Rediscovering Bhutan: New Perspectives on the Last Buddhist Kingdom

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. Available to those visiting Thimphu, the exclusive half-day Secrets of Ancient Incense experience takes place at the brand’s local workshop, and includes a selection of raw materials to create, roll and cut the incense, guided by a Nado Poi artisan. 

Another renowned artist local to Thimphu, Gyempo Wangchuk, hails from the Zurig Chusum Institute, Bhutan’s most important art school focusing on 13 traditional arts and crafts. Specialising in painting, Gyempo’s work ranges from temples and sacred scrolls to present-day contemporary art. 

Exclusively for the new season, private painting sessions with Gyempo Wangchuk can be arranged either at Thimphu lodge or in his studio, where guests can learn traditional Bhutanese painting with a contemporary twist. 

Paro – Private dining in nature 

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), a 30-minute drive from Bhutan’s international airport. As with each Amankora lodge, it offers elegant dining and living rooms with panoramic views, an intimate spa, and expansive outdoor areas for relaxing in the sun or beneath the stars. Overlooking snow- capped Jhomolhari, each suite features its own bukhari, a wood-burning stove. 

Nestled in the foothills, where pilgrims begin their journeys in the shadows of the iconic Tiger’s Nest, Amankora’s new log cabin provides a breathtaking prelude or a cosy finale for hikes up to the legendary monastery. Accessible via a hidden path just moments from the main hiking trail, the quaint cabin is surrounded by a verdant pine forest which opens onto tranquil lawns with sweeping vistas of the cliffside monastery structures. 

Leave Paro lodge before the break of dawn and experience a sunrise breakfast as the Himalayan Sun slowly illuminates The Tiger’s Nest or opt for a restorative lunch with a refreshing drink and relaxing 30-minute foot massage to soothe tired limbs, followed by a sumptuous lunch in full view of the Tiger’s Nest. 

For a truly special culinary experience, up to 30 guests can enjoy a Forest & Fortress Lunch or Dinner during their stay at Amankora Paro. Set amidst a pine forest and overlooking the historic Drukgyel Dzong fortress, tables are set in a lush clearing where guests can choose to dine beneath the stars or under a traditional Bhutanese ceremonial tent, lit with stringed lights and flickering lanterns, accompanied by local music. A traditional dance performance or musical troupe can be arranged with Amankora signature cocktails and canapés whilst enjoying dinner prepared by the in-house chef. 

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