The name 'Land of the Thunder Dragon' sums up the magic and mystery of Bhutan. Its remote mountain location means it remains an untouched Himalayan Shangri-La.


 

There are places where you can get away from it all. There are those where you feel you've gone back a few decades. And then there's the Kingdom of Bhutan. No ordinary place, this devoutly Buddhist, tiny, remote Himalayan Kingdom has remained largely unaffected by outside influences, and intends to stay that way. Although economically important, tourist numbers are strictly controlled and monitored to maintain the country's culture, traditions and environment. In fact, just 28,463 international visitors were fortunate enough to visit in 2012.

Unique is too small a word for a country known as the 'last Shangri-La': this is a country that measures prosperity by Gross National Happiness rather than Gross National Product. Little surprise in such a peaceful and spiritually uplifting place as this.

Sample Itinerary
11 nights from Thimpu to Paro

​Day 1/ Fly overnight from London Heathrow to Thimphu, via New Dehli and Paro

Day 2/ Arrive Thimphu, stay 2 nights at Amankora Thimphu

Day 3/ Thimphu to Amankora Gangtey, stay 2 nights

Day 6/ Gangtey to Amankora Bumthang, stay 3 nights

Day 9/ Bumthang to Amankora Punakha, stay 2 nights

Day 11/ Punakha to Amankora Paro, stay 2 nights

Day 13/ Paro to London Heathrow, via New Dehli 

MUST-DO'S

1/

The name 'Taktsang Goemba' might not sound familiar, but you'll recognise this most famous of Bhutan's monasteries, perched 900m above the Paro Valley floor on a sheer cliff face.

 

2/

The capital Thimphu is a blend of old and new. A city whose sights include the Trashi Chhoe Dzong (seat of government). 16th century Pangri Zampa buildings, and the Kingdom's first monastery. 

 

Days 1 to 3

London Heathro​w to Amankora Thimphu​ ​​​

 

This isolated Buddhist Kingdom, known as Land of the Thunder Dragon, takes a unique view on life – for example, measuring success by Gross National Happiness. 

Here’s the very best of it, with the outstanding Amankora lodges.

After a flight as dramatic as the scenery, transfer to capital Thimphu with its museums, memorials and charming main street. 

The Trashi Chhoe Dzong (seat of government), Pangri Zampa (a monastic school for astrologers) and the Kingdom’s first monastery at Cheri Goemba all make for a fascinating first day.

Days 4 to 8

Thimphu to Amankora Bumthang ​​

 

But that’s just the start; driving over the 3000m high mountains of Dochu La you begin to get a sense of this awe-inspiring country. 

Taking in fortress monasteries and ancient wall paintings, your destination is Phobjika Valley and Gangtey. The air here makes you feel alive, so explore on foot or bike stopping by the Black Neck Crane Centre to see these rare birds. 

The journey to Bumthang is memorable, calling at Trongsa, original home of the royal family. Bumthang’s Wangdichhoeling Palace, grand Kurjey Lhakhang monument and Tamshing Monastery make for a captivating visit, as does the beautiful Tang Valley with its off-the-beaten-track monasteries and museum at Ugen Chhoeling Palace

Days 9 to 13

Bumthang to Amankora Paro​ 

 

Then it’s on to Punakha, the lush subtropical winter home of Bhutanese royals. From Punakha lodge you’ll hike to the Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten monument, taking in the impressive Punakha Dzong on your way back. You’ll also visit Talo village to see the peaceful grounds of its temple. 

Another breathtaking drive awaits as you head through the gorgeous Wang Chu and Paro Chu valleys to the colourful small town of Paro, with its fascinating National Museum in the Ta Dzong, historic Paro Dzong fortress and, finally, the spectacular ‘Tiger’s Nest’ monastery, clinging to a cliff face 900m up – a memorable end to a memorable journey.

AMANKORA THIMPHU

 

Aman's lodge in the capital is literally just minutes from the city, and looks like a Bhutanese fort surrounded by forest. The dining room's outdoor deck has fantastic views to go with the Thai/ Western menu… almost as restful as the fab spa.

AMANKORA GANGTEY

 

Unlike the other lodges' several buildings Gangtey has just one, each room having jaw-dropping views of the gorgeous valley. The menus here combine Western and Bhutanese, and you'll appreciate the spa more than ever with all that scenery to explore.

AMANKORA BUMTHANG

 

Just 16 suites – with open-plan lounges, wood-burning stoves and gorgeous baths – make up this lodge at the heart of Bhutan's spiritual hub. The ambience throughout is simply perfect, with a library, impressive dining room and oh-so-relaxing spa.

AMANKORA PUNAKHA

 

Centred on a traditional farmhouse, the lodge is accessed by crossing a charming prayer flag-clad bridge. Dining is communal-style in the farmhouse, there's a first-floor living room and library and the eight suites are located in three rammed earth dwellings.

AMANKORA PARO

 

With uninterrupted views of Mount Jumolhari, this 24-suite lodge, tucked away in a pine forest, boasts lovely, large rooms, giant bathtubs and a fabulous spa ( just as you’d expect from Aman!), while the restaurant serves both Western and Indian cuisine.

 
For more details call your Travel Director on
01244 567000

 

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