Bhutan Private Tour & Amankora Circuit!

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Why You Should Go

Bhutan is somewhat similar to Botswana in that it seeks high-value, low-impact, and high-end tourism (rest assured you will see no big tour groups or backpackers here!). The approximate size of Switzerland, with a population approximately the size of Fort Worth, Texas, Bhutan enjoys a pollution-free, idyllic environment, in contrast to its neighbor, Nepal. Similar to Tibet and perhaps Burma, Buddhist culture is all-pervasive here, with brightly-colored prayer flags and golden-rooted monasteries sprinkled throughout the country (in Bhutan’s case the tantric form of Mahayana Buddhism). We feel traveling through the narrow, winding roads of Bhutan truly evokes the spirit of Shangri-la, as depicted by James Hilton’s “Lost Horizon.”

AMAN’s presence in Bhutan consists of five luxury lodges, collectively known as “Amankora” (which combines the Sanskrit word for peace and kora, or “circular pilgrimage” in Dzongkha), carefully chosen in the cultural hubs of central and western valleys of the country. Our luxury Bhutan private tour itinerary features all five of the Amankora circuit lodges. We love AMAN and feel they represent a luxury status in a class above the usual five-star properties.

Best Travel Time: Fall Winter

bhutan-tsechu-festivals
Tsechu Festival in Bhutan

Sample Itinerary

14 Days

Each private luxury tour is custom to the wishes of each client. This itinerary is a sample. Our Sister Company, TRAVNET, may provide assistance with mileage points conversion. Do not hesitate to call Randy to create your custom tour.

1

Day 1

Fly to Delhi
Through our sister company, Premium Air Provider Travnet, we may assist with your international airfare, as well as with mileage points conversion.

bhutan-thimphu-village
Thimphu Village in Bhutan
2

Day 2

Arrive Delhi
Upon arrival in Delhi, you will be assisted to The Oberoi, Gurgaon Airport Hotel for your forced overnight stay.

Accommodations: The Oberoi, Gurgaon Airport Hotel

the-oberoi-gurgaon-hotel-reflection-pool
The Oberoi Gurgaon Hotel reflection pool
3

Day 3

Fly Delhi/Paro + Private Transfer to Thimphu + Afternoon Thimphu Private Tour
Following breakfast, you will be privately transferred to the nearby, Delhi International Airport for your flight to Paro. Upon arrival in Paro, you will be privately transferred to the Amankora Thimphu.

In the afternoon, you will be met by your private guide for a half-day of touring. Visits may include, the Trashi Chhoe Dzong, once home to the National Assembly and now home to the secretariat, the throne room, and offices of the king, the ministries of home affairs and finance. You may continue to the Great Buddha Dordenma, commanding the entry to Thimphu valley. Erected to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the fourth king Jigme Singye Wangchuck, inside the 165-foot Buddha, there are 125,000 miniature Buddha statutes embedded.  This is a perfect vantage point to enjoy the sunset.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Accommodations: Amankora Thimphu

amankora-thimpu-4
Amankora Thimphu
4

Day 4

Thimphu Private Tour
Following a sumptuous breakfast, you will visit the capital’s rich Buddhist sites with your private guide, including the King’s Memorial Chorten, where you can see practicing Buddhists circling the structure while murmuring chants and spinning their prayer wheels. Other stopovers include the National Museum, the Institute for Zorig Chusum, the Handicrafts Emporium (a crafts bazaar), and an optional hike exploring the serene retreat of Tango Monastery.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Accommodations: Amankora Thimphu

bhutan-institute-for-zorig-chusum
Institute for Zorig Chusum
5

Day 5

Private Transfer Thimphu/Punakha + Afternoon Punakha Dzong Private Tour
Following breakfast, you will be privately transferred to Punakha via the Dochula Pass, with magnificent views of the Himalayan Range. Your drive will include a stop at the 17th-century Simthokha Dzong, Bhutan’s first fortress-monastery.

