In the western and central valleys of Bhutan lies Amankora, a series of 5 lodges spread across the country: Paro, Thimphu, Gangtey, Punakha and Bumthang in different places with an important past. Amankora derives its name from “aman”, meaning “peace” in Sanskrit, and “kora” or “circular pilgrimage” in Dzongkha, the Bhutanese language. It offers unprecedented access to the world’s last surviving Buddhist kingdom, thanks to a tailormade circular journey that guests can arrange for visiting all or a selection of the lodges, with a driver provided for the duration of their stay. Near the airport, Paro is the largest lodge with its 24 suites, and usually the start and end point of an Amankora journey. The lodge in Paro is nestled among conifers in a pine forest retreat while Thimphu is located in a blue-pine forest of the Motithang area. Punakha is set in lush vegetation east of the Dochu La Pass, Gangtey, in the remote wilderness of the Phobjikha valley, offers magical views across the Gangtey Goemba, a 16th century monastery. Bumthang rests adjacent to the first and second King’s palace, Wangdichholing, within the town of Jakar in the Choekhor valley, sprinkled with an eclectic mix of sloping pine forests, apple orchards and peaceful farms. Rooms feature all creature comforts and a typical local design. Hiking and cycling are the best ways to explore these incredible landscapes. Every lodge offers an exhaustive list of options and routes. In addition, guests will be given a ‘top ten’ list of activities and experiences to try in each locality.