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Amankora Luxary Lodge Journey - The Ultimate Journey in Bhutan

 

The Amankora Journey is a 7+ night private tour staying exclusively at Amankora luxury lodges. Strategically located in 5 different valleys the Amankora journey can be extended and/or tailored to suit individual needs. It can also be combined with a trekking component in one or more valleys.

 

aman rooms

 

All five lodges have their own spa facilities, massive suites, serve the very best gourmet cuisine in Bhutan and are situated in the most delightful and unique settings.

 

Combining ‘aman’, the Sanskrit word for ‘peace’ and ‘kora’ meaning ‘circular pilgrimage’ in Dzongkha (the Bhutanese language), Amankora are a series of luxury lodges in Bhutan’s central and western valleys offering the only multi valley complete luxury experience in the Kingdom. Amankora provides an exceptional experience especially considering the challenges of delivering a luxury product in such a remote and emerging destination.

 

In the suggested itinerary below you will be spending your first night at Amankora Thimphu in the Kingdom’s capital, followed by 2 nights at Amankora Gangtey in the beautiful & remote Phobjikha valley, 2 nights Amankora Punakha in a spectacular setting, and finally 2 nights at Amankora Paro with dramatic views to Mt Chomolhari .

 

 

day 1Amankora (7 night) Journey – Costs & Inclusions


• 7 nights (or more) luxury suite accommodation.
• All gourmet meals & snacks including a range of house beverages.
• All transfers, extensive sightseeing & touring.
• Bhutan visa processing, Sustainability Fee & road permits.
• Private SUV with personal English speaking guide & driver.
• Complimentary laundry & one 60 minutes massage per person.
• Bhutan government royalties and local taxes.

 

For costing, please feel free to contact us with tentative dates of travel

 

day 1 Amankora Journey 7 nights itineary

 

Please note this suggested 7 night itinerary features 4 of the 5 Amankora lodges. To travel to all five Amankora lodges we would recommend a 10 night + itinerary. This will allow more time to explore each valley in a relaxed manner.

 

Departures are daily, all year round, subject to lodge availability. Please note Punakha and Gangtey lodges offer only 8 suites each and are regularly fully booked in peak season months. Booking early is essential.

 

day 1 Day 1: Paro Airport to Thimphu city. (1.5 hrs drive)

 

Your Drukair flight to Bhutan offers a wonderful introduction as it weaves through the valley before landing at Paro Airport. After clearing customs & immigration meet your private Amankora professional guide & driver for a 1.5 hour SUV transfer to Amankora Thimphu, a 16-suite lodge, which lies in a steep pine forested valley above Thimphu city at an altitude of 2,350 metres (7,709 feet).

 

Take an afternoon orientation tour of Thimphu city. Visits may include the National Textile Museum, Folk Heritage Museum, Zorig Chusum – the institute of the 13 arts & crafts, a “kora” at the Memorial Chorten and, at dusk, a short drive up to the BBS tower or to the Golden Buddha affords magnificent views across the Thimphu Valley. For those with more energy a short hike or a game of golf can be organised or alternatively relax and sample the delights of the lodge and its spa.

 

Overnight - Amankora Luxury Lodge Thimphu

 

Day 2: Thimphu to Phobjikha Valley. (5 hrs + drive)

 

Depart Thimphu and travel eastwards over Dochu La (pass), viewing the 108 stupas and often magnificent eastern Himalaya vista and into the Punakha valley. Continue on via Wangdue Phodrang Dzong, sadly destroyed by fire in June 2012.

 

The road follows the scenic Dang Chhu (river) before climbing through forests of bamboo and oak, and finally a small side road splinters off into the very beautiful hidden Phobjikha Valley. At an altitude of 3,000 metres (9,842 feet), this glacial valley is home of the rural settlement of Gangtey. On a forested knoll close to the valley floor is the very special Amankora Gangtey, an intimate 8-suite lodge.

 

After late lunch, visit the striking Gangtey Goemba, sitting at the head of the valley, followed by stroll through the quaint Gangtey village.

 

Overnight – Amankora Luxury Lodge Gangtey

 

Day 3: Sightseeing Phobjikha Valley.

 

This morning will start with a visit to the Black Neck Crane Centre and dependent on the season, time spent in the Centre’s nearby hide is a must to view the breeding cranes, an endangered species who arrive from Tibet in late October and depart again in early March. After lunch hike the valley Nature Trail, a 1.5-2 hour easy walk along the valley floor.

 

Alternatively, we can start the day with a moderate grade hike across meadows and fields that ascend to the Tselela pass through mixed forest of Juniper, Bamboo, Magnolia and Rhododendron. Meet the people of Gogona who speak a language called Bjopkha – the language of nomads. Their life in this isolated valley has encouraged them to continue using their ancient dialect. Visit the Gogona Goempa. After lunch, walk back the same route to Gangtey. Note – guests can shorten treks after a certain point and travel back by SUV.