In the afternoon, you will be met by your private guide for a tour of the impressive Punakha Dzong, home to the remains of Bhutan’s first ruler and the winter residence of the monastic leader and his entourage of monks.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Accommodations: Amankora Punakha

bhutan-dochula-pass
Dochula Pass
6

Day 6

Punakha Private Tour
Following breakfast, your private guide will take you on a light hike through the paddy fields to Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten. Standing regally on the hill above the Punakha valley, this Chorten is a classic example of gorgeous traditions and architecture of Bhutan.

In the afternoon, your private guide will take you to the Sopsokha village to walk the short trail across fields to the Chimi Lhakhang temple. Childless women go to the temple to receive a wang (blessing or empowerment) from the saint and newborns are brought here to be named. (Option to bike instead of walk in this area!)

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Accommodations: Amankora Punakha

Bhutanese village and terraced field at Punakha, Bhutan
Punakha valley
7

Day 7

Private Transfer Punakha/Gangtey + Afternoon Phobjikha Valley Private Tour
Following breakfast, you will be privately transferred to Gangtey.

In the afternoon, you will be met by your private guide for a visit to  Phobjikha valley and the black-necked crane information center, famous as this is the winter home for the very rare black-necked crane. Every year, approximately 800 – 1,000 birds arrive in Phobjikha valley from late October and stay through mid-February (experts estimate that fewer than 6,000 cranes exist in the wild).

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Accommodations: Amankora Gangtey

gangtey_valley_cranes_office_17222
Black-necked cranes in Phobjikha valley
8

Day 8

Morning Gangtey Private Tour
This morning, you will be met by your private guide to take part in the morning prayer ceremony at Gangtey Goempa, the only Nyingmapa monastery on the western side of the Black Mountains and the biggest Nyingmapa monastery in Bhutan. If interested, you may also offer food at the ceremony, one the oldest and most common Buddhist rituals.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Accommodations: Amankora Gangtey

gangtey_dzong_and_village_office_17207
Gangtey Dzong and village
9

Day 9

Private Transfer Gangtey/Bumthang
Following breakfast, you will be privately transferred to Bumthang, If interested, you may stop en route visit a wool weaving center.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Accommodations: Amankora Bumthang

Woman hand-weaving weaving a traditional fabric in downtown Thimphu, Bhutan.
Woman hand-weaving in Bhutan
10

Day 10

Bumthang Private Touring
Bumthang is the name given to a combination of four valleys: Chumey, Choekhor, Tang, and Ura. The respective altitudes vary from 8,500 to 13,200 feet. You will embark on a full-day excursion through temples, monasteries, such as Jambey Lhakhang. Considered the “Switzerland of the East”, you will also have the option to hike to Kurjey, where funeral rites of the senior members of the Royal Family are sometimes conducted. From here, you will continue on a leisurely walk through the verdant countryside and Chamkhar Chu river to Tamshing, a temple complex founded in 1501 and home to many training monks.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Accommodations: Amankora Bumthang

Sunrays leaking from  clouds over peaceful village in Bumthang valley, Bhutan.
Bumthang valley
11

Day 11

Fly Bumthang/Paro + Afternoon Paro Dzong Private Tour
Following breakfast, you will be privately transferred to the Bumthang Airport for your short flight to Paro. Upon arrival in Paro, you will be privately transferred to your hotel.

