“When it comes to lovely countries,” Micato’s old friend Seamus O’Banion once wrote, “Bhutan is a country more unlike any other country than any other country.” To wit: It has wisely and successfully avoided the mass tourism that would erode its unique, vibrantly intact culture. It is endlessly lovely: its Himalayan foothill air is clear, its environment untrammeled, its countrysides and little towns idyllic. And as the world’s only Buddhist monarchy, its program of Gross National Happiness is a moral beacon. In short, Bhutan gets it right.
Aman, one of the world’s most luxe hoteliers, is beautifully in synch with the kingdom’s thoughtful ways; we’ll be ensconced in three Aman properties: in the capital, Thimphu; in the historic old capital of Punakha, and in the serene Paro Valley.
We fly from Delhi or Mumbai to Paro, and drive for about an hour and a half to the Bhutan’s capital, Thimphu. We’ll explore Thimphu’s chortens, dzongs, lhakhangs, and museums, get to know its gracious people, and savour Aman’s many amenities.
We drive downhill a little way to Punakha, until the mid-1950s the country’s capital, and still the winter residence of the Je Khenpo, Bhutan’s chief religious figure. Set in a valley at the relatively low elevation of 4,000 feet (Thimphu is more than 3,000 feet higher), Punakha’s farmlands are bountiful and beautiful. We’ll visit a small nearby village and take a short ride out to the dramatic Punakha Dzong.
The Paro Valley encapsulates Bhutan’s charms: lush green fields, forested hillsides, a treasured history, and a rare sense of well-being. We’ll tour Paro Dzong, roam the heartliftingly charming little town below our lovely Amankora Paro, and visit the famous Taktsang Lahkhang, the Tiger’s Nest, an archetypal mountain aerie that symbolizes the coming of the Buddha dharma to Bhutan.
We fly back to day rooms in Delhi before flights homeward.
Land arrangements, per person (2019)
International Flights: Delhi*/Paro*/Delhi* or Mumbai*/Paro*/Delhi* – $1,100
*Denotes business class when available