• Amankora Paro

    Amankora Paro
    Exterior

  • Amankora Paro

    Amankora Paro
    Living Room

  • Amankora Paro

    Amankora Paro
    Bonfire

  • Amankora Paro

    Amankora Paro
    Dining Room

Written by Cipto Handoyo

Amankora Paro

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Rating: 5 stars

Amankora Paro is situated 2,250 metres above sea level and on clear mornings will reveal an uninterrupted view onto Mount Jomolhari.

Situated in Balakha Village, 30 minutes from Paro International Airport, the 24-suite Amankora Paro contrasts rustic elements with contemporary design. Its architecture features natural rammed-earth walls, gently sloping roofs and wood panelled interiors. A lime-washed stone pavilions houses the living and dining room facilities, library and outdoor terrace, all warmed by fireplaces. It centred around a large flagstone courtyard.
 
Suites feature a combined lounge and bedroom that was furnish with a king-size bed, banquette window-seat and reading chair. In one corner is the traditional Bukhari, a wood-burning stove. Opening from the bedroom is the spacious bathroom that is dominated by a large terrazzo-clad bath, flanked on one side by twin vanities and hanging space, and on the other by a separate shower and toilet.
 
Appointed with comfortable sofas and lounge chairs, the Living Room features floor-to-ceiling glass windows. These reveal a forest of blue pines, the 17th-century Drukyel Dzong and Mount Jhomolhari, which soars to over 7,300 metres. The warm and cosy ambience makes this an ideal spot for sipping drinks and swapping tales. The adjacent Library provides a range of books on Buddhism and local lore, textiles and the Himalayas. Complimentary Internet access is also available through an in-house laptop. A selection of traditional Bhutanese handicrafts, textiles and clothing is available in the small Boutique.
 
Located below the Living Room, the Dining Room opens onto an external terrace that overlooks a small stream. Views extend to snow-clad Jhomolhari and the ruins of the ancient dzong. The classic simplicity of form meets a warm ambience with communal tables and dark wood walls reflecting historic Bhutanese motifs. Amankora Paro’s Dining Room serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, specialising in Indian, Western and Bhutanese dishes.
 
Behind the main cluster of buildings is the Spa, which set on two levels. The upper level contains an arrival area, changing rooms, a sauna, steam room and glass-walled yoga studio. Steps descend to the lower level that houses one double treatment room and four single treatment rooms, each fitted with a shower and unique outdoor bath.
 
Rice Field Walk to Taktsang Base 
 
The weeks of October – November brings harvest throughout the Paro valley, offering unique opportunities to share this fruitful time of the year with local Bhutanese families. A beautiful and leisurely walk from the lodge through the rice paddies which border the Paro Chhu below offer up such experiences. Do not be surprised to be invited in for tea along the way. Your journey, 1½ - 2 hours walk begins at the lodge as you meander down through farmer's fields and along the trail that brings you past Chortens. A humble Bhutanese dwellings and an archery range where you may come across a match being held. The walk continue until your path transforms into endless paddies dotted with ancient farmhouses, forcing careful negation along the fringes of the rice paddies to bring you through to the bridge over the Paro Chhu & on up to Taktsang base. 
 
For more ambitious, this walk may be incorporated into your climb to Taktsang "3-5 hour walk" or you can arrange to have your driver pick you up at the bridge to return to the lodge or continue your exploration of the Paro valley. 
 
Choedin Village Loop 
 
If you are in a mood for a walk off the beaten trail and do not feel like getting into a car, this is the perfect afternoon hike. Set off from the lodge towards the Sagala Pass. Follow the dirt road until reaching the charming and petite Choedin village. From here a trail sets off upwards through dense pine forest on reaching the ruins of Choedin Lhakhang at the top of the hill. Take the time to admire the perfect views of Paro Valley and Tiger's Nest and the thousands of pine trees. From here the trail leads you down to Tshento village just by Drugyel Dzong. This moderate loop can be completed in about three hours. 
 
Soak In the Spa Hot Stone Bath 
 
Hot stone bath in the woods is a Bhutanese tradition since time immemorial. It is known for its medicinal benefits to cure skin diseases and joint pain. We have this facility, in Aman style, at our Spa with a pre relaxing full body massage. Khempa, (Artemesia Absynthium) a special herbal plant found in abundance at the lodge premise is used with this bath for its believed health benefits. To make this experience uniquely memorable, enjoy your hot stone bath with a bottle of Champagne and some canapés. Hot Stone Bath with one hour relaxing massage - $200++ (for one) / $290++ for two / $110 (for Hot Stone Bath only). A bottle of Fleur de Champagne by Duval Leroy – $120++ 
 
National Happiness 
 
Bhutan talks more about Gross National Happiness (GNH) than Gross National Product. Gross National Happiness is considered to be the measurement of performance for the wellbeing of all Bhutanese. This concept was introduced by the fourth Druk Gyalpo, His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, in the early 1980s and has been considered revolutionary by the global leaders around the world. We can arrange for a private lecture with Khenpo Phuntshio Tashi, director of the National Museum, who is the expert on this topic $250++ per lecture. 
 
Light 108 Butter lamps at the Sacred Kyichu Lhakhang 
 
Lighting of 108 butter lamp in one of the Bhutan's oldest temples dating back to the 7th century is an experience of a lifetime. The Butter Lamp or karma represents the dispelling of the darkness of ignorance. The lighting of butter lamps is an offering of light to the deities and is one of the most common means of increasing one's merit. It also helps to focus the mind and aid meditation. The sacred and incredibly beautiful Kyichu Lhakhang located a 20-minute drive down the valley and were a tranquil and appropriate location for this ritual. $70++ per lighting. 

(Photos credit: Aman Luxury Resorts)

No of rooms: 16 Suite

WiFi: Yes

Spa Facilities: Hot stone bath, massage, sauna, steam bath and yoga room