In the afternoon you will be met by your private guide for a visit to Paro Dzong, a fine example of Bhutanese architecture. Perched above Paro Dzong is its Ta Dzong (watchtower), built in 1649 to protect the undefended dzong and renovated in 1968 to house the National Museum.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Accommodations: Amankora Paro

National Bhutanese Museum in Paro
Ta Dzong and National Bhutanese Museum
12

Day 12

Morning Paro Privately Guided Hike & Tiger’s Nest

Following breakfast, you will continue to wondrously idyllic valley of Paro with your private guide. We feel this verdant, heavenly area is truly among the most beautiful settings in the world. You will take a morning hike to Bhutan’s most famous and visually-stunning monastery retreat, Taktsang “Tiger’s Nest” (five hours round trip, moderately difficult). Hugging the side of a cliff 3,000 feet above the Paro valley, this is Bhutan’s most sacred site and a most surreal image.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Accommodations: Amankora Paro

bhutan-tigers-nest
Tiger's Nest
13

Day 13

Fly Paro/Delhi
Following breakfast, you will be privately transferred to the Paro Airport for your return flight to Delhi. Upon arrival in Delhi, you will be privately transferred to The Oberoi, Gurgaon Airport Hotel for your forced overnight stay.

Meals: Breakfast
Accommodations: The Oberoi, Gurgaon Airport Hotel

Paro, Bhutan
Paro valley
14

Day 14

Fly Delhi/Home

Following breakfast, you will be privately transferred to the nearby, Delhi International Airport for your return flight home.

Meals: Breakfast

City life – Main Bazar, Paharganj, New Delhi, India
Main Bazar, New Delhi, India

Hotels

Located just a few minutes from Dehli Airport, The Oberoi, Gurgaon, is the best 5-star airport hotel for your overnight stay. With its contemporary design and spacious rooms and suites with views, 24-hour room service, and nice spa, it is perfect for a good night’s rest before connecting to Paro the next day. We especially loved our dinner on the floating deck and the Oberoi massage we had here – very luxurious!

 

The Oberoi, Gurgaon

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Located just a few minutes from Dehli Airport, The Oberoi, Gurgaon, is the best 5-star airport hotel for your overnight stay. With its contemporary design and spacious rooms and suites with views, 24-hour room service, and nice spa, it is perfect for a good night’s rest before connecting to Paro the next day. We especially loved our dinner on the floating deck and the Oberoi massage we had here – very luxurious!

 

Situated in a blue pine forest in the upper reaches of the Motithang area of the Thimphu Valley, we feel the 16-suite Amankora Thimphu is the highest quality lodge in the surrounding area. Though close to the cultural shopping attractions of the capital (approximately four miles away), you feel as though you are a world away in this quiet luxury enclave. The lodge’s dzong-inspired architecture features white-washed stone buildings accessed through an enclosed arrival courtyard. We love the delicious multi-cultural dining options and the comforting traditional Bukhari wood heaters.

Amankora Thimphu

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Situated in a blue pine forest in the upper reaches of the Motithang area of the Thimphu Valley, we feel the 16-suite Amankora Thimphu is the highest quality lodge in the surrounding area. Though close to the cultural shopping attractions of the capital (approximately four miles away), you feel as though you are a world away in this quiet luxury enclave. The lodge’s dzong-inspired architecture features white-washed stone buildings accessed through an enclosed arrival courtyard. We love the delicious multi-cultural dining options and the comforting traditional Bukhari wood heaters.

Located in a subtropical valley that produces most of the nation’s vegetables and where the Bhutanese royals spend their winters, the Amankora Punakha is reached by crossing a suspension bridge covered in prayer flags over the Mo Chhu River. Each of the 12 suites offer king-size beds, traditional wood-burning stones, and banquette window-seats. The bathrooms feature terrazzo-clad bathtubs and a separate shower. We particularly love the outdoor dining terrace and infinity pool with views over the valley and rice fields. The two-story spa includes a yoga/meditation room, two treatment rooms, and a detoxing steam room.

Amankora Punakha

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Located in a subtropical valley that produces most of the nation’s vegetables and where the Bhutanese royals spend their winters, the Amankora Punakha is reached by crossing a suspension bridge covered in prayer flags over the Mo Chhu River. Each of the 12 suites offer king-size beds, traditional wood-burning stones, and banquette window-seats. The bathrooms feature terrazzo-clad bathtubs and a separate shower. We particularly love the outdoor dining terrace and infinity pool with views over the valley and rice fields. The two-story spa includes a yoga/meditation room, two treatment rooms, and a detoxing steam room.

