Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Aman’s Amankora opens its five lodges in Bhutan again

For over two years Bhutan has retreated into the mists of its Himalayan eyrie to ensure the wellbeing of its people. Now ready to emerge, the Kingdom will present an ever rarer and more awe-inspiring cultural safari

PRAVASISAMWAD.COM

Bhutan, the Himalayan Buddhist Kingdom, will reopen its borders to international travel on September 22, 2022, enabling Amankora to once again offer unparalleled journeys of discovery through the mystical land in its five lodges. For over two years Bhutan has retreated into the mists of its Himalayan eyrie to ensure the wellbeing of its people. Now ready to emerge, the Kingdom will present an ever rarer and more awe-inspiring cultural safari.

Honoured to be Bhutan’s first and most trusted international travel partner since the Kingdom opened to the outside world, Amankora has joined in every endeavour to uplift and rebuild during this unprecedented time, awaiting the moment each lodge could once again offer travellers a meaningful personal ‘kora’ – a circular journey – across the country’s spectacular central and western valleys. Privileged to mark its entry to the Kingdom with the opening of Amankora Paro in 2004, Aman has almost two decades of unrivalled insight into and knowledge of Bhutan. As the Kingdom opens once more, there is none more soulfully connected to the Land of the Thunder Dragon to ensure the pilgrimage of a lifetime.

In a changed world, travellers to Bhutan will discover however, that there is much unchanged. Here, where everyday life is defined by the pursuit of peace and nature is as revered as happiness, the same cobalt skies, vibrant smiles and timeless sense of tranquility endures. And the welcome in Amankora’s gateway lodges – each a unique expression of its setting – is as warm as ever.

Amankora’s lodges in the valleys of Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Gangtey and Bumthang, will welcome their first guests since March 2020 on September 23, 2022. This auspicious day has been chosen by the Kingdom with the same thoughtful consideration it has invested in renewing its focus on sustainability. Known as Blessed Rainy Day, it marks the end of the monsoon season and is a celebration of the rain – regarded as sanctifying and holy – that has cleansed the earth and humanity. With a symbolism resonating far beyond the borders of this mountain kingdom, this day will also signify a new dawn for Bhutan’s vision of a better future.

The Ultimate Amankora Journey packs a lifetime worth of experiences into just 13 days and includes one complimentary night in addition to the domestic flight from Bumthang to Paro

International guests visiting Bhutan will now each contribute a daily Sustainable Development Fee (SDF) of USD 200 to the Kingdom’s fund originally introduced in 1991 at USD 65, to help finance Bhutan’s Low Volume, High Value tourism concept. The first increase in 30 years, the new rate reflects the Kingdom’s determination to preserve its pristine natural beauty and wildlife, maintain its carbon-negative status and conserve its rich culture. Bhutan is home to hundreds of ancient sites, centuries-old monasteries, historic fortresses and entire communities untouched by modernity, and the revised SDF will ensure these timeless beacons of Himalayan heritage remain. The increase will also enhance two pillars of the Kingdom’s legendary Gross National Happiness index – the country’s universal free healthcare system (for citizens and visitors alike) and accessible, quality education.

The Ultimate Amankora Journey: Distilled over the course of almost 20 years, today the seven- to 13-day Amankora Journey offers guests the most comprehensive and soul-stirring experience of the Kingdom. Providing the opportunity to incorporate all five of Amankora’s lodges, it reveals not only Bhutan’s most beautiful and iconic sights, but also the spirit of its people and their culture. A bespoke adventure, tailored to personal interests and preferences, it draws deeply on Aman’s intuitive understanding of the country, offering the only way to seamlessly experience three to five different valleys in seven or more nights.

Guests can discover the cultural depth of the capital Thimphu, practice archery on the sandy banks of the Mo Chhu River and pause in awe as black-necked cranes soar above Gangtey’s medieval villages. Explore Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park, one of the country’s most important wildlife sanctuaries, and taste the delights of fertile Bumthang Valley. The kora culminates in a flight back west at Paro’s clifftop Tiger’s Nest.

As well as all meals, picnics and in-house beverages, the seven-day Amankora Journey also includes transfers, daily excursions with a private car, driver and guide, all monument passes and road permits, and a 60-minute holistic massage per person. Those journeying for 10 or more nights also enjoy a traditional herb-infused hot stone bath at Amankora Gangtey from the comfort of a candle-lit potato shed, with dramatic views over the Phobjikha Valley. Large river stones are heated by woodfire and then deposited in the wooden bathtub, releasing minerals before guests immerse themselves in the healing water. The Ultimate Amankora Journey packs a lifetime worth of experiences into just 13 days and includes one complimentary night in addition to the domestic flight from Bumthang to Paro.

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