Rediscover ancient secrets of Bhutan

Punakha Dzong monks in courtyard from main central utse in Thimphu, Bhutan. (Credit: Amankora, Bhutan)

Bhutan reopened its borders to international travel in September 2022. Perfect for those embarking on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, the destination is home to five unique lodges of ultra-luxury hotel operator Aman.

Here’s an overview of brand-new, imaginative and adventurous ideas all over Bhutan.

Built in 1638 on a cliff at the confluence of two rivers, the defence fortress of Wangdue Dzong has finally been restored, following fire damage, and is ready to welcome guests once again to its grounds after a decade of rebuilding and careful restoration.

Another piece of history restored, the Trans Bhutan Trail provides further opportunity to discover the pristine nature that surrounds. Dating back to the 16th century, the 402-kilometre-long trading and pilgrimage route was abandoned in the 1960s following the construction of Bhutan’s first major roads. After 60 years, the trail has been reestablished, allowing the Bhutanese to walk in the steps of their ancestors, and visitors to follow the ancient path with curated daily hikes and multi-day experiences.



Situated in the forested Thimphu Valley, home to Bhutan’s capital city, Amankora Thimphu is a 16-suite lodge tucked into the pine-scented woods of the Motithang area.

New for the year ahead, guests can learn the ancient art of incense from artisans at Nado Poi. Using a 350-year-old recipe passed down through generations, Nado Poi also makes exclusive incense sticks and powder blends for the Royal Family of Bhutan.



Sheltered within a blue-pine forest of glistening conifers, 24-suite Amankora Paro lies beneath the ruins of the 17th-century Drukyel Dzong (fortress-monastery) overlooking snow-capped Jhomolhari, each suite features its own bukhari, a wood-burning stove.

In the year ahead, Paro lodge will offer an insight into one the world’s rarest teas originating from the Camelia Sinensis trees planted by the former King of Bhutan. Guests of both Paro and Thimphu lodge can discover the nuances of this unique green brew with Thunder Dragon High Tea, where its delicately aromatic flavour is paired with sweet and savoury treats created by the culinary team.



Amankora Punakha lies east of the dramatic Dochu La Pass and just north of the resplendent Punakha Dzong that dominates the confluence of the Mo Chhu and Po Chhu rivers. Surrounded by rice paddies and fruit plantations, the lodge occupies a traditional Bhutanese farmhouse with twelve guest suites set in an orange orchard near the 30-metre infinity swimming pool.

In the year ahead, Punakha lodge will offer torma-making classes, providing an insight into one of the most sacred Buddhist celebration cakes.



Offering eight suites, Amankora Gangtey rests in the seldom-visited valley of Phobjikha near the quaint village of Gangtey. From its forested knoll, the lodge boasts panoramic views across the gorge to the regal Gangtey Goemba, a 16th-century monastery, and easy access to the winter habitat of the rare, black-necked crane.

A new way to explore Gangtey’ s pristine corners, guests are now invited relive the early days of Bhutan’s wild frontiers on Yuta horseback.



The eastern-most lodge, 16-suite Amankora Bumthang rests adjacent to the First and Second King’s palace, Wangdichholing, in the Choekhor Valley. This region of sloping pine forests, apple orchards and fertile farmland is known for its cottage industries.

New for 2023, guests to Bumthang lodge are invited to be blessed with a new Bhutanese name from Sey Lhakhang, the valley’s most important name-giving institution. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, names in Bhutan are given by Lamas and Rinpochhes from the temples, and in this special ceremony names can be given to guests through an intimate ceremony with a Lama.