Aman for all seasons
At a Glance
Probably one of the most breath taking arrivals you will reach the property via the famous Mo Chuu which is adorned with brightly colourful prayer flags.
Take time at the property to wind down. There is plenty of opportunity to do so in the two-storey spa which also includes a meditation room to help find that inner zen.
You will eat well here as Punakha as this is where all of the fruit and vegetables are grown due the sub-tropical valley. The chef can even show you a thing or two on a tour to the local market and a cooking class back at the lodge.
Although all rooms have features like a traditional wood-burning stove and large window seats we suggest one of the Mo Chhu Suites which have a large living area to rest and reflect in.
You want at least three nights here as there is a lot to explore, cycling up the Pho Chhu River to a six-hour hike to Lake Hokatsho. Or for a more leisurely pace spend time with a local family and learn how to wear traditional clothing.
Best time to Visit
Good time to visit
Average time to visit
In the western, central and eastern Bhutan you will mostly experience cold European-like weather. Winter lasts here from November to March. The Monsoon occurs between June and August when the temperature is normally between 8° and 21°C. October and November are arguably the best months, when the monsoon has passed and the skies are clear. The spring months of March, April and May are best for the flora, but it can be stormy as the monsoon builds up for July-September.
To start planning your holiday to Amankora Punakha
The Amankora Punkaha is built around a traditional Bhutanese farmhouse and offers fantastic views and the chance to be in tranquil isolation with stunning scenery. For this reason, it is our favourite Amankora property in Bhutan.
Situated a short drive north of the grand Punakha Dzong and Puntsho Pelri Palace (winter residence of His Majesty The King), Amankora Punakha is accessed via a suspension bridge over the river Mo Chhu.
A short drive or walk takes guests to the lodge compound which is centred around a traditional Bhutanese farmhouse built as a residence by Her Majesty the Queen Mother to oversee the surrounding rice fields and fruit plantations. This grand structure, with its vegetable dye wall paintings, is now the combined common guest area of the lodge with the dining room situated on the ground floor and the upper floors offering intimate relaxation areas and a traditional altar room for prayers or meditation. The courtyard of the farmhouse is arranged for outdoor dining and relaxing in Punakha’s temperate climate. Adjacent to the courtyard is the Tea Pavilion which was once the kitchen of the summer palace. Beyond this is a newly built two-storey Spa building housing a yoga/meditation room which provides open views of the surrounding paddy fields and on its lower level encompasses two private treatment rooms, a steam room and changing area. Alongside this, there is a beautiful infinity pool offering panoramic views of the surrounding rice paddy fields.
Eight suites, located in three rammed-earth buildings, are situated in an orange orchard with views across the rice fields and back up the Punakha Valley. The suites are identical to the design of the suites at Amankora, Paro, featuring wood panelled interiors, a traditional bukhari, king size bed, terrazzo-clad bath, shower and vanities, and day bed. Suites are individually heated during the cooler winter months and air-conditioned in the summer months.
The Amankora Punakha features eight Luxury Suites, with the Mo Chhu Suites recently and beautifully refurbished, located in three rammed earth dwellings. They are identical to the suites at Paro and include a traditional bukhari, king-size bed, terrazzo-clad bath, and a daybed. Luxury Suites are individually heated during the cooler winter months and air-conditioned in the summer months.
Children are welcome to come and stay at Amankora Punakha. However, there are no specific facilities. Some of the trekking on offer in the area will only be suitable for older children given the steep rocky terrain.
Facilities at Amankora Punakha include the dining room in the farm house which serves guests either Western or Bhutanese cuisine. The first floor features the living room and library with a selection of books and magazines, as well as an internet connection. The hotel also features a traditional altar room for meditation and prayer, a courtyard for alfresco dining and a tea pavilion. The spa at Amankora Punakha contains two treatment rooms, a steam room, changing areas and a yoga/meditation room. Alongside this, there is a beautiful infinity pool offering panoramic views of the surrounding rice paddy fields.
One of the highlights of Punakha is visiting the Punakha Dzong, which straddles the confluence of the Mother (Mo) and Father (Pho) rivers. Twenty-one temples are contained within the area of the dzong’s third courtyard, the largest of which is the monks’ hundred-pillared Great Assembly Hall. Beyond the pre-eminence of the dzong, the Chimi Lhakhang built late in the 15th century is a must see to take in the history of this auspicious worship house and its ritual phalluses. Other activities in the area include archery, fishing, golf and white water rafting.
Arthur Pope (Staff)
The Amankora Punakha derives much of its luxurious charm from its location. Built around a lovingly restored traditional Bhutanese house on loan from an extended member of the royal family, it does a winning job of taking its design cues from the local style. The original property has been repurposed into the restaurant on the main first floor. The other floors contain various small game rooms, lounges, and dining enclaves. There is even a room with an altar where guests can arrange to have a blessing from a local monk. The suites are housed in large handsome buildings that compliment the original architecture. The new infinity pool sits serenely atop sloping views of farmland giving way to Punakhas deep blue-green mountains. The entire property emanates a deep sense of calm from the moment one first sets foot on it.
