Spencer Travel’s General Manager Tina Killeen recently visited one of world’s most intriguing destinations, Bhutan, and had the pleasure of staying at Amankora Resorts.
“We landed in Paro, Bhutan’s only international airport, in the afternoon. Paro Airport is situated in a deep valley on the bank of the river Paro Chhu. Because of its unique location, the landing is manual and weather dependent with clear skies required.”
“About a 1.5-hour drive from Paro is Thimphu, Bhutan’s capital, where my trip started.
The charming city of Thimphu is located around 2350m above sea level, which helped to adjust to the altitude.
The city offers a variety of great experiences – we had official stamps made that we could use to send a post card to our loved ones. We also walked through the town and wandered around the markets to soak up the city’s buzz.
Buddha Point has beautiful views of the region. We drove up and hiked back with some amazing views along the way as well!
I stayed at Amankora Thimphu. The rooms are very spacious, and some have a beautiful forest view. Food was very good with a wide range of options on the menu.”
“From Thimpu we drove to Gangtey. The trip is about 125kms and took us 5.5 hours because of the roads. Gangtey is a stunning wide, flat valley, located 3000m above sea level.
We stayed at Amankora Gangtey which has a beautiful entry and only eight suites. The food was excellent. The menu offered modern options as well.
The hot stone baths are an absolute must. They are separate from the hotel and offer such an authentic experience!
Gangtey Monastery is also worth visiting and the hike back to the lodge offers some amazing scenery. The area is known for the Black -Necked Crane. During the season you will see a lot of Black-Necked Cranes in the valley so well worth the hike.
Other hikes in the area are the Longtey Hike and the Nature Trail.”
“From Gangtey we started the journey back to Punakha.
The Punakha Dzong, one of Bhutan’s famous landmarks, was by far the most beautiful we have seen and if you go late in the afternoon you will find it also has less of a crowd.
I hiked to Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten which is a monument built for Queen. The hike took 45 minutes to an hour and was a little challenging. The views from the top of the monument overlooking the entire valley were amazing and well worth the climb.
We also visited the Chimi Lhakhang Monastery, which is known as the temple of fertility. The valley is a very interesting to walk through with the different shops and the temple at the top.
Amankora Punakha was my favourite resort. It is located in a subtropical valley about 1250m above sea level and the only way in is via a swing bridge.
The resort is stunning and has an infinity pool overlooking the rice terraces. We enjoyed a outdoor lunch at the hotel. So peaceful and a perfect opportunity to soak in the views of valley of Punakha.”
“Punakha is a 4-hour drive from Paro, which was our last stop.
On arrival to Amankora Paro we walked through the beautiful pine forest, where we could hear the stream in the back ground and you have views of the snow-capped mountains, very pretty. The spa is a must along with the hot stone bath followed by a massage.
In preparation for our hike to Tiger’s Nest a monk came to the lodge so we could have your own prayer flag printed ready to hang on the hike to Tigers Nest.
Tiger’s Nest, the iconic 7th century monastery, is one of the most dramatic monuments in Bhutan. It is located at 2950m above see and is 4-5.5-hour hike round trip. The hike isn’t timed, we just took our time and did it at our own pace. It is difficult but there are plenty of places to stop along the way. We left the hotel at 7am and this meant for most of the hike we were on our own, which was wonderful. It also made a big different when we came back down.
In the afternoon we walked through the local town. One shop that is a must is Bhutan Made, as we got to see the back room that offers authentic Bhutanese artefacts. It was also nice to experience a local meal in the town.
Bhutan is regarded as the last great Himalayan kingdom – it’s been an incredible trip and would highly recommend it to travellers who want something out of the ordinary.”
Be sure to contact Spencer Travel at email@example.com for more information about Bhutan and Amankora.
We thank luxury operator Peirce and Leslie and Amankora for hosting us.