilet. Visit the hotel website.
Bumthang, directly translating as ‘beautiful field’, is home to 29 temples and monasteries, including the ancient Jambay Lhakhang, and is a treasure-trove of Bhutan’s art and painting traditions. The 16-Suite Amankora Bumthang rests adjacent to the Wandichholing Palace, within the town of Jakar in the Choekhor Valley. From here, guests can embark on a multitude of cultural and spiritual experiences, including the unforgettable experience of the 108 butter lamp offering at Taktsang Monastery. Amenities include king-size beds, traditional wood-burning stoves and banquette window-seats, while bathrooms feature terrazzo-clad bathtubs, twin vanities, a separate shower and toilet. Visit the hotel website.
six senses bhutan
Six Senses Bhutan is a collection of five boutique lodges, each with its own character, environment and experiences. Located in Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Gangty and Bumthang, all within the amazing Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan – known for its rich diversity of flora and fauna along with omnipresent spirituality and colorful culture. Geographically, Bhutan descends from the highest Himalaya. To the north lies Tibet while to the west, south and east sits India. Each of these valleys has a scenic beauty that is unique. These five valleys offer an enchanted journey through the Kingdom. Visit the hotel website.
como uma paro
COMO Uma Paro, is an intimate, 29-room resort featuring the most exclusive private villas in Bhutan with an enviable location in the Paro Valley. This puts you within striking distance of the country’s great cultural landmarks. The style combines local artisanship with COMO’s contemporary style, while activities range from yoga to Himalayan camping adventures. Our Bukhari restaurant is a royal favourite. Visit the hotel website.
como uma punakha
COMO’s second hotel in Bhutan, COMO Uma Punakha is an intimate, luxury lodge located at the far western end of the lush Punakha Valley. From their picturesque base overlooking a snake-like bend in the Mo Chu river, Uma Punakha is ideally located for those who wish to explore this remote Himalayan Kingdom. This 11-room hideaway gives guests views of terraced rice fields, the temple of Khamsum Yuley Namgay, and snowcapped Himalayan peaks. Visit the hotel website.
Nestled in the heart of this valley lies the magnificent Taj Tashi, the gateway to a magical land brimming with fascinating mythology. It is ideally situated for you to explore the kingdom’s spectacular monasteries, centuries-old street festivals, scenic mountain passes and pristine wilderness. The international airport is situated at Paro, an hour from Thimphu. Staying true to Bhutan’s ancient and alluring ways, Taj Tashi enchantingly blends Dzong architecture and modern design, and is adorned with classical hand-drawn Buddhist murals. The 66 spacious rooms and suites overlook the exquisite mountains and township, and capture the essence of Bhutanese art and architecture. Visit the hotel website.
gangtey lodge, amankora, Bhutan
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Looking to extend your trip?
For the ultimate trip to relax and recharge, how about combining Bhutan & India on the ultimate spiritual escape! On this customized journey, you’ll join local monks for daily prayers and blessings in Bhutan before hopping across the border to get ahead of the crowds and visit the Taj Mahal at sunrise and find peace in the Himalayan foothills at the world-class wellness retreat, Ananda.
Please get in touch today, to find out more.