Jessica Cator (Staff)
The Amankora Punaka was by far my favourite Aman property in Bhutan. The main house of the hotel is a beautifully converted farm house, and the patio where you can take you breakfast and lunch, has a wonderful view over the valley. The property is only accessible by bridge which is a fantastic way to arrive.
Daniel Smith (Staff)
This is our favourite Amankora Hotel in Bhutan as it is built around a wonderful Bhutanese farmhouse. It contains some superb 'cubby holes' where you can sit and read a book. Its location is really rural meaning you can easily take a day walk or two, or head off the local Dzong to see the monks chant at morning prayers.
A visit to Chimmi Lhakhang
The Chimmi Lhakhang Temple is a temple of fertility dedicated to the Buddhist saint known as the Divine Madman. A short walk through paddy fields takes you to the temple and is popular with Bhutanese families wanting to start a family.
Cycling up the Pho Chhu River
Take a morning cycling up the beautiful Pho Chhu River, famous for the White-Bellied Heron and dramatic scenery. Take a walk into the local village for a spot of tea before having a lovely picnic lunch overlooking the river before returning to Punakha.
Day in Punakha
In the morning head to Khasum Yuley Namgay Chorten before walking down to Punakha Dzong. In the afternoon take a walk across the rice paddies to Chimmi Lhakhang, the fertility temple.
Dochu La Pass
At an altitude of 3,100 metres, The Dochula Pass is a high mountain pass known for its 108 distinctive memorial stupas and breathtaking panoramic views over the Himalayas.
Dressing up in traditional Bhutanese dress
Anyone who works in Bhutan must wear traditional national dress, and you can have the chance to dress up for a few hours to see how it feels. The Bhutanese absolute love visitors doing it!
Evening Prayers at a Buddhist Monastery
Evening prayers at a Buddhist Monastery is something you should do at least once on a tour of Bhutan. You will witness monks chanting traditional prayers, helping them prepare for meditation.
Enjoy an excursion into one of the Bhutanese rivers and try your hand at fly-fishing.
Giligang has a 300-year old temple and a wonderful way to escape other tourists and see an authentic side to Bhutan, and can be added on to a visit to the Khansum Yulley Namgyal Chorten and Butterfly Trail.
Hike to Hokatsho Lake
Bhutan is a full of excellent hiking trails waiting to be discovered, all with equally mesmerising landscapes. On this six to seven hour jungle trek, you will head to Bhutan’s largest lake, Hokatsho where you can expect sensational views.
Hilltop Nunnery Visit
This evening visit Sangchhen Dorji Lhendrup Lhakhang Nunnery which is home to a higher learning and meditation centre for nuns, as well as being home to some of the most impressive statues in Bhutan.
Khansum Yulley & the Butterfly Trail
Take the short hike up to the Khansam Yulley Temple where you can sit back in awe at the wonderful views down the Mo Chhu Valley before heading off on the one-hour Butterfly Trail, stopping off for tea in the local home.
Meet a Monk Your Own Age
Your children can have the opportunity to meet a monk their own age. 10% of Bhutan's population are monks and they can hear stories of getting up each day before first-light for prayers and their daily routines.
Nalanda Buddhist College and Nobgang Walk
This fantastic experience combines the Sangchen Nunnery, the Nalanda Buddhist College and the Nobgang Village walk which takes you from the high hills above Punakha and winds gently down to the Punakha Dzong - you approach it almost vertically!
Punakha Drubchen Festival
Held annually on February in Punakha, local militias dress up as Bhutanese warriors in this festival to re-enact the famous battle between Bhutan and Tibet.
Punakha Dzong, otherwise known as the Pungtang Dechen Photrang literally means the palace of great happiness or bliss, and is the finest of its kind in Bhutan, dating from the 17th century and located on the confluence of the Mo Chhu and Po Chhu Rivers.
Punakha Weekend Markets
Khuruthang Saturday Vegetable Market is located in the small town next to the Punakha Dzong. On Sundays, you can visit the Wangdue Market, about a 30-minute drive away. Wander around the stalls, selling local fruit and vegetables.
Tea with a local family
Visiting a local home in Bhutan is an exceptionally interesting experience given the lovely hospitable nature of its people. Try traditional butter tea, or even some locally made rice wine 'Ara'.
The Butterfly Trail & Rafting in Punakha
Take the Butterfly Trail which is a one hour trek through local villages and paddy fields, stopping for tea in a local home before hiking to the Khamsum Yulley Chorten and then rafting back to the main Dzong of Punakha.
Try your hand at Archery
Archery is the national sport of Bhutan and can be seen played throughout the Kingdom. Traditional bows are made from bamboo and witnessing an archery competition is an absolute highlight. We can easily arrange for you to have a go should you wish.
White Water Rafting
Enjoy the thrilling white water rafting down Mo Chhu.
Location & directions
Situated a short drive north of the grand Punakha Dzong and Phuntsho Pelri Palace (summer residence of His Majesty The King), Amankora Punakha is accessed via a suspension bridge over the river Mo Chhu.
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