It is an incredible journey to reach Amankora Bumthang, a drive of over 5 hours from Gangtey to the town of Jakar in the Choekhor Valley is memorable, passing as it does through a dramatic landscape of deep river valleys, terraced farmland and precariously perched farmhouses. Within the town of Jakar and adjacent to Wangdicholing, palace of the first and second Kings of Bhutan, the access to Amankora Bumthang passes alongside the former royal sports ground, a traditional and much used archery area and circles a stately peach tree.
Not to be missed is the neighbouring Palace of Wangdicholing built in 1857 and the adjacent Goemba with its five square chortens or Buddhist reliquary monuments which house the auspicious water driven power wheels.
The valley is home to many of the Kingdom’s houses of worship and monasteries; ancient, highly revered and many still decorated with vibrant wall paintings and adorned altars. Covered with orchards and fields of buckwheat, millet and potato; the valley is also famous for its cottage industries which produce honey, cheese, fruit spirits, brandies and the highly sought after Bumthang butter.
The Bumthang Owl Trek is a journey of 2 nights and 3 days on which guests will visit Dhur, the largest village in the district, followed by a trek uphill through blue pine forests until reaching camp at Schonath, it is here that the howling owls which give this trek its name may be found. Day two is spent experiencing the true wilderness of Bhutan, walking through forest of huge trees. From the camp on the second night, breath-taking views of the Himalayan Mountains can be seen if the weather permits. On the descent back to Amankora Bumthang the religious life of Bhutanese monks may be observed in the numerous monasteries on the way. It is recommended to undertake this trek which is classified as easy from March to June or November to December.
Returning to the Lodge, The Spa at Amankora Bumthang will ease the strains of the journey with a range of holistic treatments. Massages using customised oils will ease tension and provide a feeling of total relaxation.
Four separate structures are accessed through an impressive stone hallway; these house the 16 guest suites with each having two suites on the upper and two on the ground floor. As with the other Amankora lodges, they feature wood panelled interiors, king size beds, luxury bathrooms and bukharis; traditional wood burning stoves. Windows look out over the courtyard and the nearby Palace and monastery
The chefs prepare delicious meals which are served in the regally appointed Dining Room with its soaring ceiling or outside in the courtyard under the shade of local fruit trees. There is a Library and comfortable Living Room, complete with daybeds, lounge chairs and a traditional bukhari. Floor to ceiling windows look out to a landscaped courtyard adjoining the shared Palace grounds.