Tucked away from the modern world a luxury Bhutan holiday provides a glimpse into a tiny Kingdom known as the land of the Thunder dragon. A naturally beautiful country nestled high in the Himalayas that has cultivated a unique culture steeped in religion and traditions.
Spectacular landscapes, from snow-capped peaks and deeply forested slopes to raging, boulder strewn rivers, sit largely undisturbed as the environmental initiatives and religious beliefs leave the Kingdom pristine and a jewel of nature. With outside visitors only being allowed in since the early 1970s Bhutan remains relatively unexplored, yet excellent luxury properties abound.
Spiritual home to the Vijrayana school of Mahayana Buddhism, monks study in the intricately decorated monasteries, or dzongs, that dramatically punctuate the landscape. The charm of the gentle Bhutanese people and the delicate mix of the modern world with their ancient culture make Bhutan a mystical experience for those who visit.
You’ll find the luxurious destination of Amankora Paro in the ParoValley; nestled amongst glistening conifers. This 24-suite, pine forest retreat, has a superb spa and at an elevation of some 2,250 metres it affords stunning views. Some 30 minutes from the airport, the ParoValley tends to be the perfect spot to begin your adventure into Bhutan. From here guests can visit the National Museum and take a trek to view one of Bhutan’s most revered monuments, the Taktshang Goemba, more commonly referred to as the ‘Tiger’s Nest’. Your suite at Paro is certain to get your Amankora discovery off to a very stylish start, with a combined lounge and bedroom furnished with a king-size bed, window seat, reading chair and traditional bukhari (wood-burning stove). The spacious bathroom - with a large terrazzo-clad bath - is just the ticket after a long day spent trekking in the valley.
Amankora Thimpu, a property raised up within a blue pine forest in the Motithang area in the ThimphuValley, is close to the capital’s intriguing sights and traditional shops. With this as your base, you can take in the National Memorial Chorten, NationalTextileMuseum, FolkHeritageMuseum and Trashi Chhoe Dzong.
The lodge’s tall white-washed stone buildings house the soaring ceilings of the living and dining room, leading onto an outdoor dining deck with views of the nearby stream and surrounding forest. After a busy day’s exploring you can relax and unwind at the spa; the signature treatment of which is a hot oil head massage, based on the ancient healing system of Ayurveda.
Head to the PunakhaValley where you can visit the rustic Wangdiphodrang and take a trip to the village of Talo, home of the Queens. Amankora Punakha, situated east of the Dochu La Pass and just north of the resplendent Punakha Dzong, is accessed via a suspension bridge over the Mo Chhu (MotherRiver). This traditional farmhouse has eight suites set in an orange orchard with views across rice terraces. You’ll be spoilt by the facilities at this picturesque lodge, which include spa treatment rooms and a steam room, a meditation room, reading room, lounge and tea pavilion...all combining to create the ultimate escape from the stresses and strains of modern-day life, certain to revive you and allow you time and space to think.
Time difference: GMT +6 hours
Flight duration: 13 hours 15 minutes (direct)
Currency: Bhutan Ngultrum (Indian Rupee also widely accepted)
Virgin Atlantic fly direct to Delhi from London Heathrow onwards connections to Paro are with Drukair.
The highest temperatures and rainfall occur in the south between June and September. Temperatures drop with increases in altitude, though days are usually very pleasant with clear skies and sunshine. Nights are cold and require warm clothing, particularly in winter. Generally, October, November and April to mid-June are the best times to visit.