A Quest for Happiness

Amankora, Bhutan - Experience, Excursion, Punakha, Layap weaver

A Quest for Happiness

Winter in the Himalayas is a transformative season when the landscapes change, the skies are clear, and the kingdom celebrates the coming of snowfall. It’s also at this time when the entire Himalayan range reveals itself in its most breathtaking form – when the snow-capped peaks can be gazed upon with utmost clarity. This coming winter season, Amankora announces a voyage of self-discovery with the new A Quest for Happiness journey, inviting guests to find their own pathway to contentment, through sustainable and responsible travel that uplifts the local Bhutanese communities along the way.
 
Inspired by Bhutan’s dedication to the happiness of its people over and above economic prosperity, guests embarking on this seven- to 12-night, full-board journey will receive two or three complimentary nights for their participation in culturally transformative experiences and activities that in turn assist the local people, and help to protect the environment in the areas where each Amankora lodge is set.


A Quest for Happiness is available from 1 December 2022 until 28 February 2023. 

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journey inclusions

  • Accommodation in all lodges - Thimphu, Punakha, Gangtey, Bumthang and Paro
  • A gift of one complimentary extra room night for bookings seven nights and above
  • One complimentary 60 minute Amankora Holistic Massage per person once during your stay for bookings seven nights and above
  • All special sustainable travel and community experiences
  • All meals and picnics enroute to Amankora lodges
  • House beverages including selection of wines and spirits
  • Activities, hikes and visits as stated in the programme
  • Roundtrip airport transfers, laundry and wifi
  • Stay 10 nights and receive a one-way complimentary flight between Bumthang and Paro in economy class for single or double occupancy, as well as one traditional hot stone bath per room in Gangtey for single or double occupancy

journey itinerary

Amankora, Bhutan - Excursion, Punakha Layap Nomadic Herder Family Amankora Journey

Day 1-2


 

Begin your journey with a visit to the Buddha Dordenma – one of the world’s largest statues of the Buddha- and a talk on Gross National Happiness, then explore the capital of Thimphu. As you stroll through the city’s markets and visit its museums and temples, you’ll gain insight into typical Bhutanese daily life and culture. On your second day, spend time with the children of Gawaling Happy Home, reading stories and playing games. Positive interaction with visitors goes a long way in helping them to gain confidence and open up to the world around them. Or visit the Draktsho Vocational Training Centre for Special Children and Youth, purchasing their crafts and joining a sign language storytelling session to support their programme.

Amankora Dochula Pass

Day 3-4


 

Journey to Punakha and stop along the way at Dochula Pass for a picnic with 360-degree panoramic views of the snow-laden giant Himalayas. After settling into your suite, visit Chime Lhakhang then take some time to visit the first Retirement Home for Buddhist Monks in Bhutan. Set up by a previous Amankora guest, this landmark facility cares for monks over 60 who retire with no families to return to. Begin the following day with a morning hike up the Khamsum Chorten, before exploring Punakha Dzong. Then perhaps head back to the home and purchase a meal for a monk who will appreciate both the gesture and your company.  

Amankora, Bhutan – Accommodation, Gangtey lodge, Steps to the outdoor terrace with Phobjika Valley view Amankora, Bhutan – Experience, Excursion, Gangtey Black-necked cranes

Day 5-6


 

Travel to Gangtey and after a leisurely lunch, visit the magnificent Gangtey Goemba Monastery. Stop by the town’s meditation centre and learn more about the life of hermits, their commitment to spiritual learning and their importance in the life and culture of Bhutan. Learn too, how you can support Heartbeats for Hermits, a programme that offers meals and warm clothing to hermits in need. An early start the next day offers the chance to visit the Bayta Community School in the heart of Phobjika Valley’s nature reserve, which is dedicated to preserving endangered black-necked cranes. Assist in the development of the school’s library, reading room, counselling space, and playground. 

Amankora Bumthang Lodge

Day 7-8


 

After the scenic transfer to Bumthang and the chance to explore the lodge, visit the Trongsa Dzong, the Watch Tower Museum and Wangdicholing Palace, as well as Shingkhar and Nga Lhakhangs – two temples housing priceless cultural assets. Help the monks to update and digitise their archiving and storage systems, to help preserve irreplaceable masks and scrolls. Day eight will see you embarking on a spiritual exploration of Jakar Valley’s most sacred sites and visiting remote temples such as Dorji Tse Goempa and Lugi Rawa Lhakhang. Help with structural upkeep or assist with English lessons and the donation of robes and educational books to the monks – some as young as ten years old.  

Amankora, Bhutan - Farmer, Horses Exterior & Creek, Paro Lodge - Amankora, Bhutan

Day 9-10


 

The fertile valley of Bumthang is the breadbasket of Bhutan. Spend time visiting and supporting various farming communities in which weaving, herbal tea cultivation and beekeeping are important cottage industries. Those able can share their marketing, online commerce and visual merchandising expertise, all invaluable to entrepreneurs who include the widowed yathra weavers of Dorjibi Village. The next morning, take your complimentary domestic flight to Paro, and after settling in, visit the National Museum and Paro Dzong.  

Amankora, Bhutan - Cultural Sites, The Tiger's Nest

Day 11-12


 

Choose between two community assistance programmes or make time to get involved in both. The first works to provide safe, drinking water to all Bhutanese and efficient irrigation systems to all farmers. While water is abundant in Bhutan, the systems are not in place to ensure that everyone has the access they need. The second initiative supports the Drukgyel Central School, and in particular, its ‘Future Farmers’ agriculture programme. On your final day, take a pilgrimage to the Tiger’s Nest Monastery, and cap off your journey with a farewell dinner in traditional gho and kira garb. 

*Bumthang is not included in journeys of seven to nine nights 

 

 

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