Part of the Black Mountains National Park wildlife reserve, the seldom-visited Phobjikha valley is home each winter to a flock of endangered black-neck cranes. It is here that the Amankora Gangtey is located, near the village of Gangtey, and set on a forested knoll with scenic views of the valley floor and the Goemba monastery.  From each of the eight suites, you can enjoy a view across the valley. Amenities also include king-size beds, traditional wood-burning stoves, and banquette window-seats, while bathrooms feature terrazzo-clad bathtubs and a separate shower. We particularly enjoy the dining room’s panoramic view of the valley through floor-to-ceiling windows and we strongly recommend enjoying a  candlelit, hot-stone heated bath while you’re here.

Amankora Gangtey

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Part of the Black Mountains National Park wildlife reserve, the seldom-visited Phobjikha valley is home each winter to a flock of endangered black-neck cranes. It is here that the Amankora Gangtey is located, near the village of Gangtey, and set on a forested knoll with scenic views of the valley floor and the Goemba monastery.  From each of the eight suites, you can enjoy a view across the valley. Amenities also include king-size beds, traditional wood-burning stoves, and banquette window-seats, while bathrooms feature terrazzo-clad bathtubs and a separate shower. We particularly enjoy the dining room’s panoramic view of the valley through floor-to-ceiling windows and we strongly recommend enjoying a  candlelit, hot-stone heated bath while you’re here.

We love the Amankora Bumthang’s location in the picturesque Choekhor Valley surrounded by fields of buckwheat, millet, and potatoes, with apple orchids on nearby slopes. Situated next to the Wandichholing Palace, each of the 16-suites are situated around a Bukhari and views of the courtyard and palace. Amenities here include a dining room with delicious, and fresh cuisine, a library and study room with Wi-Fi, and a luxury spa.

Amankora Bumthang

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We love the Amankora Bumthang’s location in the picturesque Choekhor Valley surrounded by fields of buckwheat, millet, and potatoes, with apple orchids on nearby slopes. Situated next to the Wandichholing Palace, each of the 16-suites are situated around a Bukhari and views of the courtyard and palace. Amenities here include a dining room with delicious, and fresh cuisine, a library and study room with Wi-Fi, and a luxury spa.

Made up of six accommodation blocks (each with four suites), we feel the Amankora Paro property to be the highest quality hotel/lodge in the greater Paro area. Designed with rammed earth walls and wood-paneled interiors, the lodge incorporates Aman’s signature minimalist aesthetics. Located in a forest near Balakha village (30 minutes from Paro Town), this property offers views of the 17th-century Drugyel Dzong ruins, as well as Mt. Chomolhari. Though there is no fitness center or pool, we do enjoy the very nice two-level spa with glass-walled sauna and yoga studio. The lodge’s restaurant offers large glass window-walls for idyllic views of the outside valley and forest.

Amankora Paro

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Made up of six accommodation blocks (each with four suites), we feel the Amankora Paro property to be the highest quality hotel/lodge in the greater Paro area. Designed with rammed earth walls and wood-paneled interiors, the lodge incorporates Aman’s signature minimalist aesthetics. Located in a forest near Balakha village (30 minutes from Paro Town), this property offers views of the 17th-century Drugyel Dzong ruins, as well as Mt. Chomolhari. Though there is no fitness center or pool, we do enjoy the very nice two-level spa with glass-walled sauna and yoga studio. The lodge’s restaurant offers large glass window-walls for idyllic views of the outside valley and forest.

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Location

Overview

Temperature
Highs: High 80’s
Lows: High 50’s
Area
38,364 SQ KM
14,812 SQ MILES
Capital
Thimphu
Population
807,610
Language
Dzongkha
Currency
Bhutanese Ngultrum

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