 

Soaking up the beauty of the valley from the Lodge, a visit to the local carpet factory or return to the revered Goemba for an audience with the Tulkul may be attractive, relaxing alternatives for the day.

 

Overnight – Amankora Luxury Lodge Gangtey

 

Day 4: Phobjikha to Punakha. (3hrs 30 mins)

 

Today you will have a leisurely start for your drive back westwards to the Punakha Valley. On arrival in the valley stop for a stroll up to the Chimi Lhakhang, also known as the ‘monastery of the Mad Monk’. This auspicious fertility monastery built in 1499 enjoys a very colourful history which your guide will explain to you. It is still a place of important cultural significance today where females come to receive a ‘wang’, a fertility blessing to aid pregnancy.

 

At an altitude of 1,300 metres (4,265 feet), Punakha Valley is one of the lowest lying valleys in Bhutan and enjoys a warmer climate. Amankora Punakha is accessed via a suspension bridge over the Mo Chhu (river) and a short drive by buggy takes you to the lodge comprising a former royal farmhouse combined with modern 8 suite accommodation and spa facilities set amongst the paddy fields and fruit plantations.

This afternoon enjoy a short hike or horse ride in the valley, spend time mixing with the locals in the town or relax and enjoy the delights of the lodge and spa.

 

Overnight – Amankora Luxury Lodge Punakha

 

Day 5: Sightseeing Punakha Valley.

 

The day in Punakha Valley begins with a hike across through terraces of rice, chillies and cabbage along the banks of the Mo Chhu (river) to the upper end of the valley. Here you will find the Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten, a stunning monument recently built by a former Queen of Bhutan to protect the current 5th King from perceived misfortunes.

 

After lunch visit the very impressive Punakha Dzong, Bhutan’s best, and home to the remains of Bhutan’s first ruler, Shabdrung Narwang Namgyal. It is also the winter residence of the Monk Body of Bhutan. If time permits drive to the nearby village of Talo and wander through the beautiful grounds of the village temple with the opportuniuty to also visit the home village of Bhutan’s former four Queens of the 4th King.

 

Overnight – Amankora Luxury Lodge Punakha

 

Day 6. Punakha to Paro Valley. (4 hrs 30 mins)

 

After a leisurely breakfast the final leg continues your westwards journey to the Paro Valley. After descending from Dochu La (pass) you will follow the dramatic Wang Chhu and Paro Chu (rivers) valleys before passing through Paro town en route to the Amankora Lodge located further up the valley. Paro Valley sits on an elevation of 2,250 metres (7,382 feet).

 

A hidden pine forest trail leads you across a small brook and into a clearing where you will find the wonderful Amankora Paro, a 24-suite lodge and spa offering a range of unique healing and rejuvenating treatments. In the afternoon, there is an opportunity for a stroll to the nearby ruins of the Drugyel Dzong, or take a visit to Paro Dzong, Ta Dzong – the National Museum and Kichyu Lhakhang which is a revered temple historic & cultural significance and features an orange tree that perpetually bears fruit.

 

Overnight – Amankora Luxury Lodge Paro

 

Day 7. Sightseeing Paro & Taktsang Monastery Hike.

 

Start the day with a pilgrimage hike up to view one of Bhutan’s most revered monuments, the Taktsang Monastery, more commonly referred to as the “Tigers Nest “. Taktsang is a most revered place and all Bhutanese Buddhists try to take the pilgrimage to the monastery at least once in their lives. Each step taken on the path counts as merit points for their future.

 

For those with limited time or fitness a 1.5 hour hike to the monastery viewpoint is an excellent compromise and it offers a good cafeteria for lunch or refreshments. The full 4-5 hour round trip hike into the monastery itself, perched on a cliff face 900m above the valley floor, is very rewarding however a good standard of fitness and ability to handle plenty of steep steps is essential. This hike will be one of your trip highlights and is a fitting end to your Bhutan experience. Alternatively Amankora will pack you a picnic lunch.

 

In the afternoon take a visit to the town temple, built in 1525, to view ancient wall paintings. A wander along Paro main street for handicrafts and jewellery is a great way to end your journey or simply relax and enjoy your afternoon at the lodge and spa.

 

Overnight – Amankora Luxury Lodge Paro

 

Day 8. Depart Paro.

 

Your guide & driver will transfer you to Paro Airport after a leisurely breakfast. The transfer time is approximately 30 minutes and you are advised to arrive at the airport two hours before your international flight departure.

 

 

Tashi Delek! You have completed your rewarding “kora”.