It is with great joy and heartfelt emotion that Aman shares Bhutan’s exciting news. The sole remaining Himalayan Buddhist Kingdom will reopen its borders to international travel on 23 September 2022, enabling Amankora to once again offer unparalleled journeys of discovery through this mystical land in its five lodges. For over two years Bhutan has retreated into the mists of its Himalayan eyrie to ensure the wellbeing of its people. Now ready to emerge, like a gilded peak after the storm clouds have passed, the Kingdom will present an ever rarer and more awe-inspiring cultural safari.
Honoured to be Bhutan’s first and most trusted international travel partner since the Kingdom opened to the outside world, Amankora has joined in every endeavour to uplift and rebuild during this unprecedented time, awaiting the moment each lodge could once again offer travellers a meaningful personal ‘kora’ – a circular journey – across the country’s spectacular central and western valleys.
Privileged to mark its entry to the Kingdom with the opening of Amankora Paro in 2004, Aman has almost two decades of unrivalled insight into and knowledge of Bhutan. As the Kingdom opens once more, there is none more soulfully connected to the Land of the Thunder Dragon to ensure the pilgrimage of a lifetime.
In a changed world, travellers to Bhutan will discover however, that there is much unchanged. Here, where everyday life is defined by the pursuit of peace and nature is as revered as happiness, the same cobalt skies, vibrant smiles and timeless sense of tranquility endures. And the welcome in Amankora’s gateway lodges – each a unique expression of its setting – is as warm as ever.
A New Beginning
Amankora’s lodges in the valleys of Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Gangtey and Bumthang, will welcome their first guests since March 2020 on 23 September 2022. This auspicious day has been chosen by the Kingdom with the same thoughtful consideration it has invested in renewing its focus on sustainability.
Known as Blessed Rainy Day, it marks the end of the monsoon season and is a celebration of the rain – regarded as sanctifying and holy – that has cleansed the earth and humanity. With a symbolism resonating far beyond the borders of this mountain kingdom, this day will also signify a new dawn for Bhutan’s vision of a better future.
International guests visiting Bhutan will now each contribute a daily Sustainable Development Fee (SDF) of USD 200 to the Kingdom’s fund originally introduced in 1991 at USD 65, to help finance Bhutan’s Low Volume, High Value tourism concept.
The first increase in 30 years, the new rate reflects the Kingdom’s determination to preserve its pristine natural beauty and wildlife, maintain its carbon-negative status and conserve its rich culture. Bhutan is home to hundreds of ancient sites, centuries-old monasteries, historic fortresses and entire communities untouched by modernity, and the revised SDF will ensure these timeless beacons of Himalayan heritage remain.
The increase will also enhance two pillars of the Kingdom’s legendary Gross National Happiness index – the country’s universal free healthcare system (for citizens and visitors alike) and accessible, quality education.